Ilse Bing: Queen of the Leica
April 5-June 9
Ilse Bing: Queen of the Leica celebrates the great woman photographer Ilse Bing (1899 – 1998) in an exhibition composed entirely of her sumptuous and rare vintage prints. Born in Frankfurt, Germany, Bing studied math and art history before picking up a camera, decamping to Paris, and launching a photographic career that would last three decades. “The instant I set foot in Paris, I knew I was in the atmosphere that suited me,” she wrote. “I breathed the very air of Paris and felt ready to flourish.”
Even before Henri Cartier-Bresson adopted it, Bing’s camera of choice for its portability, speed, and ability to take 36 exposures was the miniature Leica. She was soon nicknamed the “Queen of the Leica.” Bing immersed herself in Paris’s cultural milieu, interacting with painters like Pavel Tchelitchew as well as fashionistas Elsa Schiaparelli and Carmel Snow, who hired her to shoot for Harper’s Bazaar.
This exhibition perfectly captures the mood of 1930s Paris and is highlighted by a unique portfolio documenting the Can-Can dancers at the notorious Moulin Rouge, as well as Bing’s iconic Self-Portrait with Leica, 1931. Also featured is her evocative New York City work taken in 1936 during a trip to meet the gallerist Julien Levy.
The Art Museum, University of Saint Joseph is the first venue for this exhibition, which was organized by art2art Circulating Exhibitions. All works are from the collection of Michael Mattis and Judith Hochberg.