Ilse Bing


One of the most interesting characteristics of pre-1950's Photography is the number of accomplished female photographers.

This new medium, while it struggled to assert itself as a branch of fine art, was progressively accepting of women working with it, elevating it and setting a framework to be more egalitarian. 

The number of innovative female photographers working in the 1930's is impressive, including Imogen Cunningham, Claude Cahun, Dorothea Lange, Berenice Abbott and Lisette Model to mention a few. 

Ilse Bing (1889-1998) is an interesting addition to the above list. She was both part of the european avant-garde but also a successful commercial or fashion photographer. 

Her early published photographs were for German newspapers, yet she rapidly established her reputation and achieved commissions from several fashion magazines including French Vogue and Harper's Bazaar. Based in Paris she was known as one of the only photographers to be working with a Leica camera. 

In 1936, her work was included in the first modern photography exhibition held at the¬†Louvre, and in 1937 she travelled to¬†New York¬†where her images were included in the landmark exhibition "Photography 1839‚Äď1937" at the¬†Museum of Modern Art.

Despite international recognition as a photographer, Bing was not protected from the rise of violent anti-Semitism in Europe at the onset of WWII. Both Bing and her husband were German Jews and were interned by the Vichy Government.  Miraculously they were able to avoid deportation and managed to escape to New York City in 1940.

Bing's work from the 1930's are most desirable. Surprisingly she would give up photography in the late 1950's which led to her being nearly forgotten. In the last ten years there has been a rediscovery of her contribution to the medium with major exhibitions occurring at museums such as the V&A (London). Today her work can be found in major public collections around the world including SFMoMA, the Art Institute of Chicago and the MoMA. The National Gallery of Canada hold over 65 examples of her work. 

Note: this image is sometimes cataloged as "Gold Lamé Shoes"

Questions about this artwork? Contact us or call +1.416.704.1720

Silver gelatine print, 1935

Signed and dated in pencil by artist verso. 

10.5‚ÄĚH 13.5‚ÄĚW (work) ¬†

Very good condition.


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