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ONE PHOTO – ONE STORY

07.08.2018

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One wonders if Peggy Guggenheim made a deliberate decision to wear red stockings when she browsed through her wardrobe that morning? The colour certainly harmonises quite masterfully with the synthetic leather of the motoscafo, where she posed for Stefan Moses with Venice as a backdrop. The picture belongs to a whole series of photos the Munich photographer took of the collector and patron of the arts, Peggy Guggenheim (1898 – 1979), in April 1969. On that occasion she certainly lived up to her reputation as an exccentric bird of paradise, and in this picture in the water taxi she wears an unusual pair of moth-shaped sunglasses by US designer Edward Melcarth. Moses (1928-2018) visited her for the first time in 1969. Together with author Uli Weyland, he had plenty of time to produce a book about Guggenheim. He photographed her in her private domicile, the Palazzo Venier dei Leoni on the Canal Grande, and at further locations around the city of canals and lagoons. A second visit, this time with the journalist Franz Spelman, took place five years later. Only a few motifs from that visit were to appear in a German magazine some time later. It would be nearly 50 years before the extent of the meetings between Moses and Guggenheim were shared comprehensively in a photo book. Titled Begegnungen mit Peggy Guggenheim (Encounters with Peggy Guggenheim), Moses was able to publish the project shortly before his death. It reveals that two kindred spirits appear to have met in Venice; at the very least the photographer and collector were united by an interest and delight in staging images, and a tendency towards irony and bizarre compositions.

The fact that Moses photographed the whole series in colour with a Leica, is first revealed in the new photo book. The photographer virtually always used black and white material; however, as he also intended to document the Guggenheim collection, he had packed plenty of colour film for his trip to Venice. Even so, on most occasions, he chose to publish the black and white version of this picture – as also in the case of the latest issue for LFI, where Stefan Moses is presented as a Leica Classic. Ulrich Rüter

The exhibition, Stefan Moses. Künstler (Stefan Moses. Artist) remains on display at the Johanna Breede PHOTOKUNST gallery in Berlin, up until September 21.

Book Tip: Stefan Moses - Encounters with Peggy Guggenheim
Hardie Grant Books, Melbourne 2018
© Stefan Moses

Stefan Moses

was born on 29 August 1928 in the Silesian town of Liegnitz (now Legnica, Poland). His father, a Jewish solicitor, died in an accident in 1932. Moses and his mother moved to Breslau in 1938, where he later worked for photographer Grete Bodlée.

1947: Germany’s youngest theatre photographer at the Weimar National Theatre. 1950: relocation to Munich, working for magazines and travelling extensively. From 1960 onwards, staff photographer for Stern magazine. Master of Leica feature in LFI 2/1963. Increasing dedication to independent, long-term projects.

In 1995 he gave his photographic legacy to the Munich Stadtmuseum. Numerous publications, exhibitions and awards. Stefan Moses died on 3 February 2018 in Munich.
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