Ergy Landau, Budapest – Paris, 1896 – 1967

The exhibition is open to the public:
22 March 2023 - 14 May 2023.
Tuesday - Sunday from 12 to 19 pm.
Closed on Mondays and public holidays.
Curators: Kathleen Grosset, Laurence Le Guen, David Martens
Opening: 21 March 2023, Tuesday, 18.00

Who knows Ergy Landau these days? Probably few outside a narrow community of professionals, historians, and enthusiasts of 20th century photography. But Ergy Landau was very active between the 1920s and the 1950s and was very much a figure in the world of French photography at that time. She was part of the Hungarian diaspora that left Hungary immediately after the First World War. Ergy Landau first settled in Paris, where she began her wide-ranging professional photographic career. After her arrival, she set up a studio in the 16th district, having already acquired the technical skills necessary to work in the field, thanks to her regular contact with Hungarian photographers despite her young age. In France, she maintained her friendships with her Hungarian compatriots (Brassaï, Kertés, Moholy-Nagy) and introduced her assistants at the time, Nora Dumas and Ylla, to the mysteries of photography.

Her masterly portraits, especially of children, quickly made her name, and her formal experiments were in some ways akin to the New Objectivity style, while at the same time she also produced several female nudes. Her images, published in various illustrated press and magazine publications between the wars, show the human body freed from its limitations and, in its wake, a changed way of life, for example in photographs of leisure activities and outdoor sports. In 1933 she became a member of the Rapho agency and helped its post-war revival. She made several trips abroad to report (for example in Mongolia and in China) and published several travel guides and books for young people until her serious accident in 1965.

Ergy Landau died without heirs in 1967, before the 1970s when photographers gained the equal recognition for artists, and her memory was slowly forgotten. This exhibition at the Mai Manó House and the accompanying monograph are the result of the restoration of the previously unpublished E. Landau collection. The aim was to give the public an insight into the exceptional and exemplary career of a 20th century photographer.

In order to see the gallery please click or tap on one side of the image.
Ergy Landau: Chairs, 1930s © Ergy Landau / ARJL
Ergy Landau: Liberation of Paris, 1944. © Ergy Landau / ARJL
Ergy Landau: Gymnasts under the Eiffel Tower, Paris, 1950. © Ergy Landau / ARJL
Ergy Landau: Assia, 1932. © Ergy Landau / ARJL
Ergy Landau: Child, 1930s © Ergy Landau / ARJL
Ergy Landau: Ergy Landau, 1930s © Ergy Landau / ARJL
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