Herbert List
The magic Eye
14.5. — 11.9.2022

Herbert List: Beneath the Poseidon Temple, Sounion, approx. 1937, Münchner Stadtmuseum, Photography Collection © Herbert List Estate / Magnum Photos / Agentur Focus

Herbert List (1903 – 1975) is one of the most pioneering photographers of the 20th century. The Bucerius Kunst Forum presents the first international comprehensive exhibition of the Hamburg-born photographer in more than twenty years as part of the 8th Triennial of Photography Hamburg 2022.

With around 240 original photographs, the exhibition Herbert List. The Magic Eye presents the Magnum photographer's entire range of work from over thirty years as never before.

List left behind a diverse oeuvre, including mysterious still lifes, nocturnal street scenes, erotic images of young men, photographs of ancient architecture in Greece, images of street life in Italy, and portraits of artists. But List also produced documentaries and reportages, for example of the discovery of the NSDAP membership file near Munich shortly after the end of the war or of voodoo rituals in Jamaica in the 1950s.

The son of a Hamburg coffee wholesaler, List was himself a trained merchant. He came to photography in the late 1920s as an autodidact. At first, he mainly took pictures in his private surroundings, on excursions to the Elbe or the sea – a welcome change from his everyday work in the family business. But the Nazi takeover turned his fortunes around: as a "quarter Jew" – according to racist ideology – with a Jewish grandfather and a homosexual, he was forced to leave Germany in 1936.

The retrospective is divided into seven chapters: Hamburg Beginnings, Still Life, Greece, Young Men, Italy, Artists Portraits, and Reportage. It thus spans the arc from List's beginnings in Hamburg, his Surrealist works before 1945, in which he wanted to make the enigmatic and ambiguous aspects of reality visible, to his dreams of a living antiquity in Greece and his male nudes, with which List made a confession of his own homosexuality, to his street scenes in Italy and the portrait photographs of well-known artists: Inside such as Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall, Georges Braque, Marlene Dietrich and Ingeborg Bachmann, to the comprehensive pictorial reports of non-European cultures and the documentation of the effects of the Second World War in destroyed Munich.

The exhibition Herbert List. The Magic Eye was created in close collaboration with the Herbert List Estate in Hamburg and the Munich City Museum.

The exhibition is sponsored by

Herbert List
The magic Eye

Exhibition Catalog

Editors Bucerius Kunst Forum, Herbert List Estate
und Münchner Stadtmuseum
Texts by Kathrin Baumstark, Ludger Derenthal, Katrin Dyballa, Nadine Isabelle Henrich, Hans-Michael Koetzle, Bernhard Maaz, Ulrich Pohlmann, Peer-Olaf Richter, Esther Ruelfs
Description 288 pages, with images of works from the exhibition
Publishing company Hirmer Verlag, Munich
Price in the exhibition 35 euro

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At the same time, from May 20 to September 18, 2022, the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe is showing the exhibition Präuschers Panoptikum. Ein Bilderbuch von Herbert List in collaboration with Bonartes Wien.

To the exhibition

At the Bargheer Museum, from May 15 to September 18, 2022, you can discover the show Passione e Destino – Aufbruch des Fotografen Herbert List und des Malers Eduard Bargheer in die mediterrane Welt.

To the exhibition

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