© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
2017.8
People
Arno Fischer, German (Berlin, Germany 1927 - 2011 Neustrelitz, Germany)
Title
West Berlin 1956
Other Titles
Original Language Title: Westberlin 1956
Classification
Photographs
Work Type
photograph
Date
1956
Culture
German
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Gelatin silver print
Technique
Gelatin silver print
Dimensions
image: 16.5 × 25.4 cm (6 1/2 × 10 in.)
sheet (irregular): 26.4 × 40 cm (10 3/8 × 15 3/4 in.)
Provenance
[Kicken Berlin], sold; to the Busch-Reisinger Museum, 2016.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Busch-Reisinger Museum, Purchase through the generosity of David and Lisa Rich
Accession Year
2017
Object Number
2017.8
Division
Modern and Contemporary Art
Contact
am_moderncontemporary@harvard.edu
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Descriptions

Label Text: Inventur—Art in Germany, 1943–55 , written 2018
Considered the father of East German street photography, Fischer captured in Situation Berlin (1953–1960) the everyday goings-on and social disparities in the bifurcated capital. The photographs reveal differences between the young German Democratic Republic and the capitalist culture of the Federal Republic, as exemplified in the 1958 scene of female shoppers absorbed by a commercial window arcade. Yet despite the simple designations “West Berlin” or “East Berlin,” the photographs reveal a shared landscape still marred by the war, a defacement evoked by the scratches on the artist’s untouched print West Berlin 1956. In the series, Berliners gaze in different directions while passing each other on the street or are isolated at the liminal space between inside and out, demonstrating the alienation of individuals in the postwar period. Following the official rejection of the publication of the series and the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961, Fischer shifted his practice to fashion photography and photojournalism.

Publication History

Lynette Roth and Ilka Voermann, Inventur—Art in Germany, 1943–55, exh. cat., Harvard Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 2018), pp. 406-408, back cover (detail), cat. no. 60.1, 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