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Norlyst Gallery

  • Name:
    Norlyst Gallery
  • Kind of Organisation:
    Art GalleryGallery
  • Introduction:

    Founded in 1943 by the American painter and art collector Elenore Lust, the Norlyst Gallery represented a cross section of contemporary painting, photography and other media focusing on surrealist and abstract expressionist styles and promoting women artists and photographers.

    Word Count: 38

  • Content:

    Despite its progressive and experimental programme, the Norlyst gallery is today not well known in the gallery scene of the 1930s and 1940s. It was located close to the gallery district around 57th Street, where other galleries as the Julien Levy Gallery or Wheye Gallery were located. Elenore Lust opened her gallery in March 1943, together with the émigré artist Jimmy Ernst. On his arrival in New York in 1938, Jimmy Ernst (1920–1984), the son of the artist Max Ernst, got in contact with the circle of émigré surrealist painters, while experimenting with different surrealistic techniques. After working at Peggy Guggenheim’s Art of This Century Gallery (founded in October 1942 and located at 30 West 57th Street), he joined Elenore Lust to co-found the Norlyst Gallery. It was there that, from March, 29 until April, 14 1943, he put on his first one-man show Reflections of the Inner Eye. Elenore Lust (1909–1997) studied at the New York University and Art Students League and evolved during the 1930s as a muralist and portraitist while engaging with the National Association of Women Artists (NAWA). Representing a cross section of contemporary painting, photography and other media, Elenore Lust tried to focus on surrealist and abstract expressionist styles and promoting women artists and photographers. She was also very well connected to the New School for Social Research, where émigré artists, photographers and intellectuals could re-start their careers in exile in New York while teaching at the school.

    From Juni, 1 until June, 24 1944, the Captured Light. Experimental Photography exhibition featured, in addition to surrealist paintings, the work of several photographers. Among them were the émigrés Josef Breitenbach, Erwin Blumenfeld, Rolf Tietgens, György Kepes and Lázló Moholy-Nagy. The group show was one of the first to present experimental photography in a gallery setting in New York. This was a follow-up to the first, highly successful, Captured Light exhibition held in January of the same year with contributions from émigré photographers Andreas Feininger, Erwin Blumenfeld and Rolf Tietgens. A third edition of Captured Light opened on April, 30 in 1945. Two articles on the exhibitions and the subject of surrealist photography appeared in Popular Photography magazine. (Downes 1944; Kraus 1945)
    As well as showing photography in her gallery, Elenore Lust also supported the work of female émigré artists and lent them space to put on exhibitions. Among those who benefited were Jaqueline Lamba (1944), Louise Bourgeois (1947), probably the photographer Ruth Bernhard and in 1948 Lotte Jacobi. Lotte Jacobi’s exhibition ran from October, 3 until October, 10 and was reviewed in the Aufbau newspaper (Wolfradt 1948, 19).
    In March 1945 the émigré photographer Marion Palfi had her first one-woman exhibition Great American artists of minority groups and democracy work at the Norlyst Gallery. Her study was financed by the Council Against Intolerance in America.

    Word Count: 450

  • Known addresses in Metromod cities:

    59 West 56th Street, Central Park South, Manhattan, New York City.

  • Signature Image:
    Flyer for the Captured Light exhibition (© The Josef and Yaye Breitenbach Charitable Foundation, courtesy of The Center for Creative Photography, Josef Breitenbach Archive, AG90:29).
  • Media:
    Announcement for the Captured Light exhibition (© The Josef and Yaye Breitenbach Charitable Foundation, courtesy The Center for Creative Photography, Josef Breitenbach Archive, AG90:29).
    Flyer for Lotte Jacobi’s exhibition at the Norlyst Gallery, 1948 (© 2020. University of New Hampshire).
    Willi Wolfradt. "Lichtbild-Schöpfungen." Aufbau, 15 October 1948, p. 19.
  • Bibliography (selected):

    Belasco, Daniel. “Femme Maison: Louise Bourgeois, the Norlyst Gallery, and Feminist Surrealism in America, 1943–1947.” Networking Surrealism in the USA. Agents, Artists and the Market (Passages online, vol. 3), edited by Julia Drost et al., arthistoricum.net, 2019, pp. 303–320. Accessed 5 March 2021.

    Downes, Bruce. “Exhibition of the Month. Captured Light: Experimental Photography.” Popular Photography, September 1944, pp. 32f., 95ff.

    In Wonderland: The Surrealist Adventures of Women Artists in Mexico and the United States, edited by Ilene Susan Fort and Teresa Arcq, exh. cat Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, 2012.

    Kraus, Felix. “Why Photographers experiment.” Popular Photography, February 1945, pp. 27–29.

    Kuspit, Donald. Jimmy Ernst. Hudson Hill Press, 2000.

    Sawin, Martica. Surrealism in Exile and the Beginning of the New York School. MIT Press, 1995.

    Wolfradt, Willi. "Lichtbild-Schöpfungen. Photo Sezession." Aufbau, 15 October 1948, p. 19

    Word Count: 126

  • Archives and Sources:

    Word Count: 10

  • Acknowledgements:

    My deepest thanks go the Josef Breitenbach Estate and the Center for Creative Photography, The University of Arizona, Tucson.

    Word Count: 19

  • Author:
    Helene Roth
  • Date of Founding:
    03-1943
  • Date of Disbandment:
    05-1949
  • Participants (selection):

    Josef Breitenbach, Andreas Feininger, Rolf Tietgens, Ruth Bernhard, Lotte Jacobi, Marion Palfi.

  • Metropolis:
    New York
  • Entry in process:
    no
  • Helene Roth. "Norlyst Gallery." METROMOD Archive, 2021, https://archive.metromod.net/viewer.p/69/2948/object/5145-11005406, last modified: 04-05-2021.
  • Josef Breitenbach
    Photographer

    On arriving in New York in 1941, the German photographer Josef Breitenbach tried to restart as a portrait, street and experimental photographer, as well as a teacher of photo-history and techniques.

    Word Count: 30

    Fred Stein, Joseph Breitenbach, n.d. (© Deutsche Nationalbibliothek. Deutsches Exilarchiv 1933-1945, Frankfurt am Main).
    Fred Stein, Backside portrait Joseph Breitenbach, n.d. (© Deutsche Nationalbibliothek. Deutsches Exilarchiv 1933-1945, Frankfurt am Main).Attestation of Identity of Josef Breitenbach, Agen, September 1940 (© The Josef and Yaye Breitenbach Charitable Foundation, courtesy of The Center for Creative Photography, Josef Breitenbach Archive, AG90:5).Affidavit for Josef Breitenbach, April 1941 (© The Josef and Yaye Breitenbach Charitable Foundation, courtesy of The Center for Creative Photography, Josef Breitenbach Archive, AG90:12).Address book Josef Breitenbach, New York (© The Josef and Yaye Breitenbach Charitable Foundation, courtesy of The Center for Creative Photography, Josef Breitenbach Archive, AG90:6).Page with collected addresses of photographers in New York by Josef Breitenbach (© The Josef and Yaye Breitenbach Charitable Foundation, courtesy of The Center for Creative Photography, Josef Breitenbach Archive, AG90:6).Page with collected addresses of colleagues at the New School for Social Research in New York by Josef Breitenbach (© The Josef and Yaye Breitenbach Charitable Foundation, courtesy of The Center for Creative Photography, Josef Breitenbach Archive, AG90:6).Application for use of photographic equipment by Josef Breitenbach, 1942 (© The Josef and Yaye Breitenbach Charitable Foundation, courtesy of The Center for Creative Photography, Josef Breitenbach Archive, AG90:12).Business card Josef Breitenbach (© The Josef and Yaye Breitenbach Charitable Foundation, courtesy of The Center for Creative Photography, Josef Breitenbach Archive, AG90:6).Letter from Fortune Magazine, 1942 (© Josef Breitenbach Archive, AG90:4, Center for Creative Photography, The University of Arizona).
    New York
    Rolf Tietgens
    PhotographerEditorWriter

    Rolf Tietgens was a German émigré photographer who arrived in New York in 1938. Although, in the course of his photographic career, his artistic and surrealist images were published and shown at exhibitions, his work, today, is very little known.

    Word Count: 39

    Portrait of Rolf Tietgens, n.d. (© Keith de Lellis Gallery, New York).
    Der Hafen by Rolf Tietgens, Ehrmann Verlag, 1936.Rolf Tietgens. “What is Surrealism?” Minicam, July 1939, pp. 30–31 (Photo: Helene Roth).Photo by Rolf Tietgens of Streamliners at the World’s Fair published in the World's Fair special issue of U.S. Camera, August 1939, p. 45 (Photo: Helene Roth).Photo by Rolf Tietgens of the Communication Mall at the World’s Fair 1939 published in the World's Fair special issue of U.S. Camera, August 1939, p. 38 (Photo: Helene Roth).Rolf Tietgens. “Capture the ‘Life’ of the object.” Minicam, January 1940, pp. 46–47 (Photo: Helene Roth).Rolf Tietgens. “Capture the ‘Life’ of the object.” Minicam, January 1940, pp. 48–49 (Photo: Helene Roth).Felix Kraus. "Why Photographers experiment." Popular Photography, February 1945, pp. 28–29 (Photo: Helene Roth).Hans Arp. Human Concretion, 1935, limestone 73 x 49,5 x 45 cm, photograph by Rolf Tietgens and reproduced in Arp: On My Way. Poetry and Essays 1912–1947, edited by Robert Motherwell, Wittenborn, Schulz, 1948, pp. 130–131 (Photo: Helene Roth).Published photo by Rolf Tietgens (Feininger 1952, 116–117).Times Square. U.S.A. (1952) photobook by Rolf Tietgens, Keith de Lellis Gallery, 1992 (Photo: Helene Roth).
    New York
    Marion Palfi
    Photographer

    Marion Palfi was a German émigré photographer who lived in New York from the 1940s to the 1960s. Her photographic engagement in social and political topics made her name for her use of the camera to draw attention to social injustices.

    Word Count: 41

    Selfportrait of Marion Palfi (© Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona: Marion Palfi Archive).
    Advertisement “Ein bischen tätige Liebe” for a cigarette brand with photograph of Marion Palfi and Aribert Mog (1904–1941). Modenschau. Illustrierte Monats-Zeitschrift für Heim und Gesellschaft, no. 202, October 1929, p. 43.Cover of Ebony with photograph by Marion Palfi (Ebony, 1 November 1945).Review of Marion Palfi's Suffer Little Children by Eleanor Roosevelt published in Des Moines Tribune, 10 December 1952, p. 20.Article on Marion Palfi in Aufbau magazin (Craemer 1949).Cover of Suffer Little Children by Marion Palfi (Oceana Publications, 1952).Announcement of Marion Palfi’s course at the New School for Social Research. New School for Bulletin, vol. 17, no. 2, 2 September 1959, p. 46 (© New School course catalog collection, NS-05-01-01. The New School Archives).
    New York
    Lotte Jacobi
    Photographer

    In October 1935 the German émigré photographer Lotte Jacobi, together with her sister Ruth Jacobi, opened a photo studio on 57th Street. The two sisters had to leave their parents' photo studio in Berlin in the 1930s and emigrated to New York.

    Word Count: 41

    Lotte Jacobi, Self-portrait, New York, 1937 (© 2020. University of New Hampshire).
    Lotte Jacobi, Central Park, New York, 1936 (© 2020. University of New Hampshire).Lotte Jacobi, New York Stock Exchange, New York, 1938 (© 2020. University of New Hampshire).Lotte Jacobi, Ernst Fuhrmann, New York, 1942 (© 2021. University of New Hampshire).Lotte Jacobi, Hanya Holm dancing with troup, 1937 (© 2020. University of New Hampshire).Flyer for Lotte Jacobi’s exhibition at the Norlyst Gallery, 1948 (© 2020. University of New Hampshire).Willi Wolfradt. "Lichtbild-Schöpfungen." Aufbau, 15 October 1948, p. 19.Lotte Jacobi, Werner Wolff, 1943, New York (© 2021. University of New Hampshire).Lotte Jacobi, Ruth Bernhard, 1945, New York (© 2021. University of New Hampshire).
    New York
    Ylla
    Photographer

    Ylla was an Austrian-born photographer who emigrated to New York in 1941. Specialising in animal photography, she produced not only studio photographs, but also shot outside on urban locations in the metropolis.

    Word Count: 31

    "Speaking of Pictures … this is the work of the Bachrach of Dog Photography.”, images by Ylla and published in Life, 17 November 1947, pp. 18–19. (Photo: Helene Roth).“Babytime at the Zoo”, images by Ylla, Life,14 May 1944, p. 43. (Photo: Helene Roth).“Ylla’s cameras tells. A tale of two kittens ... .” Popular Photography, Dezember 1951, pp. 50–51 (Photo: Helene Roth).Profile photo of terrier by Ylla (Camilla Koffler), ca. 1938, published on the cover of U.S. Camera, October 1940 ( © Waverley123 (Pryor Dodge) at the English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons).Advertisement in The New Yorker (November 14, 1953, p. 184) for Ylla’s book Animal’s in Africa (Photo: Helene Roth).Published photograph by Ylla Back to Methusala, Regent's Park London for U.S. Camera. Annual 1943, edited by Tom Malloney, Radom House, 1943, p. 90.Fritz Neugass. “The saga of the S.S. Winnipeg.” Modern Photography, July 1951, pp. 72–73 (Photo: Helene Roth).
    New York
    J.J. Augustin Incorporated Publisher
    Publishing House

    J.J. Augustin was a German publishing house in Glückstadt with a long history, going back to 1632. In 1936 the American branch opened in New York with a large artistic and cultural focus.

    Word Count: 33

    Logo and imprint of J.J. Augustin Publishing (Photo: Helene Roth).
    Book cover of Hoyningen-Huene’s photobook Hellas (J.J. Augustin, 1944).Announcement of Roman Towns by Ernest Nash (J.J. Augustin, 1944).Cover of Ballet by Alexey Brodovitch (J.J. Augustin, 1945).Book cover Return to Life through Contrology by Joseph Pilates (J.J. Augustin, 1945).Cartoon Map of New York City. Designed by Henry E. Salloch. (J.J. Augustin, 1938).Book cover Woodcuts of New York by Hans Alexander Mueller (J.J. Augustin, 1938).
    New York
    Camera Features
    Photo Agency

    Camera Features was a photo agency founded by the photographer Werner Wolff and other colleagues of the photo agency PIX.

    Word Count: 20

    Camera Features stamp (The Family of Werner Wolff © Ryerson Image Center).
    New York
    Weyhe Gallery
    Art Gallery

    Opened in 1919 by the German-born art dealer Erhard Weyhe opened a bookstore and gallery space specialised in contemporary European artists and was the first to specialise in prints.

    Word Count: 28

    Address of Weyhe Gallery (Photo: Helene Roth).
    "Ylla." The New Yorker, 14 February 1942, pp.11f.
    New York
    Julien Levy Gallery
    Art Gallery

    The Julien Levy Gallery was founded by the art dealer Julien Levy (1906–1981) in 1931, and was situated in the New York gallery district around 57th Street, where the Weyhe and Norlyst Gallery were also located.

    Word Count: 34

    T. Lux Feininger, The Painter Muriel Streeter and Julien Levy, 1940, New York (© The Estate of T. Lux Feininger, Repro: www.Kunst-Archive.net).
    Exhibition flyer Paintings of Ships by T. Lux Feininger at the Julien Levy Gallery from May, 7 until December, 31 1937 (© T. Lux Feininger Estate).Exhibition flyer by Theodore Lux Feininger at the Julien Levy Gallery from January, 21 until January, 31 1947 (© T. Lux Feininger Estate).Announcement of the exhibition Modern European Photography at the Julien Levy Gallery (The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 21 February 1932, p. 52).
    New York
    American-British Art Center
    Art Center

    The émigré gallerist Ala Story left London for New York around 1940, where she co-founded the American-British Art Center, which introduced British and US artists to the public.

    Word Count: 27

    Article on the opening of the American British Art Center, 44 West 56th Street in New York in The Herald Statesman, 28 January 1941, p. 8 (Photo: Private Archive).
    Article on “Art Exhibit At Bar Harbor. Recent Photographs of Bombed London By Cecil Beaton” in The Bangor Daily News, 11 August 1941, p. 10 (Photo: Private Archive). The article describes the activities of the American British Art Center founded by Ala Story for the benefit of the London art scene, which was isolated and shaken by the war.
    New York
    László Moholy-Nagy
    PhotographerGraphic DesignerPainterSculptor

    László Moholy-Nagy emigrated to London in 1935, where he worked in close contact with the local avantgarde and was commissioned for window display decoration, photo books, advertising and film work.

    Word Count: 30

    László Moholy-Nagy, Cover of sales leaflet for Marcel Breuer’s Isokon Long Chair, 1937 (Pritchard Papers, University of East Anglia, © László Moholy-Nagy).
    László Moholy-Nagy, Bill of Fare, farewell dinner menu for Walter Gropius, London, March 1937, front page (Pritchard Papers, University of East Anglia, © László Moholy-Nagy).Mary Benedetta. The Street Markets of London. Photographs by László Moholy-Nagy. (reissued 1972). Benjamin Blom, 1972, “Petticoat Lane: The Spectacle Man” and “Petticoat Lane: In a side street. Some Arabian visitors at a second-hand clothes stall” (Photo: Private Archive, © The Moholy-Nagy Foundation).Barbara Hepworth, Ben Nicholson, their triplets and Hattula Moholy-Nagy at 7 Farm Walk, the London home of László and Sibyl Moholy-Nagy, June 1936 (provided by The Moholy-Nagy Foundation).
    London
    Andreas Feininger
    PhotographerWriterEditor

    Andreas Feininger, was a German émigré photographer who arrived in New York with his wife Wysse Feininger in 1939. He started a lifelong career exploring the city's streets, working as a photojournalist and writing a large number of photography manuals.

    Word Count: 39

    Portrait of Andreas Feininger by Fritz Henle, 1940/41, cropped detail (© Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona: Andreas Feininger Archive, Photo: Helene Roth).
    Portrait of Andreas Feininger by Fritz Henle, 1940/41 (© Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona: Andreas Feininger Archive, Photo: Helene Roth).Andreas Feininger, 1, Stockholm, 1937 (© Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona: Andreas Feininger Archive, Photo: Helene Roth).Andreas Feininger, Close Up Equipment, 365 West 20 St. New York, 1940 (© Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona: Andreas Feininger Archive, Photo: Helene Roth).Andreas Feininger, “An Amateur’s Wartime Darkroom.” U.S. Camera, April 1942, pp. 28–29 (Photo: Helene Roth).Scrapbook of Andreas Feininger with photographic essay “New York. A big spectacle in big pictures.” Life, 14 April 1941, pp. 86–87 (© Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona: Andreas Feininger Archive, Photo: Helene Roth).Scrapbook of Andreas Feininger with article and photographs by him. “Experimenting with Lights at Night.” Popular Photography, February 1947, pp. 44–45 (© Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona: Andreas Feininger Archive, Photo: Helene Roth).“Feininger’s Workshop - photo facts in pictures. Unsharpness and its cause.” Popular Photography, May 1949, pp.54–55 (Photo: Helene Roth).
    New York
    Ruth Bernhard
    Photographer

    Ruth Bernhard was a German émigré photographer who lived in New York from the 1920s to the 1940s. Beside her series on female nudes, her place in the photography network, as well as in the New York queer scene, is unknown and understudied.

    Word Count: 43

    Lotte Jacobi, Ruth Bernhard, 1945, New York (© 2021. University of New Hampshire).
    Scrapbook and published work by Ruth Bernhard (Ruth Bernhard Archive, Special Collection Princeton University © Trustees of Princeton University).Lifesavers by Ruth Bernhard, published in Advertisment Arts, January 1931 (Ruth Bernhard Archive, Special Collection Princeton University © Trustees of Princeton University).Still Life of dolls for Macy’s by Ruth Bernhard, published in Graphic Arts, 1931 (Ruth Bernhard Archive, Special Collection Princeton University © Trustees of Princeton University).Ruth Bernhard, Eighth Street Movie Theater, Frederick Kiesler-Architect, New York, 1946 (Diversity Corner is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0).Exhibition flyer for Ruth Bernhard Photographs, PM Gallery, 1938 (Ruth Bernhard Archive, Special Collection Princeton University © Trustees of Princeton University).Description of Ruth Bernhard Photographs exhibition, by Kurt Safranski, PM Gallery, 1938 (Ruth Bernhard Archive, Special Collection Princeton University © Trustees of Princeton University).
    New York
    New School for Social Research
    Academy/Art SchoolPhoto SchoolUniversity / Higher Education Institute / Research Institute

    During the 1940s and 1950s emigrated graphic designers and photographers, along with artists and intellectuals, were given the opportunity to held lectures and workshops at the New School for Social Research.

    Word Count: 31

    Werner Wolff, K.S. Safranski’s Class in Pictorial Journalism, 1950 (New School for Research Archive, Photograph Collection © Steven Wolff).
    Announcement of "Art Applied to Graphic Journalism, Advertising, Design, Fashion" course by Alexey Brodovitch, published in New School Bulletin. Art Classes, 1942/43, p. 11 (© New School course catalog collection, NS-05-01-01. The New School Archives).Announcement of "Pictorial Journalism" course by Kurt Safranski in New School Bulletin, vol. 2, no. 9, 1944, p. 84 (© New School course catalog collection, NS-05-01-01. The New School Archives).Announcement of "The Small Camera In Photography Today" course by Lisette Model. New School Bulletin. Art Classes, vol. 9, no. 2, September 1951, front cover and p. 34 (© New School course catalog collection, NS-05-01-01. The New School Archives).Lisette Model at New School by Joe Covello, 1960s, New School for Research Archive, Photograph Collection, NS.04.01.01:16 (© The New School Archives and Special Collection, The New School, New York, NY).Portrait Alvin Saunders Johnson by Fred Stein, New School for Research Archive, Photograph Collection (© Fred Stein Archive).Flyer of “New Architecture and City Planning” symposium by Paul Zucker (© The New School Archives and Special Collection, The New School, New York, NY).
    New York