21 May 2016
Nude Standing by the Curtain .
Gelatin silver print, 18 by 11.5 cm.
Photographed and printed c. 1920s–1930s.
Provenance: Private collection, Europe.
Alexander Grinberg (1885–1979) studied at the Stroganov School for Technical Drawing, and in 1907 became a member of the Russian Photographic Society. In 1914 Grinberg set up a department of photography at the Alexander Khanzhonkov Film Factory. In the 1920s he taught at the State Institute of Cinematography and worked as a cameraman at Goskino. Being an exceptionally skilled technician, Grinberg nevertheless became a proponent of the idea of “clean photography”, devoid of complex chemical treatment. Between 1910 and 1930, Grinberg’s works were shown in most of the major photography exhibitions, including international ones. He specialised in erotic photography, which after 1929 became the subject of fierce attacks for its “decadency”. Grinberg’s refusal to change his course led to a spell in the labour camps (1936–1939). He was rehabilitated in 1950 and continued to work as a photographer.
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