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Ilse Bing

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Ilse Bing
modern Photographer
Ilse Bing photographed the modern urban rhythm of Frankfurt, Paris and New York in the 1920s and 1930s. With her portable Leica in hand, she climbed the Eiffel tower, attended dance and circus performances, and roamed the streets. The resulting images - dynamic, fragmented, abstract, evocative, and atmospheric - were appreciated early on for their modern sensibility and were reproduced in many of the most popular magazines in Europe and the US in the late 1920s through the 1940s. These included among others; Frankfurt Illustrierte, Arts et métiers graphique, Vu, Harper's Bazaar, Le Monde, Regards, and L'Illustration. Similarly, the visionary galleries of the early 1930s, such as La Pléaide in Paris and Julien Levy in New York chose to exhibit her work alongside contemporaries Henri Cartier-Bresson, André Kertesz and Man Ray.


Born in Frankfurt.

University of Frankfurt studied mathematics and physics but changed to art history eventually pursuing a doctoral degree.

Took up photography, to illustrate her dissertation on an architect.

Purchased a Leica camera.

Photographs reproduced in photo-essays for Frankfurter Illustriete's weekly supplement Das Illustriete Blatt.

Moved to Paris.

Published in VU, Harper's Bazaar, Le Monde, L'Illustration, Illustré, and Regards.
Photographs included in the Groupe Annuel des Photographes at La Pléaide in 1931, 1932, 1933, and 1938.

New York gallerist Julien Levy included Bing's work in his Modern European Photography: Twenty Photographers exhibition.

Experimented with solarization (which she discovered independently of Man Ray).

Visited New York at the invitation of Carmel Snow and met Alfred Stieglitz. Solo exhibitions at Galerie Chasseurs d'Images, Paris and Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris.

Married pianist and musicologist Konrad Wolff. Photographs included in New York's Museum of Modern Art's History of Photography exhibition.

She and her husband were interned in Pairs as enemy aliens.

They immigrated to New York.

Started using electronic flash and larger format Rollei camera.

Began working exclusively in color.

Quit photography, devoted herself to poetry composed in English, French, and German. Made collages and drawings that incorporated photographic elements.

Died in New York.

From: L. Parker Stephenson Photography

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