Portrait of Ernst Mittag (sleeping)

Etel Fodor-Mittag, 1930

Bauhaus-Archiv Berlin / © Thomas und Michael Mittag
Portrait of Ernst Mittag (sleeping) / Photo: Etel Fodor-Mittag, 1930.

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The individual portraits Etel Fodor-Mittag made starting in 1929, possibly at the suggestion of her teacher Walter Peterhans, are special. In these works, as in her later portrait photographs, the photographer followed the extreme perspectives of the New Vision, which was at its height around this period. Illustrated magazines were publishing masses of professional and amateurish pictures à la Rodchenko and Moholy-Nagy. 

For this photograph of her husband, the architecture student Ernst Mittag, she used an oblique view from above. The sleeping figure is stylized as an ideal, nude Adonis. The effect was produced by the skin-deep closeness of the lens to the figure being portrayed, the glaring daylight and the sculptural shadows resulting. It is a portrait of a lover set in timelessly perfect harmony.

[AG 2015]

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