Gertrud Arndt

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Gertrud Arndt
Gertrud Arndt, Mask portrait, Dessau 1930, No 13.jpg
Arndt in 1930; Mask portrait No. 13
Born Gertrud Hantschk
(1903-09-20)20 September 1903
Ratibor, Upper Silesia
Died 10 July 2000(2000-07-10) (aged 96)
Darmstadt, Germany
Known for Photography
Movement Bauhaus
Spouse(s) Alfred Arndt (m. 1927)

Gertrud Arndt (née Hantschk; 20 September 1903 – 10 July 2000) was a photographer associated with the Bauhaus movement.[1] She is remembered for her pioneering series of self-portraits from around 1930.


Born in Ratibor (then Upper Silesia) in September 1903, she started taking photographs and learning darkroom techniques while serving at an architectural office in Erfurt, documenting local buildings. Thanks to a scholarship, from 1923 to 1927, she studied at the Bauhaus. She had hoped to study architecture there but as there was no course, she specialized in weaving.[2][3] Her most famous carpet - which has not survived - lay in the room of Walter Gropius from 1924 onwards.[4] Thereafter she returned to photography which she had learnt herself, developing her skills throughout her Bauhaus studies.[2]

In 1927, she married fellow student Alfred Arndt, who was appointed head of the Bauhaus extension workshop in Dessau in 1929. There she produced a series of 43 self-portraits as well as images of her friend Otti Berger. In 1932, the couple moved to Probstzella in Thuringia, where they stayed until 1948. They finally settled in Darmstadt, where Gertud Arndt died in July 2000.[2][3]

She received international acclaim in 1979 when her photographs were exhibited at Museum Folkwang.[3]


Arndt's photography, forgotten until the 1980s, has been compared to that of her contemporaries Marta Astfalck-Vietz and Claude Cahun.[2] Over the five years when she took an active interest in photography, she captured herself and her friends in various styles, costumes and settings in the series known as Masked Portraits. Writing for Berlin Art Link, Angela Connor describes the images as "ranging from severe to absurd to playful."[5] Today Arndt is considered to be a pioneer of female self-portraiture, long predating Cindy Sherman and Sophie Calle.[6]


In January 2013, the Bauhaus Museum of Design in Berlin presented an exhibition of Gertrud Arndt's textiles and photographs.[2]


  1. ^ "Gertrud Arndt", Luminous Link. Retrieved 15 March 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Gertrud Arndt (-Hantschk)", Bauhaus. Retrieved 15 March 2013.
  3. ^ a b c Press release, 7 February 2013 (downloadable PDF): "Gertrud Arndt (1903–2000): Life and Work", Bauhaus-archiv. Retrieved 15 March 2013.
  4. ^ Bauhaus Archive in Berlin Exhibits Works by Gertrud Arndt,, 1 February 2013. Accessed 13 February 2013.
  5. ^ Angela Connor, "Before Cindy Sherman came Gertrud Arndt", Berlin Art Link. Retrieved 15 March 2013.
  6. ^ Nicola Kuhn, "Gattin beim Rollenspiel", Der Tagesspiegel, 3 February 2013. (German) Retrieved 15 March 2013.


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