Heinrich Zille, Boys Performing Handstands on a Sandy Slope, Summer 1898
Heinrich Zille, Boys Performing Handstands on a Sandy Slope, Summer 1898

Heinrich Zille

Boys Performing Handstands on a Sandy Slope, Summer 1898

Heinrich Zille is known for drawings and graphic art works depicting the milieu of “ordinary people” in Berlin; they reveal a socially critical standpoint and the Berliner’s typical verbal wit. He was recognised as a photographer as well after the sensational discovery of original prints and glass plate negatives amongst his estate in 1966. As a trained lithographer, Zille worked from 1877 to 1907 at the “Photographische Gesellschaft”, a photographic reproduction company. There, he was able to use camera apparatus as well as the company’s laboratory for his own photographs; however, he never published them. In summer 1898 he took the photograph “Boys Performing Handstands on the Edge of a Sandy Slope”. The fourth boy from the left is Zille’s son Hans. Whether consciously or subconsciously, here Heinrich Zille the photographer anticipates the extreme worm’s-eye view of “Neues Sehen” (New Vision) during the twenties. Today his drawings with their drastic visual and linguistic features are regarded as classic big-city art, while his photographs represent rare documents of big-city life and provide remarkable evidence of early modernism.

In 1987, the Berlinische Galerie succeeded in securing the entire photographic estate of Heinrich Zille – circa 600 works consisting of old contact prints and original glass negatives. Following archive work and research into this Zille treasure, the complete collection was made available to the public in the publication “Heinrich Zille. Photograph der Moderne. Verzeichnis des photographischen Nachlasses” in 1995.

Boys Performing Handstands on a Sandy Slope, Summer 1898
Gelatine silver print
20.7 x 26.2 cm, new print Michael Schmidt 1988/89

Acquired using funds from the Press Foundation Tagesspiegel 1988/89
© expired
© Reproduction: Kai-Annett Becker

 
Copyright © 2011 Berlinische Galerie. All rights reserved.