Porträt [Portrait], around 1929
Museum Ludwig, Cologne
Reproduction: Rheinisches Bildarchiv Köln/ Cologne
With the Agfa Collection, the Museum Ludwig holds not only an extensive collection of photographs from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, but also—little known and not yet fully processed—the archives of the Agfa, Leonar, and Perutz advertising departments. As documented by announcements in photography magazines, the companies encouraged their customers to submit negatives, and those whose works they accepted were paid. The negatives and various prints were used to present the quality of the papers, negatives, flashes, and other items in brochures, magazines, and at fairs. Negatives and photographs by Aenne Biermann (1898–1933) have also been found in these collections.
Biermann, who died prematurely in 1933, was represented in groundbreaking exhibitions during her lifetime, such as the international Werkbund exhibition Film und Foto, and was regarded as an avant-garde photographer of the first order with her objective photographs. She photographed her immediate surroundings up until her early death, and these works helped shape modernist photography.
The Museum Ludwig is taking the ongoing processing of the Agfa company archive—which merged with the Leonar and Perutz archives in 1964—and a recent purchase of four works by Aenne Biermann as an occasion to present all twenty-four photographs, eleven negatives, and seventeen small-format archive prints by Biermann along with other archival materials for the first time.