A famous photographer shooting a famous physicist

Einstein, Albert

Original photo by Gerty Simon.

Published 1935
Item ID 77255

excl. VAT

Berlin, Gerty Simon [unpublished], ca. 1935. Original photograph (21.3 x 17.8 cm) on original cardboard mount (25.0 x 21.0 cm).

Gertrud "Gerty" Simon (1887-1970) was a German photographer who worked during the interwar period. "Born Gertrud Cohn in Bremen to a well-to-do Jewish family with her father being a lawyer, she practiced in Berlin and later in London. She captured many important political and artistic figures in Weimar Berlin, including singer and actress Lotte Lenya, her husband, composer Kurt Weill, sculptor, painter and print maker Käthe Kollwitz, her colleague Max Liebermann, and physicist Albert Einstein. Gerty Simon moved to Berlin after the First World War. Her husband, Wilhelm, like her father, was a lawyer. They had one son, Bernard (Bernd), born in 1921. Her Berlin studio was at Clausewitzstrasse. With the arrival of the Nazi Party in power in 1933 life became very difficult for Simon and her family. In 1933, her son's school, the Landschulheim Herrlingen (later the Bunce Court School), a progressive boarding school transferred from Southern Germany to Otterden, Kent. Simon followed, while her husband remained in Berlin, unable to continue as a lawyer and judge, but finding work as a notary. The family was not reunited until 1939, and father and son were both imprisoned as enemy aliens. At 19, Bernard was even sent to an internment camp in Australia (until 1942) despite having lived in the UK for seven years. Simon rapidly re-established her studio in Chelsea, and portrayed many significant individuals there, such as historian and broadcaster Sir Kenneth Clark, actress Dame Peggy Ashcroft and politician Aneurin Bevan. She stopped working as a professional photographer from 1937 for unknown reasons" (Wikipedia). The photo shows Einstein in suit and tie, looking toward his left, with a "Rembrandtesque" light falling on his right side. Signed (i.e., approved) outside the plate by the photographer. One of the lesser-known and very rare photographs of Einstein. Tiny chips to the left and upper edge and some surface damage to the outer right side, otherwise very good, the impression nice and strong. A beautiful photograph.

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