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Beggar Bar

  • Name:
    Beggar Bar
  • Alternative names:


  • Kind of Organisation:
  • Introduction:

    Beggar Bar was an artists bar and cabaret which was founded in 1941 by the German actress and dancer Valeska Gert (1892–1978).

    Word Count: 20

  • Content:

    During the 1920s, Berlin-born dancer and actress Valeska Gert was famous in Germany for her abstract and eccentric performances. She was, for example, part of Laterna Magica – auch eine Revue (1926, Friedrich Hollaender) together with Marion Palfi, who was at this time still working as an actress; after her emigration to New York, she worked as a photographer. In 1933 Valeska Gert emigrated to London, where she took part in the short film Pett and Pott. After marrying her second husband, the writer Robin Hay Anderson, she emigrated with him to New York in 1939. Restarting her dancing and acting career proved to be almost impossible.

    Beggar Bar was located in Greenwich Village, which was already at the time a borough much frequented by émigré artists and home to such cultural avant-garde intellectuals as Berenice Abbot, Patricia Highsmith and Lisette Model. The exile publishing house Pantheon Books was also located there. Beggar Bar ran from 1941 to 1945 and was not only a showcase for Valeska Gert’s own performances, but also a contact zone, where other émigré and American artists like Kadidja Wedekind could perform, as well as meet there or work at the bar.

    Word Count: 191

  • Known addresses in Metromod cities:

    3 Morton Street, Greenwich Village, New York City.

  • Signature Image:
    Advertisement “Valeska Gerts’s Beggar Bar.” Aufbau, 9 October 1942, p. 13
  • Bibliography (selected):

    Gert, Valeska. Die Bettlerbar von New York. Arani, 1950.

    Klösch, Christian and Regina Thumser-Wöhs. “From Vienna”: Exilkabarett in New York 1938 bis 1950. Picus, 2002.

    Maaß, Ingrid. Repertoire der deutschsprachigen Exilbühnen 1933–1955. Hamburger Arbeitsstelle für Deutsche Exilliteratur, 2000.

    Trapp, Frithjof, et al., editor. Handbuch des deutschsprachigen Exiltheaters 1933–1945, vol. 2: Biographisches Lexikon der Theaterkünstler. K.G. Saur, 1999.

    Word Count: 54

  • Archives and Sources:

    Word Count: 25

  • Author:
    Helene Roth
  • Date of Founding:
  • Date of Disbandment:
  • Participants (selection):

    Ellen Auerbauch, Valeska Gert, Oskar Maria Graf, Marion Palfi, Lisette Model.

  • Metropolis:
    New York
  • Entry in process:
  • Helene Roth. "Beggar Bar." METROMOD Archive, 2021,, last modified: 04-05-2021.
  • Lisette Model

    Lisette Model was an Austrian-born photographer who lived in New York with her husband Evsa Model after emigrating from France. Her street photographs capturing the curiosities of everyday life quickly caught the interest of museums and magazines.

    Word Count: 37

    Hermann Landshoff, Die Fotografin Lisette Model, New York 1948 (© bpk / Münchner Stadtmuseum, Sammlung Fotografie / Archiv Landshoff).
    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).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's naturalisation papers. New York, Southern District, U.S District Court Naturalization Records, 1824–1946. Petitions for naturalization and petition evidence 1944 box 942, no 490001-490300 > image 702 of 1406; citing NARA microfilm publication M1972 (Family Research. © Southern District of New York Petitions for Naturalization, 1897–1944. Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685–2009, RG 21. National Archives at New York).Page with photos of the apartments at 55 Grove Street and 137 7th Avenue, published in Le Pommeré, 2010, pp. 58–59 (Photo: Helene Roth).
    New York
    Rolf Tietgens

    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

    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

    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
    Pantheon Books
    Publishing House

    Pantheon Books was a publishing house founded in 1942 by the German émigré Kurt Wolff (1887–1963) and aimed at the exiled European community in New York.

    Word Count: 24

    Pantheon Books sign (© Fred Stein Archive).
    Cover of 5th Avenue photobook (Pantheon Books, 1947) by Fred Stein (© Fred Stein Archive).First page of 5th Avenue (Pantheon Books, 1947) by Fred Stein (© Fred Stein Archive).Page of 5th Avenue (Pantheon, 1947) by Fred Stein.Last page of 5th Avenue (Pantheon Books, 1947) by Fred Stein (© Fred Stein Archive).Page from Fred Stein’s scrapbook showing Pantheon Books Catalogue (Fall 1946, Spring 1947), which includes 5th Avenue (© Fred Stein Archive).Announcement by Pantheon Books from Fred Stein’s scrapbook (© Fred Stein Archive).Mixed articles and reviews on 5th Avenue photobook form Fred Stein's scrapbook (© Fred Stein Archive).Portrait of Kurt Wolff (of publishing house Pantheon Books) by Fred Stein, 1959 (© Fred Stein Archive).Cover of the French edition 5th Avenue (Querido, 1947) by Fred Stein (© Fred Stein Archive).
    New York