Sunday, February 7, 2010

Dora Kallmus & Atelier d'Ora

Self portrait

My previous post (Otto Dix & Estee Lauder?), about the dancer Anita Berber, included the photo below (now removed). Why?, Well, because when I googled Anita Berber this was the photo that came up first and frequently. In other words, everybody said it was her, so it must be her. So much for “the wisdom of crowds.”

It took the “expertise of one,” to set the record straight. Playwright and painter, Susan Tammany contacted me immediately to tell me that “This is not Anita.” She also included info on the photographer of this image, Dora Kallmus, who, in fact, made many photographs of Anita Berber. So, just because most photos of Anita Berber are by Dora Kallmus, does not mean that most of Dora Kallmus' photos of dancers are Anita Berber. I went back to the images and, indeed, there is a spectrum of idents on this photo. From a blogger: “Anita Berber, duh” to Getty Images: “Dancer (presumable Anita Berber),” to The Tate: Anonymous photograph of a dancer taken at the studio of Madame d'Ora (Dora Philippine Kallmus) in Vienna (1923). Gelatin silver print

The facts: Dora Kallmus? Yes. Dancer? Yes. Gorgeous photo? Yes. Anita Berber? Maybe, maybe not.

Dora Philippine Kallmus (1881 – 1963), despite being denied access to technical training in photography (for being female), ran the highly successful photo studio Atelier d’Ora.

Madame d’Ora’s vibrant portraits of twentieth-century artists and intellectuals remain important testaments to European cultural life at the turn of the century and beyond. Not only did her high quality photographs of well-known figures such as Josephine Baker (1906–1975), Karl Kraus (1874–1936), Arthur Schnitzler (1862–1931) and Gustav Klimt (1862–1918) receive international acclaim, but her studios in Vienna and Paris also became fashionable meeting places for the cultural and intellectual elite. D’Ora’s achievements also paved the way for other European women’s careers in photography…” (Lisa Silverman, Jewish Women’s Archive)

Some Dora Kallmus and Atelier d’Ora photos of dancers …

Mary Wigman

Anna Pavlova

Josephine Baker

Demon Machine

Anita Berber

…and other artists of note
Gustav Klimt, Maurice Chevalier, Pablo Casals

Colette, Tamara Lempicka

1 comment:

  1. Amazing how much the full-body nude of Anita Berber (at right in the pair of images) looks like an Egon Schiele painting.


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