Grete Stern, Dreams No. 1, 1949
From Bauhaus to Buenos Aires: Grete Stern and Horacio Coppola
From Bauhaus to Buenos Aires: Grete Stern and Horacio Coppola is the first major exhibition to focus on the German-born Grete Stern and the Argentinean Horacio Coppola, two leading figures of avant-garde photography who established themselves on both sides of the Atlantic.
Horacio Coppola, Nocturne Buenos Aires, 1936
The exhibition begins in the late 1920s with each artist’s initial forays into photography and typographic design. In Berlin in 1927, Stern began taking private classes with Walter Peterhans, who was soon to become head of photography at the Bauhaus. A year later, in Peterhans’s studio, she met Ellen (Rosenberg) Auerbach, with whom she opened a pioneering studio specializing in portraiture and advertising. Named after their childhood nicknames, the studio ringl + pit embraced both commercial and avant-garde loyalties, creating proto-feminist works.
Grete Stern, Botella del mar (Sueño Nº 5), 1950
In Buenos Aires during the same period, Coppola initiated his photographic experimentations, exploring his surroundings and contributing to the discourse on modernist practices across media in local cultural magazines. In 1929 he founded the Buenos Aires Film Club to introduce the most innovative foreign films to Argentine audiences. His early works show the burgeoning interest in new modes of photographic expression that led him to the Bauhaus in 1932, where he met Stern and they began their joint history.
Horacio Coppola, Buenos Aires, 1936
In the summer of 1935, Stern and Coppola embarked for Buenos Aires, where they mounted an exhibition in the offices of the avant-garde magazine Sur, announcing the arrival of modern photography in Argentina. The unique character of Buenos Aires was captured in Coppola’s photographic encounters from the city’s center to its outskirts, and in Stern’s numerous portraits of the city’s intelligentsia, from feminist playwright Amparo Alvajar to essayist Jorge Luis Borges to poet-politician Pablo Neruda.