Karl Schenker: The Portraitist of Elegant People

If there was a group of people whom have enjoyed and benefited from the early days of photography, it would be the high class of society. Photography as a new medium and trend in the 20th century has found a special place among the personal rooms of the elite. Portrait photographs were the new portrait paintings, meant to be flaunted within the interior decors of their homes — and it was photographer Karl Schenker who mostly took them.

Schenker, dubbed as the “born portraitist of elegant people,” “a master of several mediums” and “stage director of women’s heads”, was a master of photographing women. Even within conservative notions in the early 1900’s, Schenker could take nude photographs of respectable ladies without losing elegance. Highly influenced by the Pictorialist movement, Schenker could retouch his photographs and make his subjects as flawless as mannequins.

The oeuvre of Schenker will be on viewing on the show Master of Beauty: Karl Schenker’s Glamorous Images at Museum Ludwig in Cologne, Germany, Sept. 10.

Karl Schenker, Damenbildnis, um 1920, Museum Ludwig. Foto: Rheinisches Bildarchiv. Karl Schenker, Portrait of a Lady, around 1920, Museum Ludwig. Photo: Rheinisches Bildarchiv
Karl Schenker, Damenbildnis, um 1920, Museum Ludwig. Foto: Rheinisches Bildarchiv. Karl Schenker, Portrait of a Lady, around 1920, Museum Ludwig. Photo: Rheinisches Bildarchiv
Karl Schenker, Lotte Neumann, around 1920 (celebrity postcard), Museum Ludwig. Karl Schenker, Lotte Neumann, um 1920 (Starpostkarte), Museum Ludwig
Karl Schenker, Dorothy Knapp, around 1927 (Reproduction, original lost). Karl Schenker, Dorothy Knapp, um 1927 (Reproduktion, Original verschollen)

The show will run through Jan. 8, 2017.


All images used are with permission from the museum.

2016-09-06 #news #portraiture #pictorialism #karl-schenker #pictorialist-movement

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