Ernst Scheel German

Not on view

Seen from below, the glimmering interior of the Tiefstack gas tank exudes the festive atmosphere of a circus tent. Once conspicuous on the Hamburg skyline, the huge tank is here transformed. By peering inside and inverting his perspective, Ernst Scheel followed the New Vision precept to reframe the familiar world: “We new photographers are no longer interested in beautiful subjects,” he explained. “On the contrary, we seek to reveal the charms of everyday objects.” Scheel collaborated often with Hamburg’s architectural avant-garde, but until recently, his archive was presumed lost amid Allied air raids on the city. This lavish, oversized print—a rare surviving example of Scheel’s high style—reveals a luminous treatment of texture and shadow to complement the photographer’s radical eye.

Gasometer, Ernst Scheel (German, 1903–1980), Gelatin silver print

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