Erwin Blumenfeld was a famous American photographer of German origin. He began taking photographs when he was eleven, before his professional debut in a 1936 exhibition in Paris. He later published collages mocking Adolf Hitler, and was interned in a concentration camp during German occupation. In 1941 Blumenfeld emigrated to the USA where his post-war career flourished, with photographs appearing in Harpers Bazaar and Vogue, and a reputation as the highest paid freelance photographer in New York.
Famous photography by Erwin Blumenfeld include Eiffel Tower, Nude under Wet Veil, Le Miroir Brisé, The Dictator and Hitler; an anti-Hitler photo collage with a skull. Ten years later, the picture was printed on millions of flyers that were dropped by the US Air Force on German cities.
Despite his commercial success, Erwin Blumenfeld preferred to be known as an amateur photographer, so that he could have the freedom to choose his subjects. He was most at home capturing images that attracted him: including landscapes, sculpture and architecture, but – above all – women.
A Dadaist collagist–turned-photographer, Erwin Blumenfeld became a master of complex photography, making elegant images and developing techniques using print solarisation and superimposition, and using mirrors and gauzy fabrics to divide photographic space. Some of his favourite techniques included screens, wet silk and elaborately contrived shadows and angles. Erwin Blumenfeld’s careful manipulation of veil or shadow to complement his subjects reflects his passion for the female form, producing nudes which testify to the photographer’s declaration: ‘How seriously I take beauty!’
Erwin Blumenfeld has featured in several publications including My One Hundred Best Photos, A Passion for Beauty, The Naked and the Veiled, Eye to I, 55 Photos and I Was Nothing But a Berliner.
Erwin Blumenfeld has had numerous exhibitions of his work including the Rath Museum in Geneva, Musée Pompidou, Paris, Barbican Museum, London and the Hague Museum of Photography, Holland.
Erwin Blumenfeld died in Rome in 1969.
Buy limited edition prints by Erwin Blumenfeld at Opus Fine Art; the home of contemporary art.