Grete Stern

grete stern of juan ramon jimenez.jpg

[above] Grete Stern (1904-1999), Juan Ramón Jiménez, 1949. Gelatin silver print. Graphic Arts Collection GA2012- in process. Purchased with fund provided by the Program in Latin American Studies.
[below] Grete Stern (1904-1999), Pedro Henríquez Ureña, 1942. Gelatin silver print. Graphic Arts Collection GA2012- in process. Purchased with funds provided by the Program in Latin American Studies

grete stern of pedro henriquez urena.jpg

In the 1930s, the German photographer Grete Stern (1904-1999) married the Argentine photographer Horacio Coppola (1906-2012) and settled in Buenos Aires. They brought with them the ideology of the Bauhaus workshop in Dessau where they met and were important agents in the spread of European modernist theory to South America.

Already a prize-winning artist and manager of an acclaimed Berlin photography studio (together with Ellen Auerbach), Stern opened a second studio in Buenos Aires, offering graphic design, advertising, and commercial portraiture.

“In 1940 the couple moved to a Modernist house built in the outskirts of the city, designed by architect Wladimiro Acosta …The house became a meeting place for young artists and writers … both Argentine and exiled foreigners. They met to show their work and discuss cultural matters. For example, in 1945 the Madi arts group (Movimiento de Arte Concreto Invención) exhibited for the first time at her house. Stern used the gatherings in her home as an opportunity to photograph her visitors. Among her subjects were exponents of the avant-garde in the arts and letters, including Jorge Luis Borges, Clément Moreau, Renate Schottelius and others.” (Jewish Women’s Archive)

Princeton is fortunate to have acquired two of Stern’s portraits. The first is a 1942 image of Pedro Henríquez Ureña (1884-1946) a Dominican intellectual, philosopher, and literary critic, known for his essay “La utopía de América” (1925), among many others. The second, taken in 1949, is a portrait of the Spanish poet Juan Ramón Jiménez (1881-1958), who received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1956.

Below is a short video of Stern and her husband with a clip from Coppola’s film Ringl and Pit, in which Stern plays the part of the maid.

See also: Grete Stern (Valencià: IVAM Centre Julio González: Generalitat Valenciana, 1995). (SAPH): Photography TR680 .S914 1995
Sueños: Fotomontajes de Grete Stern: Serie Completa (Buenos Aires: Fundación CEPPA, Centro de Estudios para Políticas Públicas Aplicadas, [2003]). (F) TR647 .S789 2003