Image above: © Annemarie Heinrich, "Desnudo XXIV (Nude 24)," 1938. / courtesy of Nailya Alexander Gallery
Nailya Alexander Gallery presented Annemarie Heinrich: Glamour and Modernity in Buenos Aires, the photographer’s first exhibition in New York. The show, recently named by the Wall Street Journal as one of its "Shows to See in 2016," opened Thursday, January 7 at 41 East 57th Street, Suite 704, and runs through Thursday, March 3. Gallery hours are 11 AM – 6 PM, Tuesday through Saturday, and by appointment.
Images above: © Sang Ha Park, from the opening reception
Annemarie Heinrich was born in 1912 in Darmstadt, Germany. Her father, a concert violinist and socialist who feared another war in Europe, moved the family to Argentina in 1926. Before settling on photography, Annemarie studied dance, music, and scenography, which had a great effect on the lighting and composition of her later work and served as an entrée into the worlds of art and entertainment.
Heinrich began her career as an apprentice to European émigré photographers. In 1930, at the age of eighteen, she set up her first studio in Buenos Aires. Surrounded by artists of every discipline – celebrities, film and radio stars, opera singers, ballerinas, tango dancers, and writers – Heinrich was central to the development and popularization of a new kind of photograph: the celebrity portrait. As Juan Travnik writes in Una cuerpo, una luz, un reflejo (Ediciones Larivière, 2015), “Annemarie Heinrich so became the creator of a genre which in Argentina, as well as in other countries, developed side by side with the growth of the film industry and the popularization of the radio.” For over forty years, she provided the cover photos for Radiolandia, Argentina’s most famous show business magazine, and worked regularly for almost every other major entertainment publication in the country. Her subjects included the 20-‐year-‐old actress Eva Duarte, who went on to become First Lady of Argentina Eva Perón; American singer and civil rights activist Marian Anderson; writers Pablo Neruda and Jorge Luis Borges; ballet dancers Anthony Tudor and Serge Lifar; and prominent South American celebrities Tita Merello and Carmen Miranda.
Image above: © Annemarie Heinrich, "Doble Perfil (Double Profile of French actress Florence Marly)," 1942. / courtesy of Nailya Alexander Gallery
Heinrich’s work as a celebrity portraitist and professional photographer is supplemented by an extraordinary series, Desnudos (Nudes), which she began as early as 1934. Heinrich’s nudes demonstrate not only her thoroughly modern understanding of the female form, but also her technical mastery and attention to light. Rarely exhibited during her lifetime, these photographs are all the more remarkable for having been produced in almost total isolation from emerging trends in nude photography in Europe.
Throughout her life, Heinrich was deeply involved in avant-‐garde circles both in Argentina and abroad. She served as a founding member of the Foto Club Argentino, the Argentine Council on Photography, and the Latin American Council on Photography, and was a prominent member of the photoclub La Carpeta de los Diez (Group of 10). She also served as an academic on Argentina’s National Committee for Culture. During the 1940s, she was active in the antiwar movement, and in the 1950s, she travelled to Europe, where her work was exhibited in Rome, Milan, Paris, Zürich and Cologne.
Image above: © Annemarie Heinrich, "Serge Lifar, 'El espectro de la rosa' (The Spirit of the Rose)," 1935. / courtesy of Nailya Alexander Gallery
Heinrich’s photographs can be found in public and private collections worldwide, including the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris; the Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (MALBA) and Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires (MAMBA), Buenos Aires; the Museu de Arte Moderno, São Paolo; the Fototeca de Cuba, Havana; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; and the Museum of Modern Art, New York. She holds a distinction of Honorary Excellence from the International Federation of Photographic Art (FIAP), and was a recipient of the Alicia Moreau de Justo Prize as one of 100 Outstanding Women of the Twentieth Century. Heinrich passed away in Buenos Aires in 2005.