With the photographers Nini and Carry Hess, the Museum Giersch of the Goethe University presents two outstanding Frankfurt artists of the Weimar Republic. With around 120 original photographs and supplementary archival material, the exhibition provides the first overview of the biography and work of the Frankfurt sisters, whose lives and careers were destroyed by the National Socialists because of their Jewish origins. The focus is on portrait and theater photographs; works from the fields of dance, nude, fashion, and architectural photography will also be on view. The work of Nini and Carry Hess is worth rediscovering!
The Atelier Hess, located in a prime location on Rathenauplatz since 1913, initially specialized in portrait photography. In the course of the 1920s, the photographer's clientele was to include numerous celebrities such as Max Beckmann, Alfred Döblin, Paul Hindemith, Thomas and Katia Mann, and Mary Wigman. The two women also achieved renown far beyond their hometown of Frankfurt for their theater, architecture, fashion and nude photographs. Their photographs, which were widely published in newspapers, magazines and books, as autograph cards or as collector's items in advertising albums, played a decisive role in shaping the popular image publicity of the 1920s - especially their impressive photographs of modern women. Well-connected, successful and independent, the two photographers themselves embodied the type of this independent and committed "New Woman" of the Weimar Republic. Because of their Jewish origins, Nini and Carry Hess became victims of Nazi persecution. On the night of the Reich Pogrom in 1938, S.A. troops destroyed their studio and destroyed all of its equipment and archives. Nini Hess was probably murdered in Auschwitz in 1943. Her sister Carry, who had emigrated to France, died in Chur (Switzerland) in 1957 after a degrading struggle for financial "reparations" that had been granted to her shortly before.