Helmar Lerski: Working Hands, Photographs from the 1940s

May 3, 2011-October 23, 2011

Location: Rena (Fisch) and Robert Lewin Gallery

Artist: Helmar Lerski

Curator: Nissan N. Perez

Media: Photography

The avant-garde portrait photographer Helmar Lerski (pseudonym of Israel Schmuklerski; 1871–1956) used mirrors to illuminate his subjects during the sittings, yielding dramatic results. Though almost unknown to the public at large, he is considered one of the most important portrait photographers of the 20th century. 150 modern digital enlargements of negatives from the Israel Museum’s collection, most of them never shown before, are on display in this exhibition. These portraits were taken between 1932 and 1948, when Lerski resided in Palestine and documented pioneers, both men and women, at work. Most of the images feature laborers, with a special emphasis on their hands. As an expression of the importance of creative labor, they underline Lerski’s Romantic-Socialist ideology. Catalogue