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Grete Stern

  • Given name:
    Grete
  • Last name:
    Stern
  • Date of Birth:
    09-05-1904
  • Place of Birth:
    Wuppertal (DE)
  • Date of Death:
    24-12-1999
  • Place of Death:
    Buenos Aires (AR)
  • Profession:
    Photographer
  • Introduction:

    Grete Stern is one of the photographers that represent modern photography in Argentina. Her house in Ramos Mejía was a meeting place for local and foreign artists and intellectuals.

    Word Count: 30

  • Signature Image:
    Grete Stern, Autorretrato, 1943, photograph, 21,9 x 30,5 cm. Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Buenos Aires (© The Estate of Horacio Coppola/Galería Jorge Mara • La Ruche, Buenos Aires).
  • Content:

    Grete Stern is one of the photographers that represent modern photography in Argentina. Her house in Ramos Mejía, on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, was a meeting place for local and foreign artists and intellectuals.
    Stern was born in Wuppertal-Elberfeld, Germany, in 1904. She first studied in Stuttgart, before moving to Berlin to attend Walter Peterhans’ class, who later went to the Bauhaus in Dessau. There she met the Argentine photographer and filmmaker Horacio Coppola in October 1932. At that time, Stern worked together with Ellen Auerbach in their photo studio ringl + pit. Three years later, fleeing Nazi persecution, Stern and Coppola decided to leave Europe for his native Argentina. They arrived just after their marriage in 1935. Stern’s integration into the cultural scene of Buenos Aires was facilitated by her husband. Indeed, before travelling to Europe, Coppola had already achieved recognition in Argentina for his photographic work, which was regarded as innovative and modern. Through him, Stern met Victoria Ocampo, who was surrounded by artists and writers, among them the Spanish painter, engraver and designer Luis Seoane, the Czechoslovak sculptor Gyula Kosice, the Austrian painter Gertrudis Chale, the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, the German caricaturist Clément Moreau, the dancer Renate Schottelius, and the German photographer Annemarie Heinrich. Furthermore, it was at the Sur editorial headquarters —headed by Ocampo— that Stern and Coppola exhibited their work for the first time in Argentina, in October 1935.
    In 1937, together with Seoane, Grete Stern and Horacio Coppola opened a photographic studio at Avenida Córdoba 363 which specialised in advertising and which eventually had to close two years later due to a low demand for the type of advertising products they offered. By then, Grete Stern was already fully integrated into the Argentinian artistic and cultural scene. She would later follow in the footsteps of Victoria Ocampo, gathering together the European intellectual diaspora and providing space for their exchanges in her house in Ramos Mejía, at what is today Calle Hilario Ballesteros 1054 (Villa Sarmiento district). Stern and Coppola moved there in 1940 with their daughter Silvia. The Russian architect Vladimir Acosta was chosen to carry out the construction of the building in 1939. Born in Odessa, Acosta had arrived in Buenos Aires in 1928. He was a close friend of Victoria Ocampo, who probably helped him find a position in the studio of the architect Alberto Prebisch. For his friends Stern and Coppola, Acosta devised a modern house which stood out in every way from the surrounding buildings. Because of its style and building materials — reinforced concrete and masonry — the house was called ‘the factory’. A two-storey atelier, the main space in Stern’s house, unites the ground floor with its living spaces to the first floor which contains the terraces, an office and a guest room. The house was a meeting place for foreign artists and intellectuals, and also for Argentinians such as María Elena Walsh, Sara Facio and Jorge Luis Borges.

    Word Count: 487

  • Media:
    Grete Stern, Photomontage for Madí, Ramos Mejía, Argentina, 1946–47, Gelatine silver print, 59.8 x 49.4 cm. (via Wikimedia Commons, © The Estate of Horacio Coppola/Galería Jorge Mara • La Ruche, Buenos Aires).
    Grete Stern, María Elena Walsh, 1947, photograph, 24,5 x 20,5 cm. Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Buenos Aires (via Wikimedia Commons, © The Estate of Horacio Coppola/Galería Jorge Mara • La Ruche, Buenos Aires).
  • Bibliography (selected):

    Bertúa, Paula. “Devenires de una artista migrante: el destino argentino de Grete Stern.” IAHMM Revista de Historia Bonaerense, year XXIII, no. 46, 2017, pp. 6–14. issuu, https://issuu.com/revistahistoriabonaerense/docs/revistabonaerense46nuevapdfbaja__ta. Accessed 13 April 2021.

    Grete Stern: Obra fotográfica en la Argentina, exh. cat. Museo de Arte Hispanoamericano Isaac Fernández Blanco, Buenos Aires, 1995, n.p.

    Marcoci, Roxana. “Photographer Against the Grain: Through the Lens of Grete Stern.” From Bauhaus to Buenos Aires: Grete Stern and Horacio Coppola, edited by Roxana Marcoci and Sarah Hermanson Meister, exh. cat. The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2015, pp. 21–36.

    Príamo, Luis. “La obra de Grete Stern en la Argentina.” Grete Stern: Obra fotográfica en la Argentina, exh. cat. Museo de Arte Hispanoamericano Isaac Fernández Blanco, Buenos Aires, 1995, n.p.

    Word Count: 129

  • Archives and Sources:

    Archive Grete Stern, Buenos Aires.

    Word Count: 5

  • Author:
    Laura Karp Lugo
  • Exile:

    Buenos Aires, Argentina (1935)

  • Known addresses in Metromod cities:

    Av. Córdoba 363, Buenos Aires (studio); Calle Hilario Ballesteros 1054, Villa Sarmiento district, Morón (often attributed to Ramos Mejía) (residence and studio).

  • Metropolis:
    Buenos Aires
  • Laura Karp Lugo. "Grete Stern." METROMOD Archive, 2021, https://archive.metromod.net/viewer.p/69/2950/object/5138-11006983, last modified: 16-09-2021.
  • Gyula Kosice
    SculptorPoet

    Born in Kosice (Slovakia), the four-year-old future artist Gyula Kosice reached Buenos Aires by ship in 1928. He forged ties of friendship with Grete Stern, Horacio Coppola and other artists.

    Word Count: 29

    Gyula Kosice in his workshop, Fundación Kosice, Buenos Aires (© Fundación Kosice, Buenos Aires).
    Gyula Kosice and his work, Fundación Kosice, Buenos Aires (© Fundación Kosice, Buenos Aires).Gyula Kosice, Pintura Madi A-3, 1946, 64 x 39 cm. Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Buenos Aires.Gyula Kosice, Pintura Madí - Círculo Celeste, 1946, varnish on canvas, 89 x 68 cm. Museo Kosice, Buenos Aires (Photo: Max Pérez Fallik, © Fundación Kosice, Buenos Aires).Gyula Kosice, Sobre Relieve, 1948, neon gas, 65 x 37,5 x 17 cm. Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Buenos Aires (Photo: Max Pérez Fallik, © Fundación Kosice, Buenos Aires).Gyula Kosice, Homenaje a Moholy Nagy, 2009, moving water, neon gas, moving LED light, Plexiglas, Museo Kosice, Buenos Aires (Photo: Max Pérez Fallik, © Fundación Kosice, Buenos Aires).Gyula Kosice, Gota de Agua Móvil con LEDS, 2012, moving water, moving LED light, plexiglass, 71 x 52 x18 cm. Private collection (Photo: Max Pérez Fallik, © Fundación Kosice, Buenos Aires).
    Buenos Aires
    Gertrudis Chale
    Painter

    Gertrudis Chale was an Austrian painter based in Buenos Aires, where she achieved integration into the local art scene and spent years travelling throughout the region.

    Word Count: 26

    Gertrudis Chale, Bocacalle de Sarandí, 1940, tempera, 62 x 74,5 cm. Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Buenos Aires.
    Gertrudis Chale, India con collar, oil, 54 x 40 cm. Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Buenos Aires.Gertrudis Chale, Indias, 1946, ink on paper, 38 x 29,5 cm. Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Buenos Aires.Brughetti Romualdo. "Presentación de Gertrudis Chale." Correo Literario, year II, no. 23, 15 October 1944, p. 4.
    Buenos Aires
    Horacio Coppola
    FilmmakerPhotographer

    Born in Buenos Aires, Horacio Coppola is one of the photographers who represent modern photography in Argentina.

    Word Count: 17

    Horacio Coppola, "Nocturno. Calle Corrientes desde Reconquista hasta Plaza de la República (centro)", in Buenos Aires 1936: Cuarto centenario de su fundación. Visión fotográfica. Municipalidad de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires, 1936 (via Wikimedia Commons).
    Horacio Coppola, "Bar Madrid sobre la Avenida de Mayo", in Buenos Aires 1936: Cuarto centenario de su fundación. Visión fotográfica. Municipalidad de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires, 1936 (via Wikimedia Commons).Horacio Coppola, "Plaza de la República. Fiesta de la Bandera (Centro)", in Buenos Aires 1936: Cuarto centenario de su fundación. Visión fotográfica. Municipalidad de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires, 1936.Horacio Coppola, "Liquidación en una casa de trajes, Buenos Aires, esquina de Bartolomé Mitre y Maipú en 1936", in Buenos Aires 1936: Cuarto centenario de su fundación. Visión fotográfica. Municipalidad de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires, 1936 (via Wikimedia Commons).Horacio Coppola, "La Avenida Corrientes, recientemente ensanchada sobre su lado sur. Vista desde la cuadra del 1200 hacia el oeste", in Buenos Aires 1936: Cuarto centenario de su fundación. Visión fotográfica. Municipalidad de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires, 1936 (via Wikimedia Commons).
    Buenos Aires
    Luis Seoane
    PainterMuralistIllustratorLawyer

    Luis Seoane is an artist mainly known for his murals, paintings and illustrations. He spent his childhood and youth in Galicia, before settling in Buenos Aires in 1936.

    Word Count: 27

    Luis Seoane painting the mural Los Músicos at Galería Santa Fe in Buenos Aires, 1953 (Díaz Arias de Castro 2019, 24 and via Wikimedia Commons).
    Luis Seoane, Emigrantes, 1953, oil on canvas, 108 x 80 cm. Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Buenos Aires.Luis Seoane, Fascimo, cover of Unidad por la Defensa de la Cultura, no. 2, September 1937. CeDInCI, Buenos Aires.
    Buenos Aires
    María Elena Walsh
    PoetSong-writerSinger

    María Elena Walsh was an Argentine singer-songwriter, musician, writer, composer and poet who left her mark on several generations of Argentines through songs such as Manuelita and La Reina Batata.

    Word Count: 31

    Argentine writer María Elena Walsh signing copies of her books at "El Ateneo" bookstore, 1962. Archivo General de la Nación, Buenos Aires (via Wikimedia Commons).
    Grete Stern, María Elena Walsh, 1947, photograph, 24,5 x 20,5 cm. Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Buenos Aires (via Wikimedia Commons, © The Estate of Horacio Coppola/Galería Jorge Mara • La Ruche, Buenos Aires).
    Buenos Aires
    Arte Madí Photomontage
    Photomontage

    Conceived in 1947 as the logo of the Arte Madí group, this photomontage was devised by two masters of the Argentinian avant-garde, Gyula Kosice and Grete Stern.

    Word Count: 26

    Grete Stern, Photomontage for Madí, Ramos Mejía, Argentina, 1946–47, Gelatine silver print, 59.8 x 49.4 cm. (via Wikimedia Commons, © The Estate of Horacio Coppola/Galería Jorge Mara • La Ruche, Buenos Aires).
    Buenos Aires
    Buenos Aires 1936. Visión fotográfica
    Photobook

    For the commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the foundation of Buenos Aires, photographer Horacio Coppola was commissioned by its municipality to portray the city.

    Word Count: 25

    Horacio Coppola, Buenos Aires 1936: Cuarto centenario de su fundación. Visión fotográfica. Municipalidad de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires, 1936.
    Horacio Coppola, "La Avenida Corrientes, recientemente ensanchada sobre su lado sur. Vista desde la cuadra del 1200 hacia el oeste", in Buenos Aires 1936: Cuarto centenario de su fundación. Visión fotográfica. Municipalidad de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires, 1936 (via Wikimedia Commons).Horacio Coppola, "Nocturno. Calle Corrientes desde Reconquista hasta Plaza de la República (centro)", in Buenos Aires 1936: Cuarto centenario de su fundación. Visión fotográfica. Municipalidad de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires, 1936 (via Wikimedia Commons).Horacio Coppola, "Plaza de la República. Fiesta de la Bandera (Centro)", in Buenos Aires 1936: Cuarto centenario de su fundación. Visión fotográfica. Municipalidad de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires, 1936.Horacio Coppola, "Bar Madrid sobre la Avenida de Mayo", in Buenos Aires 1936: Cuarto centenario de su fundación. Visión fotográfica. Municipalidad de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires, 1936 (via Wikimedia Commons).Horacio Coppola, "Liquidación en una casa de trajes, Buenos Aires, esquina de Bartolomé Mitre y Maipú en 1936", in Buenos Aires 1936: Cuarto centenario de su fundación. Visión fotográfica. Municipalidad de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires, 1936 (via Wikimedia Commons).
    Buenos Aires
    Victoria Ocampo
    Writer

    Victoria Ocampo was one of the most influential intellectuals in Argentina. Her home became a key meeting place for exiles and locals and deeply impacted the artistic milieu.

    Word Count: 28

    "Nuestras damas intelectuales. Señora Victoria Ocampo." El Gran Mundo. Revista Social y de la Moda, year 1, no. 1, 30 April 1928.
    "La mujer y la constitución. Opina Victoria Ocampo." El Hogar, year LIV, no. 2478, 31 May, 1918, p. 18.
    Buenos Aires
    Clément Moreau
    Graphic Artist

    German-born Clément Moreau had to exile to Buenos Aires due to his political activism. There, he was well integrated into the artistic milieu and published his caricatures in many publications.

    Word Count: 31

    Photo of Clément Moreau, “Truppe 38” in Argentina, 1938 (© Schweizerisches Sozialarchiv).
    Clément Moreau, Logo in Das Andere Deutschland, no. 45, December 1941.Clément Moreau, engraving printed in Lamarque, Nydia. "Mitin de Frente Unico en París." Unidad por la Defensa de la Cultura, no. 1, January 1936.Clément Moreau, engraving printed in Lamarque, Nydia. "Mitin de Frente Unico en París." Unidad por la Defensa de la Cultura, no. 1, January 1936.Photo of Clément Moreau, “Truppe 38” in Ramos Mejía, Argentina, 1939 (© Schweizerisches Sozialarchiv).
    Buenos Aires
    Ellen Auerbach
    Photographer

    When she arrived in New York in 1937, the German-born photographer Ellen Auerbach (formerly Rosenberg) had already passed through exile stations in Palestine and Great Britain.

    Word Count: 25

    Ellen Auerbach, Selbstportrait, cropped detail (Ellen Auerbach auf einer Liege sitzend, sich selbst im Spiegel fotografierend), New York 1950 (©Akademie der Künste, Berlin / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2021).
    Ellen Auerbach, Selbstportrait. (Ellen Auerbach auf einer Liege sitzend, sich selbst im Spiegel fotografierend), New York 1950 (©Akademie der Künste, Berlin / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2021).Cover of Life magazine, with image Two Years Old by Ellen Auerbach, Life, 28 November 1938 (Photo: Helene Roth).The dancer Renate Schottelius photographed by Ellen Auerbach ( "Ellen Auerbach - Robert Mann Gallery" by Erika_Herzog is licensed under CC BY 2.0).
    New York
    Annemarie Heinrich
    Photographer

    Annemarie Heinrich is one of the photographers that represent modern photography in Argentina, she co-founded the artistic group La Carpeta de los Diez (The Folder of the Ten) in 1953.

    Word Count: 29

    Annemarie Heinrich, Autorretrato con esfera, 1945, Archive Annemarie Heinrich, Buenos Aires (© Archive Annemarie Heinrich, Buenos Aires).
    Ursula Heinrich, Annemarie Heinrich, 1940, Archive Annemarie Heinrich, Buenos Aires (© Archive Annemarie Heinrich, Buenos Aires).Annemarie Heinrich, Autorretrato con cortina, 1943, Archive Annemarie Heinrich, Buenos Aires (© Archive Annemarie Heinrich, Buenos Aires).Annemarie Heinrich, Autorretrato con esfera 3, 1945, Archive Annemarie Heinrich, Buenos Aires (© Archive Annemarie Heinrich, Buenos Aires).Annemarie Heinrich, Self-Portrait with Camera and Mirror Sphere, c. 1945, Linhoff camera, Afga negative, 9 x 12 cm. (Wechsler 2015, 13, © Archive Annemarie Heinrich, Buenos Aires).A page from the Folder of the Ten (© Archive Annemarie Heinrich, Buenos Aires).
    Buenos Aires
    Sur
    Magazine

    In 1931, Victoria Ocampo founded Sur, a literary magazine and publishing house aligned with the anti-fascist cause, which was to become a major hub for intellectual exchanges in Buenos Aires.

    Word Count: 29

    Cover of Sur, no. 307, July–August 1967.
    Buenos Aires