Umbo. Photographer

Works 1926–1956

Berlinische Galerie

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Umbo, Ohne Titel (Ruth. Die Hand), um 1926, 2016 erworben mit Mitteln der Beauftragten der Bundesregierung für Kultur und Medien © Phyllis Umbehr/Galerie Kicken Berlin/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2020, Repro: Anja E. Witte © Phyllis Umbehr/Galerie Kicken/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2020, Repro: A. E. Witte

Umbo (Otto Umbehr) symbolises a kind of “big bang” in modern photography of 1920s – as art historian Herbert Moldering put it during his retrospective of the artist in 1995. With his rich imagination and pleasure in experiment, Umbo was a key influence in New Vision (Neues Sehen). He is credited with inventing the image of New Woman, the new streetscape and photographic reportage in general. His name is associated with hauling the “Wandervögel” youth movement out of the Wilhelmine Period and into the early Bauhaus, and also with Berlin sprouting wings as a media metropolis. Umbo is, besides, the young artist plagued by selfdoubt who shot to fame almost overnight thanks to encouragement from his Bauhaus teacher Johannes Itten and his artist friend Paul Citroen, and yet he always remained a bohemian on an eternal quest.

With a selection of about 200 works and numerous documents from the estate of the artist born under the name Otto Maximilian Umbehr (1902–1980), the Berlinische Galerie follows the Sprengel Museum in Hanover in presenting this first major retrospective in 24 years. The exhibition also celebrates our acquisition of the Umbo estate, made possible in 2016 together with partners Bauhaus Dessau and Sprengel Museum Hannover thanks to financial support from a number of benefactors (Kulturstiftung der Länder, Die Beauftragte der Bundesregierung für Kultur und Medien, Ernst von Siemens Kunststiftung, LOTTO-Stiftung Berlin, et al.).

An exhibition of the Sprengel Museum Hannover in collaboration with the Berlinische Galerie and Bauhaus Dessau Foundation.The exhibition has been generously supported by the Sparkassen-Kulturfonds des Deutschen Sparkassen- und Giroverbandes and the Förderverein Berlinische Galerie e.V.

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