One of the most significant American photography projects of the 20th century, Erich Hartmann's Our Daily Bread series, is the subject of an exceptional exhibition at the Französischer Dom in Berlin that runs from November 28, 2013 to February 28, 2014.
In the 1950s, Hartmann spent eight years travelling between America, Europe and Israel to capture the people and processes involved in the production of bread. His stark, poetic photographs are representative of the new, socio-historical form of documentary photography that emerged in post-war America. The work evokes the nuances of this agricultural industry that is so vital to civilisation and the profound human truths that are inseparable from the story of bread. As Hartmann noted, "A large portion of my work is concerned with people because people are the most inventive and newsmaking part of our lives."
Our Daily Bread was first presented to the public at a widely acclaimed exhibition in New York City in 1962. Now, a half-century later, the entire collection of work is being seen in Europe for the first time. This landmark exhibition at the Französischer Dom has been organised by Anna-Patricia Kahn's °CLair Gallery
and Ruth Bains Hartmann with the support of the Anne Frank Fonds Basel and UNICEF. To commemorate the exhibition, the German publishing house Kehrer Verlag has released an exquisite book edition of Our Daily Bread featuring a text written by Ruth Bains Hartmann.
Erich Hartmann was born in Munich in 1922 and fled to America in 1938 to escape Nazi Germany. He began working as a photographer in New York City in the 1940s. While his portrait subjects included Leonard Bernstein, Arthur Koestler, and Marcel Marceau, he was renowned for his elegant approach to matters of science, industry, and architecture. In the 1950s, Hartmann was invited to join Magnum Photos and eventually served as the group's president. Along with Our Daily Bread, his major photography projects include In the Camps (1995) and The Heart of Technology (1985). Hartmann died in 1999. His wife, Ruth Bains Hartmann, manages his photography archives.
The Französischer Dom (French Cathedral) was built in the 18th century and is one of the iconic buildings in Berlin. The gallery under the dome offers majestic exhibition spaces and breath-taking view of the city.