New York

Ilse Bing

Houk Friedman

Ilse Bing was not born with a camera in her hands. She was not a childhood devotee, like Jacques-Henri Lartigue. She enrolled at the University of Frankfurt to study mathematics, but eventually switched to art history. Bing only seriously picked up the camera in the late ’20s, when she needed research photographs for her dissertation on the 18th-century architect Friedrich Gilly. Soon though, she was publishing photographs in the Frankfurter Illustrierte Zeitung, and in 1930 she moved to Paris, where she spent the next ten years achieving success as both an artist and a commercial photographer. Nevertheless, as is demonstrated by this exhibition of work predominantly from the ’30s, Bing’s academic background continued to make itself felt in her esthetic, which always tends toward the geometric and the architectural. A 1936 trip to New York, for instance, did not yield human interest pictures

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