Grete Stern (Argentinian, born Germany, 1904–1999)
Gelatin silver print
15 7/8 x 19 1/2 in. (40.4 x 49.4 cm)
Twentieth-Century Photography Fund, 2012 (2012.11)
Grete Stern is best known as half of Foto Ringl + Pit, the innovative advertising and design studio she founded in Berlin in 1929 with her fellow Bauhaus alumna Ellen Auerbach. Fleeing the rise of Nazism in 1933, Stern made her way to Buenos Aires, where she continued her work as a photographer and graphic designer. In 1948 the popular Argentine women's magazine Idilio commissioned Stern to create a series of photomontages to accompany a weekly column called "Psychoanalysis Will Help You" which invited readers to submit their dreams for analysis. Over the course of three years Stern created 140 photomontages for Idilio, translating the unconscious fears and desires of the magazine's predominantly female readership into witty images that nimbly expose the links between desire, domesticity, and feminine identity. In The Accused, one of two vintage prints acquired by the Museum, a hostile horde of home furnishings pursues a barefoot young woman down a city street as a cluster of men and women look on with stern disapproval. In the other print, Electrical Appliances for the Home, an elegantly dressed Lilliputian woman holds up a lampshade as a giant masculine hand reaches into the frame to turn her on.