Foto: Modernity in Central Europe, 1918-1945

June 10 – September 3, 2007

West Building, Ground Floor, Inner Tier Galleries G30 through G34


Overview: 179 photographs, collages, and volumes from private and public collections in Europe and the United States were on view in the exhibition, which explored the cultural impact of photography in Austria, Czechoslovakia, Germany, Hungary, and Poland in the period between World War I and the end of World War II. The presentation of works by more than 100 photographers, including László Moholy-Nagy and Hannah Höch, was organized thematically in nine sections: the cut-and-paste world, recovering from war, laboratories and classrooms, modern living, new women—new men, the spread of surrealism, activist documents, land without a name, and the cut-and-paste world: war returns.

Sunday lectures in June featured presentations on art in central Europe. History and the New Photography, a public symposium, was held on June 23. Weekday and Sunday concerts in June and July featured works by Hungarian and other central European composers. Two film series were presented in association with the exhibition: Modernity and Tradition: Film in Interwar Central Europe was shown from June 24 through September 2; Sonja Simonyi was curator of the series. Czech Modernism 1920–1940 was presented from May 12 through June 17. Documentary films on topics related to the exhibition were shown from June 30 through September 3.

Organization: The exhibition was organized by the National Gallery of Art, Washington. Matthew S. Witkovsky, assistant curator of photographs, was curator.

Sponsor: The exhibition was sponsored by the Central Bank of Hungary and was made possible by the Trellis Fund. Additional support was provided by the Trust for Mutual Understanding, the Marlene Nathan Meyerson Family Foundation, and The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, Inc. The exhibition catalogue was published with assistance of The Getty Foundation. The brochure was supported by Aaron and Barbara Levine.

Attendance: 54,605

Catalog: Foto: Modernity in Central Europe, 1918–1945, by Matthew S. Witkovsky, with an introduction by Peter Demetz. Washington DC: National Gallery of Art, in association with Thames and Hudson, 2007.

Brochure: Foto: Modernity in Central Europe, 1918–1945, by Matthew S. Witkovsky. New York: Thames & Hudson, 2007.

Other Venues: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, October 12, 2007–January 13, 2008
The Milwaukee Art Museum, February 9–May 4, 2008
The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, June 7–August 31, 2008

Image: Gyula Pap, Lowlands, c. 1925, gelatin silver print, Patrons' Permanent Fund, 2004.72.7