Künstlerische Aktaufnahmen von Franz Fiedler [Artistic Nudes by Franz Fiedler]
Berlin: Union Deutsche Verlagsgesellschaft, 1925. First Edition. Compiles 24 erotic nude photogravures by noted Czech photographer Franz Fiedler. Included with the collection is a typed letter of recommendation on Fiedler's letterhead and signed by Fiedler, dated March 4, 1939, discussing an apprentice photographer's work.
The letter discusses Fiedler's experiences with Heinz Hahn, an apprentice photographer who worked at Fiedler's studio between 1936 and 1939. Fiedler details Hahn's work as a photographer, noting his proficiency, craftsmanship, good humor, and particular skill in architectural and interior photography.
After serving in the German army during World War I, Franz Fiedler opened up a photography studio in 1920 in Dresden, concentrating on portraits, nudes, and advertising photography. During this period he also began experimenting with gum and carbon print processes, as well as oil and bromoil print processes. During World War II, much of Fiedler's work was destroyed along with his studio, and he spent the later years of his life in East Germany, authoring books on photography.
Although Fiedler would apprentice under master portrait photographers Rudolf Dührkoop and Hugo Erfuth, he was regarded as an eccentric by many of his contemporaries for his dark, uncanny, and macabre subject matter. Fiedler's 1919 staged triptych "Hexensabbat" ("Witches' Sabbath") was deemed "an offense to common humanity" by the board of the National Gallery of Prague, and his infamous 1922 series, "Narre Tod, Mein Spielgesell" ("Fool Death, My Playmate") depicted a romance between a nude model and a skeleton.
The photogravures on offer here juxtapose darkness and light, sensuality and the grotesque, with a strong sense of subjectivity on the part of the models. While not as openly morbid as the photographs for which Fiedler is now best remembered, the images share the same surreal quality that characterized his larger body of work, evoking the uncanny and erotic in equal measure.
Photogravures: 10.5 x 14 inches. Near Fine to Very Good plus, with light age toning.
Letter: 8.5 x 11 inches. Near Fine.
Portfolio: 11 x 14.5 inches. Very Good, with light wear at the joints, a few short closed tears, and old tape remnants on the top edges.
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