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09.10.2017

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Today, the great, Swiss photographer, René Groebli, is celebrating his 90th birthday. Congratulations!

Over many decades, Groebli has created a comprehensive and multi-faceted body of work: reportage, picture essays, landscapes, nudes and portraits are as much a part of it as his early interaction with colour photography. Already as a young student he showed a distinct interest in photography. Even so and despite attending Hans Finsler’s photography class, he broke off his studies at the Arts & Crafts College after one year, to become a camera man.

After completing training as a cameraman for documentary films, however, he quickly found his way back to photography. The creative space it offered was simply larger, and the possibilities for free development more exciting. Still considered one of his most legendary series thanks to its spectacular form and imagery, the Magie der Schiene (Magic of the Tracks), produced when he was 22, was his own project taken with a Leica from the driver’s cabin of an express, steam locomotive travelling from Paris to Basel. The printed folder, which was virtually unsaleable at the time, is now a much coveted collector’s item.

The same thing happened with what is still his most famous series, Das Auge der Liebe (The Eye of Love), produced in a small hotel in Paris during his belated honeymoon in 1952. As a publication, the series was equally unmarketable at the time, and it was only years later that it experienced numerous, successful re-editions. This homage to his wife Rita can also be explored in LFI 7/2017.
Ulrich Rüter

On the occasion of his birthday, there are two worthy exhibitions being shown in Berlin and Zürich, respectively:

René Groebli – Meine ersten neunzig Jahre
(My first ninety years)

30 September – 24 November, 2017
Johanna Breede – Photokunst
Fasanenstraße 69, 10719 Berlin
Tues – Fri, from 11:00 to 18:00
photokunst@breede.de
www.johanna-breede.de


René Groebli – Das Magische Auge (The Magic Eye)
26 October – 2 December 2017
Bildhalle
Stauffacherquai 56, 8004 Zürich
Mon – Fri, from 12:00 to 18:30; Sat, 11:00 to 16:00
info@bildhalle.ch
www.bildhalle.ch
Magic of the Tracks, 1949 © René Groebli
Kemptthal, 1946© René Groebli
Free-hand driving, 1946 © René Groebli
Magic of the Tracks, 1949 © René Groebli
NY Melancholia, 1978© René Groebli
©  René Groebli, Le Corbusier, #286, 1954/ Courtesy Johanna Breede PHOTOKUNST
© René Groebli, London, #1201, 1949 / Courtesy Johanna Breede PHOTOKUNST
From "Das Auge der Liebe"

René Groebli

Born in Zürich on 9 October, 1927, he began his training photography with Theo Vornow in 1944, then continued his photographic studies at the Arts & Crafts College in Zürich, before beginning an apprenticeship as cameraman for documentary films in 1946.

As of 1949, he was a photo reporter for various Swiss and international magazines. His first non-commissioned series Magie der Schiene was produced in 1949 by his own Turnus Publishing. He left photo journalism at the beginning of the fifties and began to build up a very successful career as an industrial and commercial photographer, supported by his wife Rita (1923–2013). Groebli’s experiments with colour photography in both free, artistic works, as well as in applied areas, are sensational and enjoy international acclaim. He withdrew from commercial photography at the end of the seventies.

www.renegroebli.com
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