Ilse Bing (1899 – 1998)

Born in Frankfurt, Germany, Ilse Bing taught herself photography while completing her doctorate.  She purchased a Leica camera and began earning commissions as a photojournalist. In the 1930s, she moved to Paris and dedicated all of her time to photography. Her work was published in German and French newspapers, and she worked for Paris Vogue. She also exhibited her own work and became known as the “Queen of the Leica.” A trip to New York and a meeting with Alfred Stieglitz influenced her work with an American modernist aesthetic of realism. She and her husband, Konrad Wolff, fled for New York five years later in 1941. She was well known in Europe, but as a Jew in Paris when World War II began, her world changed. In New York, she found little work in photojournalism, and instead focused on portraiture until the 1950s, when she completely gave up photography. Her work experienced a rebirth of interest in the 1070s and was acquired by and shown in a number of institutions including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, Art Institute of Chicago, New Orleans Museum of Art and Musee Carnavalet.