Unguarded Moments  15 July until 13 November 2011

Photographs by Marianne Breslauer

From 15 July 2011, the Jewish Historical Museum is hosting an exhibition of photographs by the Berlin-born photographer Marianne Breslauer (1909-2001) entitled Unguarded Moments. Despite her small oeuvre, Breslauer is regarded as one of the most important avant-garde German photographers of the inter-war years. The JHM is organising the first exhibition of her work in the Netherlands.

Breslauer's photography is characterised by a remarkable combination of the modernist 'Neue Sehen' (New Vision) and a highly personal, poetic style. She worked with other important modernist photographers such as Paul Citroen, Erwin Blumenfeld and Man Ray, and was inspired by André Kertész and Brassaï. She focused her camera mainly on ordinary people and details at the periphery of city life, uncovering a tranquil reality that could be caught only in unguarded moments. Breslauer was also fond of portraiture, creating numerous images of modern, liberated women. Her photographs of this type of 'new woman' contributed to the image of self-confident women in the 1920s.

Marianne Breslauer quickly made a name for herself in the early 1930s. In addition to making street photography and portraiture, she worked as a photojournalist  for the emerging illustrated newspapers. Her fashion, advertising and travel photographs appeared in various newspapers and magazines. When the Nazis assumed power in Germany in 1933, as a Jew Breslauer was unable to get her work published. In 1936 she fled with her future husband, the art dealer Walter Feilchenfeldt, to Amsterdam, where she ended her career as a photographer with as series of atmospheric cityscapes. Following her husband's death in 1953 she continued his art dealership in Zurich and became the first successful female international art dealer.

Breslauer's photography from the 1920s and 1930s was rediscovered only in the 1970s and since then has received greater recognition. The exhibition in the Jewish Historical Museum brings together approximately a hundred photographs from Marianne Breslauer's oeuvre: mostly vintage prints but also new prints from the original negatives in her archive. The exhibition was curated by the Fotostiftung Schweiz in Winterthur and was shown last year at the Berlinische Galerie in Berlin. The exhibition runs at the JHM until 13 November 2011.