At MoMA, Grete Stern’s ‘Facial Nude’ of Bertolt Brecht

THE DAILY PIC: Although Bauhaus-trained, Stern shot the straightest of portraits.


THE DAILY PIC (#1370): Grete Stern shot this photo of the great playwright Bertolt Brecht in London in 1934, after they’d both fled Nazi Germany. The shot – along with many others ­– is in the show called “From Bauhaus to Buenos Aires: Grete Stern and Horacio Coppola”, at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. (Coppola was Stern’s classmate and husband, but not quite her equal, artistically.)

Although Stern was one of the first photo students at the Bauhaus, many of her photos avoid showy modernist aesthetics. I love the line that one of her sitters, the poet Maria Elena Walsh, came up with for the portraits that Stern turned to once she’d landed in Argentina: Walsh called them “facial nudes”. I wish I’d coined that. (© 2015 Estate of Horacio Coppola)

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