Jan 25, 2012

Meal in Paris Sidewalk Cafe

Meal in Paris Sidewalk Cafe


Ilse Bing

(American, 1899–1998)

Gelatin silver print

Image: 34 x 24 cm (13 3/8 x 9 7/16 in.); Matted: 55.9 x 45.7 cm (22 x 18 in.)

Gift of George Stephanopoulos 2011.233



Isolated in New York and depressed by the war and the loss of her mother in the Holocaust, Ilse Bing was less productive in the early 1940s. In 1947 her creative energy returned. She traveled to Europe, visiting her native city of Frankfurt for the first time in ten years and spending three months in Paris, where she photographed extensively. Her earlier dreamy, nostalgic views now gave way to more objective, crisper, and clearer scenes bathed in even light. Of course, life in Paris was not the same as when she left it in 1941: its inhabitants had lived through an occupation, rationing of many food staples continued until 1949, and ruins of bombed factories still ringed the city.

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