Umbo. Photographer

Works 1926 – 1956
21.2.20 – 20.7.20

Umbo, Ohne Titel (Ruth. Die Hand), um 1926, © Phyllis Umbehr/Galerie Kicken Berlin/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2020, Repro: Anja E. Witte
Umbo, Ohne Titel (Ruth. Die Hand), um 1926, 2016 erworben mit Mitteln der Beauftragten der Bundesregierung für Kultur und Medien, © Phyllis Umbehr/Galerie Kicken Berlin/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2020, Repro: Anja E. Witte

Umbo (Otto Umbehr) symbolises a kind of “big bang” in modern photography of 1920s – as art historian Herbert Moldering put it during his retrospective of the artist in 1995. With his rich imagination and pleasure in experiment, Umbo was a key influence in New Vision (Neues Sehen). He is credited with inventing the image of New Woman, the new streetscape and photographic reportage in general. His name is associated with hauling the “Wandervögel” youth movement out of the Wilhelmine Period and into the early Bauhaus, and also with Berlin sprouting wings as a media metropolis. Umbo is, besides, the young artist plagued by self-doubt who shot to fame almost overnight thanks to encouragement from his Bauhaus teacher Johannes Itten and his artist friend Paul Citroen, and yet he always remained a bohemian on an eternal quest.

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