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

European Cities by Martin Hürlimann

Martin Hürlimann (1897 in Zürich – 1984) was a Swiss publisher, better known in the English speaking world as a photographer. Following successful completion, at Frauenfeld, of his school career, Hürlimann went on to study History, German literature and Philosophy at Zürich, Leipzig and Berlin universities.

In 1929 Hürlimann founded the newspaper “Atlantis”, based in Berlin and specialising in international travel and related themes. In 1930 he founded “Atlantis Verlag”, a publishing house, taking over from Ernest Wasmuth publication of the “Orbis Terrarum” series of books.

His photographic work was published in a number of books. Western European cities were a common theme, but he also photographed Ceylon and Southeast Asia.

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Photogravure of the Zwinger palace of Dresden, Germany (Deutschland). The palace is noted for its Baroque architecture. The building was completed in 1728, and served as a library and exhibition gallery. Photograph by Martin Hürlimann, 1934 via

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Photogravure of the old town house in Potsdam, Germany (Deutschland). It was constructed by Jan Bouman in 1755. A sculpture of Atlas holding the world sits on top of the building. Photograph by Martin Hürlimann, 1934 via

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Photogravure of the west facade of the medieval Lichfield Cathedral in Lichfield, England. Photograph by Martin Hürlimann, 1935 via

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The pavilion in the garden of the Abbey of Echternach in Luxembourg. Photograph by Martin Hürlimann and Horst Hanck-Jentsch, 1932 via

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Photogravure of St. Mark’s Square (Piazza San Marco) with the Doge’s Palace in Venice, Italy. Photograph by Martin Hürlimann, 1935 via

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The Cathedral of Saint Mary of Bayonne or the Cathedral of Our Lady of Bayonne commonly known as Bayonne Cathedral, France. Photograph by Martin Hürlimann, 1927 via