The Museum der Moderne Salzburg is launching a series of exhibitions on artists who experienced life in exile. The project aims to put their work, which has fallen into obscurity, back on the map. Titled Up/Rooted, the first show in the series introduces viewers to the art of Ellen Auerbach, Grete Stern, Friedl Dicker-Brandeis, and Elly Niebuhr. Having honed their skills in the creative professions of their choice, the artists were compelled by emigration to rebuild their lives and careers. All four worked in various areas of design. The exhibition presents ca. 200 works that illustrate their diverse responses to the profound challenge of having to strike new roots in unfamiliar surroundings.
Grete Stern (1904 Elberfeld, DE – 1999 Buenos Aires, AR) and Ellen Auerbach (1906 Karlsruhe, DE – 2004 New York, US)—set up an advertising studio in Berlin in 1929. Women photographers with professional studios were not uncommon in the Weimar Republic. What made ringl+pit special was their creative collaboration, in which they complemented each other perfectly. Both artists went into exile in 1933; Auerbach moved to New York, while Stern resettled in Buenos Aires. Having to fend for themselves, they branched out into new lines of work to survive.
Friedl Dicker-Brandeis (1898 Vienna, AT – 1944 Auschwitz, PL) received a broad-based education at Vienna’s Graphische Lehr- und Versuchsanstalt, the Kunstgewerbeschule, and the Bauhaus in Weimar. In 1923, she and Franz Singer set up a studio in Berlin and Vienna that specialized in interior design and proved highly successful. She escaped to Prague in 1934, where she turned to realist painting and gave art classes for children. Her last works were created in the concentration camp at Theresienstadt.
Elly Niebuhr (1914 – 2013 Vienna, AT) apprenticed as a sewing pattern designer in a corsage studio and studied chemistry. In 1936, she enrolled at the Graphische Lehr- und Versuchsanstalt and went into training in Hella Katz’s photography studio. She took photographs capturing the housing projects and social care providers of Red Vienna. Having emigrated to New York in 1938, she returned to Austria in 1947 and went on to become of Vienna’s best-known fashion photographers.