Foto: Modernity in Central Europe, 1918-1945

Overview

A brilliantly illustrated survey of modernist photography in Central Europe, published in association with the National Gallery of Art.
In the 1920s and 1930s, photography became an immense phenomenon across Germany, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Austria, and Poland. Through magazines and books, in advertisements and at exhibitions, from amateur clubs to avant-garde schools, photographs emerged as a key vehicle of modern consciousness.
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Overview

A brilliantly illustrated survey of modernist photography in Central Europe, published in association with the National Gallery of Art.
In the 1920s and 1930s, photography became an immense phenomenon across Germany, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Austria, and Poland. Through magazines and books, in advertisements and at exhibitions, from amateur clubs to avant-garde schools, photographs emerged as a key vehicle of modern consciousness.
This book presents the work of approximately one hundred individuals whose creations exemplify the potential of photography in Central Europe between the two World Wars. Foto brings together for the first time works by recognized masters such as the Russian El Lissitzky, the Hungarian László Moholy-Nagy, and the German Hannah Hóch—all of whom developed their photographic ideas in Germany—with contemporaries like Karel Teige and Jaromír Funke (Czechoslovakia), Kazimierz Podsadecki (Poland), Károly Escher (Hungary), and Trude Fleischmann (Austria), who are less well known today.
Organized thematically, the book explores topics from photomontage and war to gender identity, modern living, and the spread of Surrealism. It shows the shared experience of modernity in the region, whereby recently founded nations and dismantled empires alike sought their place within the new world order established in the aftermath of World War I.
The illustrations, drawn from more than seventy collections in America and abroad, include several previously unpublished works as well as many others never before available in high-quality reproductions.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

Published in conjunction with a traveling exhibition in the United States (through 5/4/08) and Scotland (through 8/31/08) and organized by the National Gallery of Art (NGA), Washington, DC, this catalog offers a unique look at modern photography during the 1920s and 1930s in Austria, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Poland. In it, Witkovsky (curator, NGA) presents nearly 100 photographers-some familiar, others less well known-placing deliberate emphasis on the regional characteristics of Central European artists. He pays particular attention to the importance of photomontage, a technique that involves cutting apart and rearranging multiple photographs, as it was applied to both fine art and press photography. He discusses how post-World War I photomontage differed from the photomontage created during World War II: in the 1920s, it reflected a character of national reconstruction and recovery from war, while in the 1930s and 1940s, it included more underground works of activism. One strong point is Witkovsky's attention to the impact of social trends, e.g., women's fashion and concern for workers' rights. With excellent supplementary material including artist biographies, reproductions and maps (192 color, 59 b&w illustrations), and a thorough bibliography; recommended for academic and larger public libraries.
—Eric Linderman

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780500543375
  • Publisher: Thames & Hudson
  • Publication date: 6/11/2007
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 9.90 (w) x 11.80 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Matthew S. Witkovsky is assistant curator of photographs at the National Gallery of Art.

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