9 May 1904
Wuppertal-Elberfeld, German Empire
24 December 1999 (aged 95)|
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Grete Stern (9 May 1904 – 24 December 1999) was a German-Argentinian photographer. Like her husband Horacio Coppola, she helped modernize the visual arts in Argentina, and in fact presented the first exhibition of modern photographic art in Buenos Aires, in 1935.
The daughter of Frida Hochberger and Louis Stern, Grete Stern was born on 9 May 1904 in Elberfeld, Germany. She often visited family in England and attended primary school there. After reaching adulthood, she began studying graphic arts in the Kunstgewerbeschule, Stuttgart, from 1923 to 1925, but after a short term working in the field she was inspired by the photography of Edward Weston and Paul Outerbridge to change her focus to photography. Relocating to Berlin, she took private lessons from Walter Peterhans.:21
In 1930 Stern and Ellen Rosenberg Auerbach founded ringl+pit, a critically acclaimed, prize-winning Berlin based photography and design studio. They used equipment purchased from Peterhans and became well known for innovative work in advertising. The name ringl+pit is after their childhood nicknames (Ringl for Grete, Pit for Ellen).
Intermittently between April 1930 and March 1933, Stern continued her studies with Peterhans at the Bauhaus photography workshop in Dessau, where she met the Argentinian photographer Horacio Coppola. In 1933 the political climate of Nazi Germany led her to emigrate with her brother to England, where Stern set up a new studio, soon to resume her collaboration there with Auerbach.
Stern first traveled to Argentina in the company of her new husband, as she had married Horacio Coppola in 1935. The newlyweds mounted an exhibition in Buenos Aires at Sur magazine, which according to the magazine, was the first modern photography exhibition in Argentina. In 1958, she became a citizen of Argentina.
In 1948 Stern began working for Idilio, an illustrated women's magazine, targeted specifically at lower/lower-middle class women. In the late 1940s and early 1950s, Stern created Los Sueños as illustrations for the woman's magazine Idilio and its column "El psicoanálisis te ayudará" (Psychoanalysis Will Help You). Readers were encouraged to submit their dreams to be analyzed by the 'experts' as an aid for its readers to dins "self-knowledge and self-aid that would help them succeed in love, family and work". Each week, one dream would be selected, analyzed in depth by the expert, Richard Rest, and then illustrated by Stern through photomontage. Stern created about 150 of these photomontages, of which only 46 survive in negatives. Stern's photomontages are surreal interpretations of the readers' dreams that often subtly pushed back on the traditional values and concepts in Idilio magazine by inserting feminist critique of Argentinian gender roles and the psychoanalytic project in her images. The Idilio series has often been compared to Francisco Goya's Sueños drawings, a series of preliminary drawings for his later body of work, Los Caprichos; they have also been directly compared to Los Caprichos themselves.
In 1985, she retired from photography, but lived another 14 years until 1999, dying in Buenos Aires on 24 December at the age of 95.
In 1995 documentarian Juan Mandelbaum made a documentary about Studio Ringl + Pit, which was reviewed in the New York Times In 2005 her work was the subject of an exhibition at New York's Museum of Modern Art called "From Bauhaus to Buenos Aires: Grete Stern and Horatio Coppola."
- "Grete Stern. Biography". Gobierno de Buenos Aires. Retrieved 2011-02-07.
- Stern, Grete; Coppola, Horacio; Marcoci, Roxana; Meister, Sarah Hermanson; Roberts, Jodi; Kaplan, Rachel (2015). From Bauhaus to Buenos Aires: Grete Stern and Horacio Coppola. New York: Museum of Modern Art. ISBN 9780870709616.
- "Grete Stern". Jewish Women's Archive. Mandelbaum, Juan, and Clara Sandler. Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia. 1 March 2009. Retrieved February 7, 2011.
- James Crump. "Stern, Grete." Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online. Oxford University Press. Updated and revised 27 September 1999. Retrieved October 3, 2015.
- O'Connor, John J. (1997-02-06). "Two Proto-Feminists Remember Weimar". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-03-11.
- Plotkin, Mariano Ben (April 1999). "Tell Me Your Dreams". The Americas. 55: 623.
- "El psicoanálisis le ayudará". Idilio: 2. August 16, 1949.
- Marcoci, Roxana (2015). "Photographer Against the Grain: Through the Lens of Grete Stern" in From Bauhaus to Buenos Aires: Grete Stern and Horacio Coppola. New York: Museum of Modern Art. pp. 21–36. ISBN 9780870709616.
- Thurman, Judith (December 19–26, 2016). "Grete Stern". Visionaries. The New Yorker. 92 (42): 100.
- Foster, David William. “Dreaming in Feminine: Grete Stern’s Photomontages and the Parody of Psychoanalysis” Ciberletras 10. 2004 http://www.lehman.cuny.edu/ciberletras/v10/foster.htm
- Lavin, Maud. “Ringl + Pit: The Representation of Women in German Advertising, 1929–33 in The Print Collector’s Newsletter, Vol 16, No. 3 (July – August 1985), pp. 89–93
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Grete Stern.|
- Online version is titled "Grete Stern’s rediscovered dreams".