THE MUSEU DE ARTE DE SÃO PAULO EXHIBITS GETRUDES ALTSCHUL: FILIGREE
Gertrudes Altschul (1904–1962) was a pioneering figure in Brazilian modernist photography. Despite being acknowledged in the field in Brazil, her work is known only in specialized circles, having been scantly published and exhibited—something that this exhibition, the first in a museum, and its publication intend to rectify.
Of Jewish origin, Altschul migrated to Brazil in 1939 from her native Berlin with her husband, Leon Altschul (1890–1975), fleeing the Nazi regime. They settled in São Paulo, where she divided her time between photography and the production of flowers for hats in a factory they managed.
At the end of the 1940s, she approached the famous Foto Cine Clube Bandeirante (FCCB) in São Paulo, a group that gathered photographers aligned with the movement known as the Escola Paulista [Paulista School], a cornerstone of modern photography in Brazil. After she began attending FCCB meetings and submitting her photographs for evaluation by members, Altschul was accepted in 1952 as a member, one of the very few women in the group.
Altschul’s photographic work was in tune with the language of Brazilian modern photography, which sought to break away from the classic principles of composition by using abstract and figurative geometric constructions, while experimenting with light, shadow, lines, rhythms, planes as well as development and printing photo processes. In this context, Altschul’s themes concentrated on Brazilian modernist architecture and botanical motifs, primarily leaves, as well as everyday objects in different scales, photographic still lives of sorts.
The exhibition, which borrows its title from Filigrana [Filigree], one of Altschul’s most celebrated photographs, presents 62 vintage photographs, almost all of her entire production. The works are grouped into major themes: botany, architecture and still lifes. There are also some images of people, something less frequently explored by Altschul.
Gertrudes Altschul: Filigree is curated by Adriano Pedrosa, artistic director, and Tomás Toledo, chief curator, MASP.
Until January, 2022
MASP - Museu de Arte de São Paulo Assis Chateaubriand
Avenida Paulista, 1578
São Paulo-SP, Brazil