EN
Herbert List, Self-portrait in a Mirror, Rome, Italy, 1955. © Herbert List Estate, Hamburg, Germany (detail)
Herbert List, Self-portrait in a Mirror, Rome, Italy, 1955. © Herbert List Estate, Hamburg, Germany (detail)

Born into a prosperous merchant family in Hamburg, Germany, Herbert List began an apprenticeship at a Heidelberg coffee dealer in 1921 whilst studying literature and art history at Heidelberg University. Between the two world wars, List immersed himself in the cosmopolitan culture of 1920s Germany, where Bauhaus, expressionism and Max Reinhardt’s theatre coexisted. In 1930, he met Andreas Feininger, Bauhaus master, who introduced him to the art of photography and the Rolleiflex camera. The rise of the Third Reich stifled List’s daily life, as Jews and homosexuals were the first targets of the regime, forcing the artist to flee Germany in 1936. In 1937, List divided his time between Paris and London, where he met Jean Cocteau and the photographer George Hoyningen-Huene respectively. He tried his hand at fashion photography, without great enthusiasm, and had his photographs published in Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, and Life among others. List preferred to focus on impeccably constructed still lifes, a style later referred to as fotografia metafisica, of which he became the most important representative. Leaving the restrictions of a fascist Germany behind, List’s work could be more playful and intimate. Mediterranean life on the coasts and ancient sites of Greece and Italy were List’s main

source of inspiration from 1937 to 1939, making these years his most fruitful. His first solo show opened in Paris in the summer of 1937. List began producing portraits of European and American artists set mostly in Paris and in Italy, among the most iconic were those of Pablo Picasso, Giorgio Morandi, and Pier Paolo Paolini. His style changed in the postwar years when his interest shifted from formal aspects to the human being. In 1951, Herbert List met Robert Capa, who convinced him to work as a contributor to Magnum. Spending time in Italy, his genre covered street photography, photo essays and portraiture. In 1953, he discovered the 35 mm camera. His work became more spontaneous, influenced by his Magnum colleague Henri Cartier-Bresson and the Italian Neo Realism film movement. Travels to Spain, Mexico, Morocco and the Caribbean followed. The postwar economy finally allowed List to complete several book projects that had been on hold, amongst these were Licht Ueber Hellas (1953), Rome (1955), and Napoli (1962), the latter in collaboration with film director Vittorio de Sica. From 1962, Herbert List set photography aside and dedicated his time to collecting the drawings of Italian Masters. He died in Munich on April 4, 1975.

Exhibitions

Publications

Biography

Biography
1903

Born in Hamburg, Germany

1921 - 23

Apprenticeship at a coffee importer in Heidelberg, Germany
Studies of literature and art history at the University of Heidelberg, Germany

1925

Joined the family coffee business

1926

First photographs taken during trips to coffee plantations in Latin America
and visits to San Francisco, CA, USA

1929

Taking over the family business

1930

Friendship with the photographer Andreas Feininger as a trigger for artistic photography
First compositions inspired by Giorgio de Chirico and Man Ray

1936

Move to Paris, France and London, Great Britain
Decision to commit oneself completely to photography
First commissioned work mainly in the fashion industry

1937

Relocation to Athens, Greece
Book project Licht über Hellas
First solo exhibition at Galerie Chasseur d'images in Paris, France

1941

Return to Germany after the invasion of German troops in Greece

1944

Soldier of the Wehrmacht in Norway

1945 - 52

New start in Munich, Germany
Creation of the photographic series  „Memento 1945“ – Münchner Kriegsruinen
Art director of the newspaper Heute

1953 - 64

Numerous trips to Italy, Greece, Jamaica and Mexico, among others
Spontaneous image finding by approaching the Leica 35mm camera
Book project Napoli with the Italian filmmaker Vittorio de Sica

1975

Died in Munich, Germany

Works

Exhibitions

Solo exhibitions
2021
ITALIA

Galerie Karsten Greve, Cologne, Germany

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2020-21
ITALIA

Galerie Karsten Greve, Paris, France

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2018
Something Like Exile

Photokunst Johanna Breede, Berlin, Germany

2017-18
The Magical in Passing

Ludwig Galerie, Saarlouis, Germany

2016-17
The Magical in Passing

Kunst- und Kulturzentrum KUK, Monschau, Germany

2015-16
La Strade e La Spiaggia

Contrasto Galeria, Milan, Italy

2015
Form To Photojournalism

Magnum Print Room, London, United Kingdom

2014
The Magical in Passing

Fondazione Stelline, Milan, Italy

2014-15
Licht über Hamborn

Henrichshütte Hattingen, Hattingen, Germany

2014
Licht über Hamborn

Foyer ThyssenKrupp Steel, Duisburg, Germany

2013-14
The Magical in Passing

Chiostri di San Domenico, Reggio Emilia, Italy

2012-13
Graphic Expression

Magnum Gallery St Germain, Paris, France

2011
Mediterraneo

Certosa Di San Giacomo, Capri, Italy

2011
Mediterraneo

Forma Galleria, Milan, Italy

2010
Retrospective

Westlicht, Vienna, Austria

2010-11
Das Erbe Pygmalions

Museum der Moderne, Salzburg, Austria

2008
Lo Sguardo Sulla Bellezza

Spazio Metropol, Milan, Italy

2007
Lo Sguardo Sulla Bellezza

Musei dei Capitolini, Rome, Italy

2005
Nigerian Images

Außereuropäische Kunst Dierking, Cologne, Germany

2004
Italian Diary

Fahey Klein Gallery, Los Angeles, CA, USA

2004
Veiled

Stephen Daiter Gallery, Chicago, IL, USA

2003
100 Jahre Herbert List

Haus der Fotografie, Hamburg, Germany

2003
Retrospective

Museum im Kulturspeicher, Würzburg, Germany

2003
Retrospective

Museum Sankt Ingbert, Sankt Ingbert, Germany

2000-02
Retrospective

Musée des Beaux-Arts, Montreal, Canada; Museum of Photography, Thessaloniki, Greece; Museo di Storia della Fotografia Alinari, Florence, Italy; IVAM, Centre Julio Gonzales, Valencia, Spain; Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg, Germany; Robert Miller Gallery, New York, NY, USA; Cultural Center, Chicago, IL, USA; Fotomuseum im Münchner Stadtmuseum, Munich, Germany;Hotel de Sully, Paris, France;Museum für angewandte Kunst, Cologne, Germany; Fundacion « La Caixa », Barcelona, Spain
 

1996
Photographs From The 30s

Robert Miller Gallery, New York, NY, USA

1996
Diario Italiano

Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne, Switzerland

1996
Diario Italiano

Italienisches Kultur-Institut, Cologne, Germany

1996
Diario Italiano

Biblioteca Nazionale, Torino, Italy

1995
Hellas

Craig Krull Gallery, Santa Monica, CA, USA

1995
Diario Italiano

Galleria Costa, Genova, Italy

1995
Le Forme Del Bello

Galleria Photology, Milan, Italy

1995
Hellas

Gerald Peters Gallery, Santa Fe, NM, USA

1995
Diario Italiano

Palazzo Ruccellai, Florence, Italy

1995
Diario Italiano

Goethe Institut, Rome and Naples, Italy

1995
Diario Italiano

Palazzo Bagatti-Valsecchi, Milan, Italy

1995
München 1945

Fotomuseum im Münchner Stadtmuseum, Munich, Germany

1994
Hellas

Römisch-Germanisches Museum, Cologne, Germany

1993
Hellas

Glyptothek, Munich, Germany

1993
Hellas und München 1945

Musée National Des Monuments Francais, Paris, France

1993
Herbert List

Galerie Anita Neugebauer, Basel, Switzerland

1993
Hellas

PPS Galerie, Hamburg, Germany

1992
Herbert List

Galerie Zur Stockeregg, Zurich, Switzerland

1991
Herbert List

Fahey-Klein Gallery, Los Angeles, CA, USA
 

1990
Herbert List

Photographic Museum, Helsinki, Finland

1989
Herbert List

Charles Cowles Gallery, New York, NY, USA

1988
Junge Männer

Fotografie-Forum, Frankfurt, Germany

1988
Junge Männer

PPS Gallery F.C.Gundlach, Hamburg, Germany

1986
Herbert List

Olympus Gallery, Amsterdam, Netherlands
 

1986
Herbert List

Pace MacGill Gallery, New York, NY, USA

Group exhibitions
2020
Memoria e Passione. Da Capa a Ghirri. Capolavori dalla Collezione Bertero

CAMERA – Centro Italiano per la Fotografia, Torino, Italy

2019-20
Magnum: The Body Observer

Fundación Canal, Madrid, Spain

2018
Artist Complex. Photographic Portraits from Baselitz to Warhol. Platen Collection

Museum für Fotografie, Berlin, Germany

2018
NAUTILUS. Snails, Mussels, and Other Mollusks in Photography

Alfred Ehrhardt Stiftung, Berlin, Germany

2017-18
Inhabiting the Mediterranean

IVAM – Institut Valencià d’Art Modern, Valencia, Spain

2017
The Shape of Things. Photographs from Robert B. Menschel

The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY, USA

2016-17
I grandi maestri. 100 anni di fotografia Leica

Complesso del Vittoriano, Rome, Italy

2016
bilderstrom. Der Rhein und die Fotografie 2016 - 1853

LVR LandesMuseum, Bonn, Germany

2015-16
Werkstatt für Photographie 1976 – 1986. And Suddenly this Expanse

Sprengel Museum, Hanover, Germany

2014
RealSurreal. Masterpieces of Avant-Garde Photography. Das Neue Sehen. 1920-1950. Siegert Collection

Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Germany

2014
Paris Magnum

Hôtel de Ville, Paris, France

2014
Lola Garrido Collection. A Portable History of Photography

The Pushkin State Museum, Moscow, Russia

2014
Das andere Griechenland. In Korrespondenz zu Gipsabgüssen antiker Plastik

Lindenau-Museum Altenburg, Germany

2013-14
Dinge – Stilllebenfotografie aus der Stiftung Ann und Jürgen Wilde

Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich, Germany

2013
Greek Seas: A Photographic Journey in Time

Benaki Museum – Pireos St Annexe, Athens, Greece

2012-13
Art Faces. Des photographes rencontrent des artistes

Musée Würth, Erstein, France

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