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Dents

Ringl and Pit (German, active 1930–1933)

Artist:
Grete Stern (Argentinian, born Germany, 1904–1999)
Artist:
Ellen Auerbach (German, Karlsruhe 1906–2004 New York)
Date:
ca. 1934
Medium:
Gelatin silver print
Dimensions:
35.3 x 22.7 cm (13 7/8 x 8 15/16 in.)
Classification:
Photographs
Credit Line:
Ford Motor Company Collection, Gift of Ford Motor Company and John C. Waddell, 1987
Accession Number:
1987.1100.206
Rights and Reproduction:
©2010 VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
  • Description

    Ringl and Pit were the childhood nicknames of Grete Stern (Ringl) and Ellen Auerbach (Pit). Together, they established a photography studio in 1930 in Berlin. Both studied privately with Walter Peterhans, a photography instructor at the Bauhaus, whose promulgation of a highly rationalized style of advertising photography--one that signified "machine made" in its emphasis on sleek form and graphic design--was proposed as a solution to the question of art's role in industrial society.
    "Dents," an advertisement for an unknown product, was made in England, where Stern and Auerbach (both Jewish) emigrated in 1933. In their representation of the "modern woman," a new social type emerging out of the political upheaval of the Weimar Republic, the duo employed visual strategies subversive to traditional conceptions of woman. Often using mannequins, wigs, and other symbols of femininity, Stern and Auerbach worked to question the artifice and masquerade of feminine identity.

    [KM; Johnson Gallery XXVI]

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Inscription: Signed in ink on print, verso, C: "Grete Stern"; inscribed in pencil on print, verso, UC; UR; LL; LC: "61 [encircled]"; "9. [encircled]"; "SG/2505/0"; "61 [encircled, upside down]"; inscribed in ink on print, verso, LL [sideways]: "#60 [crossed out in pencil] // [inscribed in pencil] R + P // Foto, Prop. G.S. // London 1934"; marked in pencil on print, verso, UC: [arrow toward upper edge]

  • Provenance

    [Sander Gallery to Waddell, April 6, 1984]; John C. Waddell.

  • Notes

    According to Ellen Auerbach, "Dents" was made in England after both photographers had emigrated from Germany in 1933. Sander Catalogue gives title and date "Dents and Gloves," 1934, and notes that Berlin studio of Ringl + Pit was in operation only from 1931-33.

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