From GERMAN to EMILIA LAND: EMIL OTTO HOPPE’ “UNVEILING SECRET”. WORLD PREMIERE of Industrial landscape’s photos by Emil Otto Hoppé at the MAST BOLOGNA.
Mast gallery “ Emil Otto Hoppé il segreto svelato/unveiling a secret”,
21 january – 3 may 2015, Bologna (Italy), free enter.
”To picture the rhythm and design of very ordinary, everyday things, which ninety-nine persons out of every hundred are probably passing every hour of every day without noticing them, because they are so familiar with them that they would consider it a sheer waste of time to give them a second glance. It is one of the chief delights of photography that it creates a spirit of adventure and sharpens the powers of observation. So many people miss the significance of little things and are therefore robbed of a fundamental key to beauty”. -E.O. Hoppe’
I’ m so proud to talk about this philanthropic emilian foundation that is excellence in the cultural world and offers some of the most interesting exhibitions of photography.
After exhibiting the David Lynch photographs, the FONDAZIONE MAST (Arts, Experience, Technology) is opening a new exhibition in its Gallery, curated by Urs Stahel, and dedicated to EMIL Otto Hoppé (1878-1972), with over 200 works on industry and labour, taken between 1912 and 1937.
Like his contemporaries Alfred Stieglitz, Edward Steichen, Walker Evans, August Sander, and Edward Weston, Hoppé was one of the most important photographers of his era, also famous for his landscape and travel images.
In the twenties and thirties, after having consolidated his reputation as a topographic and portrait photographer depicting famous European artists, scientists and politicians like George Bernard Shaw, Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot, Rudyard Kipling, George V, Vita Sackville-West, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, and Albert Einstein, E. O. Hoppé set off on his travels to capture the romance and grandeur of industrial sites around the world.
During his explorations – in Germany, Great Britain, the United States, India, Australia, New Zealand and other countries – he photographed the futuristic industrial landscape, seeing its gargantuan machinery as both technology and art. Hoppé was acutely aware of how contemporary industrial technology was heralding the world into a new era where the very nature of work and production would profoundly change.
Emil Otto Hoppé: Unveiling a secret presents for the first time his iconic images of the second industrial revolution and brings Hoppé’s work to the attention of the public.
This work had remained hidden for a long time in the London photographic archives which had purchased fifty years of works from the artist himself at the end of his long and prestigious career.
Alongside Hoppé’s industrial photography on show, in the area dedicated to “side events”, MAST will exhibit the rich variety of subject matter in the artist’s repertoire with a series of digital projections of other themes from celebrity portraits to nudes and from human typologies to landscapes.
Emil Otto Hoppé was born on April 14th 1878 in Munich, where he received his initial schooling and drawing lessons from the watercolorist, Hans von Bartels (1856-1913).
In 1897, after two years compulsory service in the Army, Hoppé followed his father into banking but he also travelled to Paris and Vienna to study painting and portrait photography. In 1900 Hoppé moved to London to work at the Deutsche Bank and Lombards and in 1903 met British photographer John Cimon Warburg (1867-1931) who demonstrated the artistic possibilities of photography to him.
Inspired by Warburg he acquired his first camera, a Goertz-Anschutz model, and the same year was admitted as a member of the Royal Photographic Society where, over the next four years, he regularly exhibited his amateur photographic works. In this same year Hoppé was also associated with The Linked Ring Brotherhood with fellow members, Alvin Langdon Coburn (1882-1966), Henry Peach Robinson (1830-1901) and George Davidson (1854-1930), who played an important role in international art photography, maintaining close ties with continental and American groups including the Vienna Camera Club and the Photo-Secession, New York.
Hoppé also contributed reviews, illustrations and photographs to various established magazines of the time including ‘The Bookman’ and around 1917 he became one of the founding members of ‘The Plough’ theatre club in London, a group who specialised in producing plays that had previously not been performed in Britain where Hoppé designed some of the stage sets. By this time Hoppé was one of the most sought after portrait photographers of the time and is reported to have made over 600 portraits during one year. In 1922, a highlight of Hoppé’s career was a large one-man exhibition consisting of 221 prints at the Goupil Gallery, London, for which he was widely celebrated. Prior to this, in 1918 Hoppé made his first visit to New York where he photographed modernist cityscapes and made portraits of “street types.”
In 1921 Hoppé returned to New York to open a studio on West 57th Street and was celebrated that year by a major exhibition of his work at the famous Wannamaker Gallery and with the publication of his “The Book of Beautiful Woman.”
The publicity garnered by Hoppé at this time made him more famous in the United States and elsewhere than the one we now point to as the champion of photographic art, Alfred Stieglitz.From this time on, and using London as his base, Hoppé travelled to many different countries throughout the world for the purpose of making a comprehensive photographic portrait of each as the subject of his many photographically illustrated books that he published over the next decades.
Many of Hoppé’s titles were made for the Orbis Terrarum series of books that were beautifully printed in the gravure process. Countries photographed by Hoppé include Romania, North America, Cuba, Jamaica, the West Indies, United Kingdom, Germany, India, Ceylon, Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaya, Africa, Bavaria, Poland, and Czechoslovakia.
His subjects in each country include the natural and man-made landscape and people. A favourite subject of Hoppé is large-scale industrial machinery found in factories, shipyards and steel mills where he is less interested in the subject’s function as he is in its artistic potential for abstraction. In this sense Hoppé’s photographs of the 1920s anticipate the work of Bernd (1931-2007) , Hilla (1934- ) and Albert Renger-Patzsch (1897-1966).
In the late 1920’s whilst travelling, Hoppé continued with some photographic work in Germany for the UFA studios (Universum Film AG ) which included photographs of Fritz Lang, Conrad Veidt, Victor McLaglen, Brigitte Helm, Mona Maris, Erich Pommer, Lilian Harvey and many more, as well as production stills of Marlene Dietrich and Anna May Wong.
Then thanks to MAST you will have the opportunity to discover this enormous artist, although unknown to date.