Photograph of Liselotte Grschebina (Grjebina)
|Born||May 2, 1908
Karlsruhe, German Empire
|Died||June 14, 1994
Petah Tikva, Israel
|Education||School of Applied Arts in Stuttgart|
Liselotte Grschebina (Grjebina), photographer, born 1908 in Karlsruhe, Germany. Her parents were Rosa and Otto Billigheimer, a Jewish couple. Her father was killed in 1916 while serving in the German army. In 1925–29 Grschebina studied painting and graphic design at the local art academy, Badische Landeskunstschule, Karlsruhe (BLK) and studied commercial photography at the School of Applied Arts in Stuttgart. In January 1932 Grschebina opens Bilfoto, her own studio, announcing her specialization in child photography, and takes on students. In 1933, following the Nazis come to power and the restrictions on professional freedom for Jews, Grschebina closed her studio. Before leaving Germany, she marries Dr. Jacob (Jasha) Grschebin, and the two reach Tel Aviv in March 1934. In 1934, Grschebina opens the Ishon studio on Allenby Road with her friend Ellen Rosenberg (Auerbach), previously a partner in the Berlin photographic studio ringl + pit. In 1936 the Ishon studio is closed when Rosenberg leaves the country; Grschebina continues to work from her home. In 1934-47 Grschebina is appointed the official photographer for the Zionist women’s organization WIZO. In 1939, together with fellow photographers of German origin gathered in Tel Aviv, establishes the Palestine Professional Photographers Association (PPPA), the first independent photographers organization in the country. Between the 1930s to 1950s Grschebina takes photographs for Palestine Railways, the large dairy company Tnuva, kibbutzim, and various private businesses. Liselotte Grschebina dies in Petah Tikva at the age of 86, on 14 June 1994. The archive of Liselotte Grschebina’s photographs were given to the Israel Museum by her son, Beni Gjebin and his wife Rina, Shoham, with the assistance of Rachel and Dov Gottesmann, Tel Aviv, Geneva and London.
The photographs of Liselotte Grschebina, rediscovered casually, almost miraculously, in a cupboard in Tel Aviv, reveal a talent that might otherwise have remained forgotten. Grschebina immigrated to Palestine from Germany in 1934, a trained professional profoundly influenced by the revolutionary movements of the Weimer Republic: New Objectivity in painting and New Vision in photography as well as a number of prominent professors, including Karl Hubbuch and Wilhelm Schnarrenberger. Unlike many of her colleagues here, who sought their identities in the collective Zionist endeavor by documenting and extolling it in their work, Grschebina did not use photography as a means of forming her identity. She came with a full-fledged style and remained committed to Weimar artistic ideals and principles in her new home, where she continued to apply and develop them. This exhibition premieres a major selection from among the 1,800 photographs that were given to the Israel Museum and unveils her life and work to the public for the first time. Grschebina’s artistic roots clearly lay in New Vision, which defined photography as an artistic field in its own right and called on camera artists to portray subjects in a new, different way in order to convey their unique qualities and their essence. She did this through striking vantage points and strong diagonals, making masterful use of mirrors, reflections, and plays of light and shadow to create geometric shapes and to endow her photographs with atmosphere, appeal, and meaning.
In Germany, most of her photographs – usually advertising commissions – were taken in the studio. In the land of Israel, she also worked outdoors, observing those around her with a clear, impartial eye. She photographed people going about their daily routine, unaffected by the presence of the camera. The viewer of her pictures feels like an outsider looking in, gaining a new, objective perspective on the subject: the “objective portrait . . . not encumbered with subjective intention” wherein, according to New Vision photographer László Moholy-Nagy, lies the genius of photography.
- 1925–29 Studied painting and graphic design at the local art academy, Badische Landeskunstschule, Karlsruhe (BLK)
- 1929 Studied commercial photography at the School of Applied Arts in Stuttgart
- 1929 Begins to teach photography in the advertising course, Badische Landeskunstschule Karlsruhe (BLK)
- 1937 - Takes part in an international exhibition in Paris
- 1938 - Takes part in the group exhibition “Old Life – New Life” by photogroup T’munah (Hebrew for picture) from the Berlin Zionist Association (BZV) shown at their site in Kantstraße
- 1941 - Takes part in the PPPA’s group exhibition held in Logos, a Tel Aviv bookshop rearranged as gallery space
- 2000, Summer - Time Frame: A Century of Photography in the Land of Israel, Israel Museum, Jerusalem
- 2005 - The New Hebrews - 100 Years of Israeli Art, Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin
- 2008, October–December - Woman with a Camera: Liselotte Grschebina, Germany 1908 - Israel 1994, Ticho House
- 2009 - Eine Frau Mit Kamera: Liselotte Grschebina, Deutschland 1908 – 1994 Israel. Eine Ausstellung des Israel Museums, Jerusalem. Curator: Yudit Caplan, Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin
- "The Old New Vision of Israeli-German Photograph", The Jewish Daily Forward, published 24 December 2008
- "The Old Objectivity", Gallery, Haaretz, 13.08.2010 (Hebrew)
- Eine Frau Mit Kamera: Liselotte Grschebina, Deutschland 1908 – 1994 Israel. Eine Ausstellung des Israel Museums, Jerusalem. Curator: Yudit Caplan, Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin, 2009
- "Woman with a Camera: Liselotte Grschebina". Israel Museum. Retrieved 27 September 2011.
- Caplan, Yudit, Woman with a Camera: Liselotte Grschebina, Germany 1908 – Israel 1994, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, 2008
- "Time Frame: A Century of Photography in the Land of Israel". Israel Museum. Retrieved 27 September 2011.
- "The Old New Vision of Israeli-German Photograph". Jewish Daily Forward. 24 December 2008. Retrieved 27 September 2011.