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Che Guevara: Images of the Revolution - Photographs from the Skrein Photo Collection opens at MdM Rupertinum
Osvaldo Salas, Che fumano, 1964. Gelatine-Silberprint, Vintage, 40 x 50 cm aus der Skrein Photo Collection.
SALZBURG.- Austrian photographer Christian Skrein (* Vienna, 1945) began his career as an art, commercial and fashion photographer. He later became an enthusiastic and expert collector of photography and compiled comprehensive archives of snapshot photography and international press and art photography. For over 15 years now, he has focused on photographs of the Cuban Revolution and its protagonists. Today, his collection comprises more than 4,500 items, including several icons of the history of photography as well as numerous less spectacular photographs which document the political situation and social life in Cuba from the 1950s to the 1970s.

In 2011 the Getty Museum in Los Angeles selected a set of 60 photographs from the Skrein Collection for its first exhibition on the Cuban Revolution: the onslaught of visitors testified to the huge interest in this historical period and its profound and far-reaching impact on global politics and in the role of photography as mediator of pictures that create identity.

The presentation of 150 photographs at the Museum der Moderne Salzburg offers visitors insights into this extensive specialized collection, but also shows the importance of photography and media for events and personalities. No other political event of this period was photographically documented as much as the Cuban Revolution; the pictures of its heroes were reproduced many thousands of times. The world famous photograph of Che Guevara by Alberto Korda is the most often reproduced photograph in the world, owing to a large-scale ideological and PR campaign initiated in 1967 by Italian publisher Giangiacomo Feltrinelli.

The myth of revolution - image pictures and iconic reception
Che Guevara was recognized as media star already during the revolution; his portrait adorned the walls of every government authority and factory building, every office and tobacco factory - he was omnipresent, an icon and role model and a crucial propaganda instrument of the political movement. The charismatic, eternally young revolutionary adorned public and private rooms as poster, photograph and icon, and the people identified themselves with their leader on a never-before-seen scale. Che united the revolution with the idea of social upheaval and personified a socialist future, a new man and a new country.

After the successful revolution the photographs of its heroes became a synonym of the new society; they were revered and distributed all over the country like pictures of saints.

While the early iconic pictures of the revolution were made by Cuban photographers, who were part of the revolutionary movement, the Western world began to take notice of developments in Cuba in 1959.

Leading European photographers travelled into this troubled country in the midst of social upheavals and turned the leaders of the revolution into icons and symbols of a dissatisfied youth on the eve of the global 1968 movement. Particularly the word famous portrait of Che Guevara as "guerrillero heroico" with baret and red star, photographed by Alberto Korda, is still regarded as an epitome of revolution and rebellion today and considered the most famous portrait of a person worldwide.

The photographic language of the revolution
Few photographs exist from the early years of the revolutionary movement against the Batista regime, and most of them were made by amateur photographers and travellers. They resemble the documentary photographic style of the 1930s which was popular in the United States and Europe at that time. Event photography, like the picture of Fidel Castro's release from prison in 1955, retrospectively achieved iconic status and became the initial image of the revolution widely distributed in numerous reproductions, details and enlargements.

The guerrilla fights in the Sierra Maestra are only documented in small incidental photographs made by sympathizers and fellow guerrillas with their own cameras.

Professional photographers discovered the "faces of the revolution" and their protagonists only in 1959. From then on countless portraits of Che Guevara, Fidel and Raúl Castro and their combatants were created. This is also the reason why so few photographs exist of Camilo Cienfuegos, who died in 1959, and of the authentic event of the triumphant entry into Havana on 8 January 1959, which were replaced by pictures of Fidel Castro's famous speech. Photographers developed a photographic language with an epic style which was situated between documentation and homage and supported the political scope of the revolution. A photograph by Raúl Corrales became famous under the name "La Cabelleria", even though the occasion (illegal entry into the premises of the American Fruit company) was not primarily heroic. The image created the identity of event and ideology and thus became a political statement.

The style of the photographers - from Alberto Korda to Liborio Noval and Osvaldo Salas, from Corrales to Tirso and Mayito - was characterized by a pictorial dramaturgy that was suitable for the media: strong contrasts, little internal drawing, silhouette-like figures against a discreet background - in other words the criteria of good news photography as it has been practiced since the 1940s. In addition, the photographers sympathizing with and involved in the revolution had a feel and understanding for pathos and staging and paid attention to small details and scenes on the fringe of large events.








Last Week News

November 23, 2012

Frida Kahlo's personal items come out of the closet for new exhibition at Casa Azul

Sotheby's inaugural Auction of Asian and Western Contemporary Art in Asia to be held on 3 December

Christie's London to offer works from the collection of businessman John Schaeffer

David Livingstone exhibition opens at National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh

Turkey's Culture Minister Ertugrul Gunay wants talks with France on 'stolen' antiques

Christie's announces African and Oceanic Art Sale to be held in Paris on 11 December

"Sam Francis: Works from the 1950s on paper and canvas" on view at Gallery Delaive

Christie's Latin American Sale in May 2013 to include a selection of works donated to the Americas Society

Bill Watterson published Calvin & Hobbes Sunday strip brings world record $203,150 at Heritage Auctions

Rhinoceros horn, furnishings, decorative finery in Michaan's Asian Auction

Boring work: Penn State University wormhole sleuth peeks into ancient beetle history

Gun from Australia's Kelly gang sells for $126,000 at Leski Auctions in Melbourne

Solo exhibition of work by New York artist Robert Sagerman on view at Brian Gross Fine Art

The Jewish Museum continues new exhibition series with Collection Tableaux

Reward offered for stolen California rock carvings

Trash from Everest recycled into sculpture

Letters and documents from The War of 1812 up for auction in Waddingtons.ca's Decorative Arts Auction

Rare Carlos Sabrino Cuban painting found at auction

Second chapter of iPad and iPhone app series "Great Photographers" features William Klein

The Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane presents a survey exhibition of key works by Lawrence Carroll

November 22, 2012

Bibliothèque nationale de France examines the life of the Rothschilds in the 19th century

Argentine experts from the Natural Sciences Museum of La Plata find giant penguin fossils in Antarctica

Study delivers new insights into Rembrandt's etching techniques, many printed after his death

Former secretary to Imelda Marcos charged in New York with art conspiracy

"John Bellany: A Passion for Life" retrospective opens at the Scottish National Gallery

Chinese Abstract painter Zao Wou-ki's twilight clouded by family feud over works

Researchers from Brigham Young University unlock ancient Maya secrets with modern soil science

Brooklyn Museum acquires Neoclassical portrait by Colonial Puerto Rican master José Campeche

Auction of rare books at Ketterer Kunst in Hamburg yields 540,000% return on Die Brücke artist catalog

Local collectors donate work by acclaimed sculptor David Smith to Columbus Museum of Art

Lincoln document on sale in Philly for $900,000

Rare Beatles autographs given during a late night card game to be sold at Campbells in December

German Santa car leads the parade of highlights at Bertoia's $2.1M Toybox Treasures auction

Jonathan Prince installs major sculpture at new Broad Art Museum

Captain Speedy goes to Ethiopia: Travel and Photography Sale at Bonhams includes rare images of empire

New sequence of Adam Silverman's highly acclaimed pots on view at Edward Cella Art + Architecture

India Art Fair announces its 5th Edition

Ayyam Gallery to expand into London and Jeddah

Government Auction brings out the luxury goods for Black Friday

El Anatsui sculptural tapestry hung in Bloch Lobby at Nelson-Atkins Museum

November 21, 2012

Pompidou pays tribute to one of the most complex and prolific artists of the 20th century

Archaeologial find debunks "Maya collapse" theory, Dzibanché inhabited until 13th century

Major exhibition of large-scale sculptures by Henry Moore opens at Gagosian in New York

Tel Aviv Museum hides art to protect it from rockets, moved nearly 200 works Friday

Sotheby's Latin American Art Sale totals $19.3 million, six artist records set

Stay tuned to Bonhams for the sale of the Richard Balsbaugh Collection of vintage radios

Sotheby's 19th Century European Paintings Sale in London totals $13.2 million

Qatar Museums Authority's Orientalist Museum opens "The Art of Travel" exhibition

Exquisite works of art from the ancient world, antiquities on offer at Christie's Sale of Antiquities

Saatchi Gallery in London opens its first exhibition of contemporary Russian art

Ancient rock carvings stolen in Sierra Nevada, at least four petroglyphs hacked

Charlie Chaplin hat and cane net more than $62,000 at Bonhams this past weekend

Glasgow Boys masterpiece by Sir James Guthrie acquired by the National Galleries of Scotland

Strong selection of fine writing instruments on the block at Bonhams this December

Sarah Morris' Mechanical Ballet on view at Musée national Fernand Léger, Biot

France bans access to 'end of world' refuge

First major exhibition devoted to Peter Blake in the UK since 2007 opens at Waddington Custot Galleries

TEFAF Maastricht debut for six galleries

Revised statue of John Paul II inaugurated in Rome

Flea market find: $200 sculpture sells for $22,500 at Freeman's

November 20, 2012

Museo del Prado presents one of the largest exhibitions on Anthony Van Dyck held to date

Baltimore Museum of Art reopens newly renovated contemporary wing; first phase of $24.5M renovation

New insight into John Constable's studio practice discovered at Bonhams

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston unveils new arts of Korea gallery and exhibition of rare Buddhist paintings

Sotheby's to sell 17th-century amber games board with reputed Stuart royal provanance

Figure drawings by Anthony Caro and Jules Olitski on view in exhibition at FreedmanArt

Arte Laguna Prize widens the opportunities for artists and launches 2 new art residencies

Eight new exhibitors to be featured in the 2012 Winter Antiques Show to be held in January

Alice's Adventures in Antarctica: Carroll's books on board Scott's "Discovery" expedition offered

The Renaissance Society names Solveig Øvstebø its first new Executive Director in nearly 40 years

Boltanski's installation at the Carpenter Center is a meditation on memory and the passing of time

Small and large scale works by Julie Sass on view at Galleri Lars Olsen in Copenhagen

MW [Moment Magnitude]: Groundbreaking exhibition on view at the Frye Art Museum

Property from the Estate of San Francisco socialite John Triana leads auction at Bonhams

San Ildefonso etched redware jar brings $32,500 in Heritage Auctions American Indian Art event

Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery expands notions of drawing in new exhibition

The Vinyl Factory announces the release of the debut album by Dinos Chapman, Luftbobler,

A selection of drawings and the debut of three interactive works by Björn Schülke at bitforms gallery

galerie antoine ertaskiran in Montreal showcases the work by Sayeh Sarfaraz

November 19, 2012

London's Wellcome Collection exhibition views death through artists' eyes

First exhibition in Australia dedicated to the Neo-Impressionists opens at the National Gallery of Victoria

Photograph of the Royal Family at Balmoral goes on display in Diamond Jubilee exhibition

Drawing's fundamental role as a catalyst and vehicle for change in art explored at Tate Liverpool

"Letters from Los Angeles: Text in Southern California Art" opens at Jack Rutberg Fine Arts

American artist Spencer Finch presents a series of new works at Lisson Gallery in Milan

Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and Musée de Louvre announce major accord

Baltimore Museum of Art exhibition focuses on three decades of Matisse's dancers

1895 Cameo Morgan dollar highlights Heritage Auctions' U.S. Coins Signature Auction

Global cultural influences converge in new Jeffrey Gibson exhibition at Marc Straus

Jade hardstone carvings and Chinese ceramics, paintings and calligraphy on offer at Bonhams

Solo exhibition by artist and designer Mark Hearld opens at Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Parrish Art Museum opens new building in Water Mill with Malcolm Morley exhibition

Jonathan Yeo's first portfolio of prints, featuring some of his most iconic sitters, on view at Eleven

Exhibition of installation, sculpture and collage by Jennifer Catron and Paul Outlaw at Allegra LaViola Gallery

Indianapolis Museum of Art open solo exhibition of commissioned works by local artist Lauren Zoll

Art goes on tour during Sweden's Nationalmuseum renovations

Cooper-Hewitt launches Object of the Day to expand collection access

Rare Parker Brothers A1 Special shotgun tops Bonhams fall arms sale in San Francisco

November 18, 2012

France's Musee d'Orsay opens major show of 19th century paintings at new museum in China

Topography: An exhibition of new work by Michal Rovner on view at The Pace Gallery

Ed Ruscha's richly diverse investigations of the book as a subject explored in new exhibition at Gagosian

Rosso Fiorentino's captivating Holy Family is the centerpiece of new exhibition at The Morgan

Collection of maps of China, Japan and Asia featured in Swann Galleries' December 6 auction

MoMA exhibition focuses on the transformation of Japan's capital into a center of the Avant-Garde

Donations arrive from all sectors of the art community to support hurricane recovery efforts for art galleries

Allentown Art Museum exhibits works by Abstract Expressionist painter Franz Kline

Autumn auctions at Koller Geneva: Design, Art Déco and Art Nouveau still strong

The ICA Boston presents the first major U.S. museum retrospective devoted to the art of the 1980s

New Possibilities: Abstract paintings from the seventies on view at The Piper Gallery

Exhibition of new work by Josiah McElheny opens at White Cube Mason's Yard

New series of minimalist sculptural configurations that play with colour by Amy Stephens at Poppy Sebire

Indian royal carriage comes to auction: Maharaja of Mysore's 1825 State Carriage to be sold

Milwaukee Art Museum acquires Taryn Simon photograph symbolic art thanks to community benefactor

David Kordansky Gallery opens first exhibition of new paintings by Jon Pestoni

New world records set for Weisse, Rosati and an Italian bronze at Clars November 2012 Fine Art Sale

The Circle Gallery presents the latest works of photographer, producer and painter, Dik Nicolai

Babe Ruth baseball and important collection of baseball cards to feature at Kaminski Auctions

Most Popular Last Seven Days



1.- Image of a Christ without a beard, short hair and wearing a toga unearthed in Spain

2.- Giant mosaic unearthed in mysterious tomb in Amphipolis in northern Macedonia

3.- Bonhams sale of 18th century French decorative arts to benefit Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

4.- Paris flustered by erection of 'sex-toy' sculpture; Paul McCarthy slapped by a passer-by

5.- High art or vile pornography? Marquis de Sade explored in Orsay museum exhibition

6.- 'Cubism: The Leonard A. Lauder Collection' opens at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

7.- Greek culture minister says Elgin Marbles return a matter of 'global heritage'

8.- Vandals deflate Paris 'sex-toy' sculpture by American artist Paul McCarthy after outrage

9.- Exhibition at National Gallery in London explores Rembrandt's final years of painting

10.- 'Hans Memling: A Flemish Renaissance' opens at the Scuderie del Quirinale in Rome



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