A Collection of Self-Portraits by Gertrud Arndt (1930s)

Gertrud Arndt (1903 – 2000) was a photographer associated with the Bauhaus movement. She is remembered for her pioneering series of self-portraits from around 1930.

Over the five years she captured herself and her friends in various styles, costumes and settings in the series known as Maskenportäts (Masked Portraits). Although at the time Arndt refused to attribute any deep artistic meaning to her photographs, they were imaginative and provocative. Through her costumes, Arndt created playful reinterpretations of such feminine tropes as the widow, socialite, and a little girl.

The viewer is confronted with Arndt head on, unable to ignore the expression communicated by her face and the accessories that framed it. In an interview as a nonagenarian, Arndt told Sabina Leßmann, “I am simply interested in the face, what does one make from a face? There you only need to open your eyes wide and already you are someone else. Isn’t that true?”. Today Arndt is considered to be a pioneer of female self-portraiture, her work echoing in that of Cindy Sherman and Sophie Calle.

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Gertrud Arndt, self-portrait via

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Self Portrait© Gertrud Arndt via

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Gertrud Arndt, Maskenportrait Nr. 29, via

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Gertrud Arndt, Maskenfoto, um 1930 Bauhaus-Archiv Berlin © VG Bild‐Kunst, Bonn 2016 via

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Mask portrait No. 131 by Gertrud Arndt, 1930 via

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