Portrait of the Beloved

Walter Peterhans, 1929

Bauhaus-Archiv Berlin / © Brigitte Peterhans, Chicago / Folkwang Museum, Essen
Portrait of the Beloved, photo: Walter Peterhans, 1929

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Without the meaningful title 'Portrait of the Beloved', the observer would marvel at a masterfully photographed still life with a distinctly feminine aura, artfully arranged in the base of a ceramic bowl. However, the title lifts the work out of the material world and releases a flood of associations that reveal the nature of femininity per se in the combination of diverse components and an intimate knowledge of the same. With sophisticated lighting, Walter Peterhans emphasises the specific material qualities of the design elements, so that the upside-down ceramic bowl looks like a well-rounded breast, the angel hair especially silky, the metallic Christmas ornament glamorous but prickly and the tulle lace stiff and scratchy.

[AG 2015]

  1. Literature:
  2. Sachsse, Rolf (2009): Allegorische Dingmagie und perfektes Handwerk. Der Fotograf Walter Peterhans, in: Modell Bauhaus, hg. v. Bauhaus-Archiv / Museum für Gestaltung, Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau und Klassik Stiftung Weimar, Ausstellungskatalog, Ostfildern, S. 269-272.
  3. Graeve, Inka (1993): Vom Wesen der Dinge. Zu Leben und Werk Walter Peterhans’, in: Walter Peterhans. Fotografien 1927–1938, hg. v. Fotografische Sammlung im Museum Folkwang, Essen, S. 6-22.
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