Between the world wars, Renger-Patzsch was a major champion of straight photography in Germany and an advocate for a modern aesthetic style known as Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity). Known for his tightly cropped, sharply focused images of plants, animals, landscapes, and industrial subjects, he believed that photography’s chief value lay in its ability to render with absolute precision the texture and detail of physical objects. Critics praised the “absolute realism” of his photography, particularly its capacity to reveal “nature more intensely than nature reveals herself.” This quiet study of a sapling outlined against a landscape with melting snow is one of Renger-Patzsch’s most celebrated images—a harbinger of regeneration and a stunning example of photography’s crystalline power of description.
Inscription: Artist's stamp in black ink on print, verso TR: "A. RENGER-PATZSCH // WAMEL-DORF ÜBER SOEST L.W. [outlined with rectangle]"; inscribed in pencil on print, verso TC: "L148 // Das Bäŭmchen"
Albert Renger-Patzsch to private collector, 1957; (Van Ham Kunstauktionen, Cologne, June 14, 2008, lot 583); Private collection, Germany
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Johnson Gallery, Selections from the Collection 63," November 19, 2013–March 2, 2014.
Wilde, Ann, Jürgen Wilde, and Thomas Weski, ed. Albert Renger-Patzch: Photographer of Objectivity. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1998. no. 91.