British photographic history

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Online exhibition: The Lost Photographs of Gerty Simon

The Wiener Holocaust Library has made available an online version of its 2019 exhibition of Gerty Simon's life and work Gerty (Gertrud) Simon (1887-1970) was a German-Jewish photographer renowned in the 1920s and 1930s for her portraits of important political and artistic figures in Weimar Berlin and interwar London. In the 1930s, as a refugee from Nazism in Britain, Simon rapidly re-established her studio. She was soon photographing notable personalities from British public and cultural life to great acclaim. 

In 1934, Gerty Simon was described as the 'most brilliant and original of Berlin photographers'. But since Simon stopped taking professional photographs in the late 1930s, her career has been forgotten.

In 2016, The Wiener Holocaust Library received a large number of Gerty Simon's original prints of portraits taken in Berlin and London from the estate of her son Bernard (Bernd), along with documents relating to her life and work. In 2019, The Wiener Holocaust Library staged an exhibition on Gerty Simon's life and work featuring many of her works, including 18 original prints.

In 2021, a version of the exhibition will be shown at Villa Liebermann, where, for the first time in 80 years, the work of this pioneering photographer will be brought to public attention in Berlin.

Image: Gerty Simon, self-portrait montage, Berlin, c. 1925-1932.

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