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GisÚle Fruend

(1908-2000)


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FREUND, GISÈLE (1908–2000), German photographer and reporter. Freund was born in Berlin and became acquainted with photography at an early age when her father presented her with a Leica after she finished school. She studied sociology in Freiburg and Frankfurt/Main under Theodor W. Adorno, Karl Mannheim, and Norbert Elias. After the National Socialist takeover in 1933 she fled to Paris, where she continued her studies at the Sorbonne. In her doctoral thesis she described the impact of photography on society in the 19th century. In Paris, she acquired French citizenship and started working as a professional photographer, portraying famous authors and artists. Freund used the newly developed 35-mm Technicolor film for her portraits of Walter Benjamin (1938), James Joyce (1939), Virginia Woolf (1939), and Jean-Paul Sartre (1939). In addition, she produced photojournalism for magazines like Weekly Illustrated and Life. After the German occupation she fled to Southern France in 1940 and two years later she settled in Argentina. She continued working as photographer and photojournalist and was active in the development of cultural relations between Argentina and France. After the war, Freund returned to France and went to work for the Magnum photo agency. She made several trips to America, reporting from there and lecturing on contemporary literature. After she did a piece on Evita Perón, she was banned for life from entering Argentina. The United States similarly refused her entry in 1954 on the grounds that she was a Communist sympathizer. In 1970 she published her autobiography, Le monde et ma caméra. In the 1980s she received several honors, such as the Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur and the Officier du Mérite, both awarded by the French Republic. Late in life she received international recognition for her work, which was exhibited in such places as the Paris Musée d'art moderne (1968) and repeatedly in Germany, as in Bonn in 1977 (Rheinisches Landesmueum) and Berlin in 1988 (Werkbund-Archiv).


Sources:G. Freund, Gisèle Freund- itineraries (1985); I. Neyer-Schoop and Th. Weski, Gisèle Freund, Gesichter der Sprache (Catalogue, Sprengel Museum Hannover, 1996); M. Braun-Ruiter (ed), Gisèle Freund – Berlin Frankfurt, Paris, Fotografien 1929–1962 (1996); G. Freund: Gisèle Freund – Die Poesie des Portraits (1998).

[Philipp Zschommler (2nd ed.)]

Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.

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