National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of Untitled Marianne Brandt (artist)
German, 1893 - 1983
Untitled, 1930
photomontage on paper
Overall: 65 x 50.1 cm (25 9/16 x 19 3/4 in.) framed: 89.2 x 74 x 4.1 cm (35 1/8 x 29 1/8 x 1 5/8 in.)
Gift of Pepita Milmore Memorial Fund, R. K. Mellon Family Foundation, and Thomas Walther
2005.21.1
Not on View
From the Tour: Selected Photographs from the Collection
Object 12 of 15

Born Marianne Liebe in Chemnitz, Germany, Marianne Brandt studied painting and sculpture in nearby Weimar before entering the Bauhaus in 1923. There she studied with Joseph Albers, Wassily Kandinsky, and Paul Klee, but she was most strongly influenced by László Moholy-Nagy. She subsequently became an assistant professor at the Bauhaus, teaching in the metal workshop. But under Moholy-Nagy's tutelage, she also began to take photographs and make photomontages. She exhibited her photographs throughout the 1920s, most notably at the Film und Foto exhibition in 1929.

Brandt's photomontages are larger and more elaborate than those of Moholy-Nagy. As in this work, she often included clippings from newspapers and film magazines as a means of commenting on current social and political events. Here, a reproduction of a famous photograph of Marlene Dietrich waving goodbye to Germany as she set sail on the Bremen for American helps date the work to 1930. (Although Dietrich left Germany to further her career, she recognized the growing Nazi threat and refused all offers to work under the Nazi regime.) That reproduction along with the ominous imagery of planes flying into New York skyscrapers, an industrialist in chains, and smoke spewing from both a cigarette and a motorcycle make this work a powerful statement on the rising economic and political tensions of the time.

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