© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
Ruth Hallensleben, German (Cologne, Germany 1898 - 1977 Cologne, Germany)
Untitled (Advertising Photograph of Wallpaper by Pickhardt & Siebert, Gummersbach)
Other Titles
Original Language Title: Ohne Titel (Werbefotografie für Tapeten von Pickhardt & Siebert, Gummersbach)
Former Title: Wallpaper by Pickhardt & Siebert, Gummersbach
Work Type
Physical Descriptions
Gelatin silver print
sheet: 23.3 x 17.7 cm (9 3/16 x 6 15/16 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • stamp: on verso at u.r., blue ink, German: Aufnahme gesetzl. geschützt, // Sammelbezeichnung // nicht gestattet // Jedesmalige Reproduktion // nur mit Genehmigung und // Autorenangabe: // Ruth Hallensleben Köln
  • stamp: on verso at u.r., blue ink, German: Ruth Hallensleben GDL // Lichtbildwerkstätte // Wiehl (Bez. Köln)
  • inscription: on verso at l.r., graphite, handwritten: RK
  • inscription: on verso at l.r., graphite, handwritten: P8306104
The Cultural Council in the Federation of German Industry, gift; Harvard University Art Museums, 1991
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Busch-Reisinger Museum, Gift of The Cultural Council in the Federation of German Industry
Accession Year
Object Number
Modern and Contemporary Art
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Label Text: Inventur—Art in Germany, 1943–55 , written 2018
Staged like shop windows, Hallensleben’s advertisements for the Pickhardt & Siebert wallpaper company provide a glimpse into the consumer demands and desires of the West German “economic miracle.” Commodities of middle-class consumption like the Braun SK 1 radio function as props animated by the cheery optimism of their surrounding wallpaper backdrops. Depicting a broad range of imagery, the wallpaper patterns are by turns organic, abstract, and illustrative—an aesthetic pluralism to suit varying tastes within a booming postwar market of domestic consumption. These advertisements are unusual for Hallensleben, primarily known for her photographs of the colossal industrial factories in Germany’s Ruhr region. The wallpapers being advertised, however, are part of a larger trend of “artist wallpapers” in the 1950s. The specific artists responsible for the designs shown here are not readily identifiable, but their ornamental patterning continued an earlier Bauhaus commitment to collaboration between artists and industry that was energetically revived in West Germany during the mid-1950s.

Publication History

Lynette Roth and Ilka Voermann, Inventur—Art in Germany, 1943–55, exh. cat., Harvard Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 2018), pp. 393-395, cat. no. 57.2, ill. (color)

Exhibition History

Inventur—Art in Germany, 1943–55, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 02/09/2018 - 06/03/2018

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Modern and Contemporary Art at am_moderncontemporary@harvard.edu