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Gisèle Freund. Photographic scenes and portraits 22.10.2015-24.01.2016 Gisèle Freund. Photographic scenes and portraits

The colour portraits of the 20th-century artists created by Gisele Freund (1908-2000) after her escape from Berlin to Paris in 1933, and throughout her travels spanning over the decades, have long been among the icons of photography. The exhibition presents a diverse perspective of this famous photographic oeuvre.

Gisèle Freund (1908-2000) was one of the most famous photographers of the 20th century. Her colour portraits of writers and artists such as James Joyce, Simone de Beauvoir, Virginia Woolf and Frida Kahlo have long achieved iconic status.

The exhibition opens a new perspective on a seemingly familiar work by showing the portrait photographer as she always wanted to be seen: as a photo-journalist. The exhibition reveals how, in the work of Gisèle Freund, the creation of her portraits was connected to the documentation of the working and living environment of those photographed. Together with large portraits, there are also many unpublished photographs of the celebrities in their everyday lives.

The exhibition, curated by Janos Frecot and Gabriele Kostas, presents 280 colour and black-and-white photographs in 14 chapters. It is the first time that Gisèle Freund's colour portraits have been digitally processed with state-of-the-art technology so that the images can be seen anew in their original colourfulness.


All of the portraits that Gisèle Freund made of Walter Benjamin will also be shown for the first time. A special chapter is devoted to the relationship between the two immigrants, presenting the facsimiles of letters and texts from Walter Benjamin Archive.

All the photographs displayed at the exhibition are new prints produced by Réunion des musées nationaux - Grand Palais (RNM-GP) in Paris and Nova-Concept in Berlin based on slides, negatives and the original works from the Gisèle Freund Archives located at the IMEC in Paris. More than fifty selected colour photographs have been digitized according to the latest technological standards in order to achieve colours which are as close as possible to the original.

The exhibition has been organized by Akademie der Künste in Berlin, Hamburger Stiftung zur Förderung von Wissenschaft und Kultur foundation and the IMEC – L'Institut Mémoires de l'édition contemporaine in Paris.

The Main Building

al. 3 Maja 1 Gallery of 20th-century Polish Art, second floor
  • Monday: closed
  • Tues - Sat: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
  • Sunday: 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Portraits by Gisèle Freund
Portraits by Gisèle Freund
Portraits by Gisèle Freund
Walter Benjamin
Portraits by Gisèle Freund
Portraits by Gisèle Freund
Portraits by Gisèle Freund
/ photo by Mateusz Szczypiński - Photography Studio, NMK
The exhibition
/ photo by Mateusz Szczypiński - Photography Studio, NMK
The exhibition
/ photo by Mateusz Szczypiński - Photography Studio, NMK
The exhibition
/ photo by Mateusz Szczypiński - Photography Studio, NMK
The exhibition
/ photo by Mateusz Szczypiński - Photography Studio, NMK
The exhibition
/ photo by Mateusz Szczypiński - Photography Studio, NMK
The exhibition
/ photo by Mateusz Szczypiński - Photography Studio, NMK
The exhibition
/ photo by Mateusz Szczypiński - Photography Studio, NMK
The exhibition
/ photo by Mateusz Szczypiński - Photography Studio, NMK
The exhibition
/ photo by Mateusz Szczypiński - Photography Studio, NMK
The exhibition
/ photo by Mateusz Szczypiński - Photography Studio, NMK
The exhibition
/ photo by Mateusz Szczypiński - Photography Studio, NMK
The exhibition
/ photo by Mateusz Szczypiński - Photography Studio, NMK
The exhibition
/ photo by Mateusz Szczypiński - Photography Studio, NMK
The exhibition
Portraits by Gisèle Freund
Portraits by Gisèle Freund
The exhibition
The exhibition "Gisèle Freund"

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