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Albert Renger-Patzsch

1897 Würzburg
1966 Wamel

Albert Renger-Patsch, born in Würzburg on June 22, 1897, was the co-founder and mastermind behind the photographic movement "New Objectivity" in Germany.
Renger-Patsch began to study chemistry in Dresden after his military service in World War I; however, he broke off his studies to take a position in 1922 as director of the Picture Archive of the Folkwang Publishing Company in Hagen. After brief work-related stops along the way in Berlin and Kronstadt, he returned to Folkwang, and there he published his own first book of photographs in 1925.
In the same year, he left the publisher in order to establish himself in Bad Harzburg as an independent photographer.
In 1927, Albert Renger-Patsch had his first larger exhibit in Lübeck, and in 1928, his book "Die Welt ist schön" [The World is Beautiful] appeared, a book that broke ground for the "New Objectivity" movement. His photographs are characterized stylistically through their precise objectivity and formal sharpness.
Albert Renger-Patsch turned strictly away from the "romanticizing" art photography of his time and demanded absolute fidelity to the object being photographed, precise illumination of the subjects, accuracy of detail, and perfect control of the optical and chemical processes. According to Albert Renger-Patsch, the point is "to create photographs with the resources of photography that can endure by means of their photographic qualities without borrowing from art".
Many pictures in "Die Welt ist schön" thematize the industrial culture of the pre-war era. Fascination with the rational power of technology and machines is a typical characteristic of the "New Objectivity" movement. Among its German representatives, one can also name August Sander and Karl Blossfeld.
In the following years, Renger-Patsch worked in a studio in the Folkwang-Museum Essen, he participated in the exhibit "Film and Foto" in Stuttgart, and he produced numerous photographs of industrial and city landscapes. Beginning in 1933, he taught for one year at the Folkwang School and worked on assignments for businesses such as for example the Schott Glassworks in Jena.
During World War II, a sizeable portion of his photo archive was destroyed by bombs. After 1944, Renger-Patsch lived in Wamel near Soest, where he published several volumes of photographs.
Albert Renger-Patsch died in Wamel on September 27, 1966.

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