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Editions Noir sur Blanc / Editions du Musée de l'Elysée
Publication date : 2016/02/18
Weight 810 g / Dimensions 21.5 x 27.7 cm / 148 pages / fr
Werner Bischof (1916-1954) is one of the most talented Swiss photographers of the 20th century, a member of the Magnum Agency since 1948. Bischof studied at the School of Applied Arts in Zurich and in 1933 joined the photography class directed by Hans Finsler, which made it one of the most renowned of the 1930s. Bischof, while following the very demanding teaching of the School, shows much creativity and independence. He opened his studio in 1936, working for fashion and the press, while pursuing personal research. He was quickly spotted by the editor of the art and culture magazine Du, Arnold Kübler, who gave him his first commissions.
Until 1945, when the borders opened and allowed him to cross a devastated Europe, Bischof was forced to stay in Switzerland.
Helvetica reveals Bischof’s Swiss work, based in particular on the extraordinary contact sheets he produced between 1933 and 1945, which have not been published to date.
The choice of contact sheets and photographs was made from the photographer’s archives. It allows us to understand his influences, his experiments with light, his taste in the 1930s for abstraction and form. From fashion to landscape, from nudes to sports events, the book allows us to follow Bischof’s original work, his influences and his sense of aesthetics, before he became an international reference for his reportage work in Europe, Asia and the Americas in the post-war years.