Marianne Breslauer was a young photographer in Weimar Germany who captured the essence of life in an era coming to a close. She knew Man Ray, Marlene Dietrich and Oskar Kokoschka, and later, in Switzerland, ran one of the most significant art dealerships of the time. Breslauer’s granddaughter Christina Feilchenfeldt came to Jewish Book Week from Berlin to share a rarely told story of art and the avant-garde.
In just 10 years, Marianne Breslauer‘s career had marked her out as an ambitious photojournalist of the late Weimar Republic, before emigration and the outbreak of World War Two brought this auspicious beginning to an abrupt halt.
Man Ray invited her to use his Paris studio. Soon, attracted by her scenes of the city, illustrated German newspapers commissioned her, she travelled widely, and photographed anyone who was anyone in the late 1920s Berlin art world.
Marianne Breslauer Photographs, by art historians Christina Feilchenfeldt and Kathrin Beer, includes portraits and street scenes of Paris, Berlin and Palestine which express a distinctive atmosphere and compositional ingenuity.
A memoir, available in German as Bilder Meines Lebens, takes Breslauer’s story forward to the war years and her later life running the Zurich art gallery founded by her husband, Walter Feilchenfeldt.
Christina Feilchenfeldt is a freelance art historian living and working in Berlin.
Feilchenfeldt photo credit: Elmer de Haas