During the interwar period, the majority of photographic studios in Vienna and Berlin were run by Jewish women. Many had attended progressive graphic arts schools, obtaining qualifications that enabled them to professionalise as portrait photographers.
The influence of the 1920s German Bauhaus and ‘new objectivity’ (Neue Sachlichkeit) movements can be seen in their images. Dynamically posed, closely cropped compositions emphasise strong lines and bold forms. The simple backdrops and minimum use of props enable a candid view of the sitter. This approach stands in marked contrast to conventional British society portraiture of the era, in which sitters were posed to signal social status.
Portrait of Danny Kaye, date unknown
©Lotte Meitner-Graf archive