Artist of the moment……photographer Erwin Blumenfeld

Erwin Blumenfeld was a fantastic photographer born in Berlin, Germany in the year 1897. Blumenfeld worked in a very modern style and specialized in fashion photography. Blumenfeld was published in the leading fashion magazines of the day including Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar. Blumenfeld enjoyed creating and made collages and drawings in addition to his photographic works.

Blumenfeld received his first camera as a gift when he was 11 years of age.

Blumenfeld was drafted into the army and had to enter World War 1 and fight for Germany. The artist had planned to desert the army, his mother had a different idea and turned him in and he was arrested.

After the war he moved to the Netherlands and opened up a women’s accessory store located in Amsterdam. He moved the store to a new location and the new building included a fully equipped dark room. Blumenfeld photographed some clients of his, sometimes even taking nudes.

In 1935 he was published in a national magazine in France.

His leather store failed in 1936. It went bankrupt and closed it’s doors. Blumenfeld moved to Paris, France and immediately started a successful photography studio taking pictures of artists and celebrities including Josephine Baker, the famous dancer of the Moulin Rouge.

In 1950 Blumenfeld was the highest paid photographer in the world. Later in the decade he would start to make movies and short films with the idea of using film to sell beauty supplies. Blumenfeld was certainly ahead of his time in that regard!

In this clip we view some of his short movies made by Blumenfeld that were to be used to market beauty supplies:

Erwin Blumenfeld passed away in 1969 in what could be called a suicide. Blumenfeld had a heart condition but didn’t take his medication. Then to cause himself to have a heart attack, ran up and down the Spanish steps in Rome, Italy where he was living. The plan worked and he died on July 4th of 1969.

I love the very modern look the Blumenfeld achieved in his work. Like a great painting, its very important to leave somethings out to inspire the viewer to think. Blumenfeld did this is much of his photography work. In addition he wasn’t afraid to experiment with different techniques.

Price range information: Works range from $5,000 to $120,000.

And to close we look at a clip from a documentary about Erwin Blumenfeld:


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