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Elisabeth Hase

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Elisabeth Hase self portrait

1905  - 1991

Elisabeth Hase was a German photographer. She came to Frankfurt/Main at the famous Art Academy, the later Städelschule, in the year 1924. For five years she studied typography and graphic design with renowned teachers like Willi Baumeister and Paul Renner. Early on she received several awards - some of them from Paris - for her paper designs and collages.

Early she decided to become a photographer and one of her first direct assignments was to compile a photographic inventory of the China Institute at Frankfurt University. Hase also produced Bauhaus style architecture shots for the magazine “Das Neue Frankfurt” and documentations of modern housing developments by Ferdinand Kramer.

By 1933 assignments became a political issue and Elisabeth Hase set up a studio of her own to stay as independent as possible. Her focus was mainly on timeless motives such as still lives, plants, dolls, people and especially self portraits. She made her own person the object of photographic sequences that tell a story in stills. Cooperations with agencies like Holland Press Service or Schostal in Vienna and Paris made international publication of her work possible.

The archives of Elisabeth Hase survived the air raids on Frankfurt in 1944. Vintages, glass and film negatives and even most documents could be saved. The cameras and the technical equipment were, however, lost. It was only with the help of emigrated friends who sent her a camera and film material via the US Army that Hase could take up her work again soon after the war. Relentlessly she captured pictures of landmarks and shambles and documented the rebuilding of historically important buildings like the Paulskirche.

From 1948 on the return of everyday life to post war Germany was her central topic. Her artistic work was meanwhile directed mainly to the imagery of plants and flowers, exploring and highlighting their specific characters in color photography.

In her last years Hase began building scenes out of packaging material and throw-away things like wrappings. The titles of these then photographed installations hint at the suppressed experiences of her generation. Elisabeth Hase died at the age of 86 in Frankfurt/Main.

You will find selected vintages of E. Hase in the Folkwang Museum Essen (Fotografische Sammlung), Albertina Wien, Bauhaus Archive Berlin (estate of Walter Gropius) and in private collections.