Atlas Gallery, situated on the corner of Chiltern Street Marylebone is delighted to announce an exhibition of rarely seen images by Austrian photographer Ernst Haas (1921-1986), which reveal post-war London in the years 1949 to 1951.
32 images from the collection, which has never been on public display before, reconstructs London emerging from two of the darkest decades in its recent history into a bustling dynamic entity. From Haas's unique position as a European photographer with the benefits of time spent documenting New York, the photographer imbues London with energy, humour and progressiveness more associated with an American city. A photojournalist at the beginning of his career, Haas documented daily life with a keen but empathetic eye for London's changing character, and the levity and stoicism of its occupants.
The vintage collection comprises 94 black and white vintage prints and is to be presented and sold as a single group for £370,000.
Central to the tone of the collection is a group of works entitled 'Speaker's Corner'. This British institution is recognised as much for its devotion to freedom of speech and debate as for the eccentricity of some of the speakers. With wit, sensitivity and candour, Haas depicts the small area in the North East corner of Hyde Park as a microcosm for the changing face of post war British society, which offers an insight into early stages of a multicultural democracy in formation. Black workers unions, socialist political parties and bowler-hatted gentry offer their manifestos to engaged or amused crowds.
The gallery will be exhibiting nine images from 'Speakers Corner' at Photo London, Somerset House. (21st-24th May)
A photojournalist with a gift for lyricism and experimentation, Ernst Haas never fitted a single category. On an assignment for Heute magazine in 1947 Haas witnessed prisoners of war disembarking from a train and began documenting their arrival. The resulting photo essay, “Homecoming” led to Haas being invited to Paris by Robert Capa and joining the then new co-operative Magnum Photos. He became Magnum's President in the US and would go on to become known for the graphic colour depictions of New York in 1952, iconic colour billboard and neon images from Route 66, New Mexico in 1968 and film stills of 1961 John Huston film The Misfits, starring Marilyn Monroe in her final screen role.
Haas's London provides insight into both photographer and city gaining renewed senses of identity and purpose following the Second World War.