Grete Stern

Grete Stern (1904 – Wuppertal-Elberfeld, Germany – 1999, Buenos Aires, Argentina).

Between 1923 and 1925 she studied graphic design and typography at the Technische Hochschule in Stuttgart. In 1927, following the advice of her friend and fellow photographer Umbo, she takes individual photography lessons with the renowned teacher Walter Peterhans, and meets her future business partner Ellen Auerbach. Throughout the following year Grete continues to study with Peterhans in his photography classes at the Bauhaus in Dessau. There, she meets the Argentinian photographer Horacio Coppola, who she marries three years later.

In 1929 Grete and Ellen Auerbach opened the highly experimental Berlin based comercial design, advertising and photography studio, ringl+pit.

With the rise of the Nazi Regime and the subsequent closure of the Bauhaus, Grete travels to London along with Horacio Coppola and Ellen Auerbach, where they re-open ringl+pit. One year later the studio is closed after Ellen is being forced to leave England and heads to the United States. In 1935 Grete travels to Buenos Aires with her then husband Horacio Coppola, where they settle permanently and continue their photographic and advertising practice, producing groundbreacking work impregnated with New-Vision ideas they had learnt in Europe.

Her work includes a number of photographic series about the city of Buenos Aires: its architecture, landscapes of southern Argentina, the life and crafts of Aboriginal Gran Chaco, and portraits of various argentinian artists and intellectuals.

Sueños, (Dreams) is a series of photomontages that Grete Stern produced on a weekly basis for the women´s magazine Idilio, from 1948 to 1951. The images were meant to illustrate the column El psicoanálisis le ayudará (Psycoanalys Will Help You). The women readers where invited to share their dreams that were subsequently analyzed by a psychologist and a sociologist working under the pseudonym Richard Rest. But it was the richly imaginative, technically outstanding, poetic images that Stern provided with her photomontages that really grasped the complex feelings at work in the dreams of the correspondents.

Her photographs are featured in several museums, institutions and private collections in Europe, The United States and Latin America, among others: Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York; The Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET), New York; J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid; Insituto Valenciano de Arte Moderno (IVAM), Valencia; Fundación Telefónica, Madrid; Folkwang Museum, Essen, Germany; Museu Lasar Segall, Sao Paolo; Instituto Moreira Salles, Rio de Janeiro; Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (MNBA), Buenos Aires; Museo de Arte Latinoamericáno de Buenos Aires (MALBA); Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires (MAMBA).

In 2015, The Museum of Modern Art, (MoMA), in New York presented From Bauhaus to Buenos Aires: Grete Stern and Horacio Coppola, a retrospective exhibition accompanied by a comprehensive catalogue.