Profile Portrait of Woman
PhotographerWanda Von Debschitz-Kunowski
Image Dimensions: 22.1 x 16.1 cm corner glued print dates 1914 or earlier
Support Dimensions: 24.5 x 18.2 | 33.1 x 26.6 cm
This portrait of an unknown female subject is by the important German portrait photographer Wanda Von Debschitz-Kunowski, (1870-1935) who married the painter Wilhelm von Debschitz in 1898. In 1900, she attended and studied at the Education and Research Institute for Photography in Munich, Germany with future American Photo-Secession member Frank Eugene Smith, who later taught at this school from 1907-13.
In 1902, Debschitz-Kunowski became affiliated with Munich’s Debschitz School, founded by her husband and Hermann Obrist. This private art and design school offered courses and practical instruction to aspiring artists and amateurs:
“The Debschitz School functioned as an important model for the movement in Germany to integrate art and design education, which culminated in the Bauhaus.” (1.)
Originally trained as a painter, she organized a department of photographic instruction at the Debschitz School as early as 1905:
The Debschitz School was probably one of the first to offer instruction in photography when, in 1906 or 1905, von Debschitz’s wife Wanda von Debschitz-Kunowski (1870-1935), who had been trained as a painter, founded the photographic ateliers, which she went on to direct. Her specialty was portraiture and she photographed students, teachers, and many Munich personalities, among them Karl and Hanna Wolfskehl, Martin Buber, and Erna Morena Fuchs. At the school she played a threefold role of photographing the school’s products for publication, keeping records, and teaching. (2.) (36)
She stayed at the school until 1914, following her husband to Hannover, Germany after the school was sold. In 1918 she became a staff photographer at the German publication Der Akt . (3.)
In 1921, she separated from her husband, from whom she was divorced in 1924, and founded her own photo studio in Berlin. They specializing in recordings of decorative arts objects, including porcelain for the Royal Porcelain Factory, Berlin , and on portraits of personalities such as Max Planck , Clara Rilke-Westhoff and Albert Einstein . They also took photographs of modern architecture and exhibitions. (4.)
print notes: recto: blind stamp in lower right corner of print:
WANDA v. DEBSCHITZ-
in graphite at lower margin of secondary mount in the artist’s hand: W. v. Debschitz-Kunowski
print notes: verso: black ink stamp, centered on mount:
Werkstätte Für Photogr. Bildniskunst
Wanda Von Debschitz-Kunowski
München, Hohenzollernstr. 21, 1A, 4 St.
English: Workshop for Photographic Portraiture
condition: corner losses to secondary mount
1. excerpt: The Debschitz School, Munich: 1902-1914: Beate Ziegert: in: Design Issues: Vol. III, No. 1 p. 41: (Spring, 1986), pp. 28-42: MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass.
2. Ibid: p. 35: see: Eugen Kalkschmidt, “Photographien von Wanda von Debschitz-Kunowski,” Dekorative Kunst, XVI, 3 December 1912) : pp. 144-47