“ONE OF JACOBI’S KEY CONTRIBUTIONS TO HISTORY WAS HER PHOTOGRAPHIC PORTRAITS… OF WEIMAR CULTURE”: GELATIN SILVER PRINT OF ACTOR MAX GÜLSTORFF, SIGNED BY JACOBI
JACOBI, Lotte. Photograph signed. Max Gülstorff, actor. Deering, New Hampshire, circa 1970. Gelatin silver print (measuring 7-1/2 by 10 inches), signed on print recto, penciled printing instructions and title on the verso. Matted and framed, entire piece measures 13 by 16 inches. $1900.
Scarce gelatin silver print of popular Weimar film and theatre actor Max Gülstorff, photographed by Jacobi in Berlin circa 1931, this unique proof print (circa 1970) signed by Jacobi on the lower corner of the image, and containing detailed printing instructions on print verso.
“‘When we think of Weimar,’ wrote Peter Gay, ‘we think, above all, of the exiles who exported Weimar culture all over the world.’ Lotte Jacobi is one of those” (Wise, 27). Jacobi was trained in her father’s famed photography studio at a time when Berlin “could boast of a cultural life unequaled in Europe… In this vital, turbulent melting pot,” Jacobi photographed celebrated figures such as Kurt Weill, Käthe Kollwitz, Lotte Lenya, Peter Lorre and, as seen here, the immensely popular Berlin actor Max Gülstorff, captured in costume for a role, circa 1931 (Schuyler, Lotte Jacobi, 205-6). Featured in over 100 films stretching from the silent era onward, Gülstorff worked in the theatre with the renowned Max Reinhardt before beginning a film career in which he starred with Marlene Dietrich, Conrad Veidt, Emil Jannings and many others. “One of Jacobi’s key contributions to history was her photographic portraits of key personalities of Weimar culture in the years before Hitler assumed power” (Moriarty, 10). This unique print, with exposure and timing instructions on the verso, appears to be a working proof for the print featured in her Portfolio II: Photographs of Dance and Theatre (1979), a limited edition of only 30 copies that also included portraits of Fritz Lang, Erwin Piscator, and Jacobi’s striking Head of a Dancer. Many of Jacobi’s prints “have no vintage counterparts” (White, 5n), in that she was forced to flee Germany in the early 1930s and “leave behind more than 90 percent of her archives, all of which the Nazis destroyed” (New York Times). With unattributed penciled instructions for printing, including lens aperture and exposure times, on the verso. The first line reads “f/11 3-1/2 min. 8 sec” with a single line through it, followed by “12 [circled] p 2 Sp. f/11 5 1/2 m. 67 1/2.” Penciled at the lower edge of the verso is “Max Guelsdolf.” Photograph taken circa 1931, print date circa 1970. Wise, 144. From the estate of Lotte Jacobi.
A fine signed print.