Albert Renger-Patzsch

Born in Würzburg, Germany, Albert Renger-Patzsch (1897-1966) grew up in a family close to photography, and experimented with the medium as a teenager. He stopped his chemistry studies in the 1920s to dedicate himself completely to photography. He became director of the picture archive at the Folkwang Museum in Hagen. In 1925, he opened his studio and began to pursue photography as a full-time career as a freelance documentary and press photographer. He documented plants and flowers for a series of publication Die Welt der Planze [The World of Plants]. A few years later, in 1928, his most famous book was published Die Welt ist schön [The World is Beautiful]. Including 100 photographs, from both nature and industry, all treated in his clear, transparent style, this publication marked the beginning of his fame. In 1929, he moved to Essen on the Ruhr, a major industrial area in Germany, and became more and more interested by in-between urban and rural landscapes, in the midst of a transition with the impact of industrialization. In 1944, a large part of his archives at the Folkwang Museum were destroyed in an Allied bombing raid. With his family, Renger-Patzsch moved to the rural area of Wamel, close to Soest. He began to work on a new theme, returning to natural subjects, although now with an emphasis on landscape published in Baüme [Trees] (1962) and Gestein [Stones] (1966).

His prints are held since the 1970s by the Albert Renger-Patzsch Archives. The Archives also gives an award to a European photobook, every three years, through the Albert Renger-Patzsch Prize. 


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