Focus on the Soul: The Photographs of Lotte Jacobi

February 6 - April 11, 2004

Lotte Jacobi’s substantial contribution to the history of photography is revealed in this exhibition of over ninety vintage prints, including many of Jacobi’s renowned portraits.

Over ninety vintage prints by the German-American photographer Lotte Jacobi (born in West Prussia in 1896; died in United States in 1990) showcase her contribution to the history of photography. Jacobi learned the principles of photography from her father, and, in 1927, took over the family portrait studio in Berlin. Photography was a profession relatively open to women during the Weimar era.

Jacobi’s vivid portraits filled the pages of the illustrated press, promoting the new cult of celebrities. Among her subjects are some of the most remarkable figures in German and American art and culture, including Albert Einstein, Marc Chagall, Peter Lorre, Lotte Lenya and Robert Frost, whose portraits are included in this exhibition.

After 1933, Jacobi concealed her Jewish identity by working under various pseudonyms, and in 1935 she immigrated to New York City, opening a studio on Central Park West. Later, she moved to New Hampshire, where she continued to photograph noted subjects and to develop her extraordinary oeuvre that poetically documents the nuances of the human condition.

This exhibition has been organized by the Currier Museum of Art, Manchester, New Hampshire and was sponsored by Bank of New Hampshire, a division of Banknorth, N.A.; Ernst & Young; and the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts.
The Jewish Museum’s presentation is supported by The Morris S. and Florence H. Bender Foundation. Additional support is provided by The Alfred J. Grunebaum Memorial Fund.