Description

Herbert List left Germany in the 1930s. He embarked on extensive travels through Greece and Italy in a search for his language of form between New Objectivity and Surrealism. Immersed in the classical architecture of Athens and the surrealists’ paintings of De Chirico and Max Ernst, List tenaciously produced works focused on form and composition. He used the Mediterranean light to transform mundane objects into surreal compositions. One unifying subject which List continued throughout his career was the male form.

The pictures I took spontaneously - with a bliss-like sensation, as if they had long inhabited my unconscious - were often more powerful than those I had painstakingly composed. I grasped their magic as in passing

Herbert List

Herbert List was a classically educated artist who combined a love of photography with a fascination for surrealism and classicism.

Greece became List’s primary interest during the late 30s. His first visit to the antique temples, sculptures and landscapes, his first solo show opened in Paris in the summer of 1937. Publications in Life, Photographie, Verve and Harper’s Bazaar followed, and List began work on his first book, Licht Ueber Hellas, which wasn’t published until 1953.

He became a contributor to Magnum in 1951 but rarely accepted assignments. During the 50s he began using a 35mm camera and telephoto lens and was influenced by the spontaneity of Henri Cartier-Bresson. In his final decades his interest in photography waned and he turned his focus to collecting Old Master drawings. Herbert List died in Munich in 1975.

© Herbert List | Magnum Photos

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