Very close up:
Paul Citroen

Umbo (1902 – 1908)

Black and white portrait photo of Paul Citreon taken by photographer Umbo
© Phyllis Umbehr/Galerie Kicken Berlin/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2019

The photographer has pulled his sitter right up close. The face fills the whole frame. Every wrinkle, every pore, every freckle can be clearly distinguished. The dark eyes pin down the viewer. Reflexes of light on the pupils are the brightest spots in this black-and-white shot of the artist Paul Citroen.

This intimate portrait was taken by Umbo, whose full name was Otto Maximilian Umbehr (1902–1980). The two artists met as students at the Bauhaus, but Umbo did not discover photography until he graduated and moved to Berlin. His first camera was a gift from his friend Citroen, who also took pictures.

Umbo was soon one of the most innovative photographers in the Weimar Republic. His unbridled delight in experiments is not confined to his photographs. In his photojournalism too, he pushed the formal and technical boundaries of the medium to their limits, always in search of a new visual experience.

Untitled (Portrait Paul Citroen)
1926
Photography
Acquired from Hanne Appelt, 1981

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