Introducing: Dr. Gisele Freund

Dr. Gisele Freund (1928-2000), Jewish artist from Berlin-Schöneberg, student at the ‘Frankfurt School’ of sociologist Theodor Adorno, considered photography integral to political activism. Freund first photographed her fellow socialist students to document their mistreatment by Nazi thugs. In March 1933, Freund followed her friend, sociologist Walter Benjamin, in fleeing to Paris, with strips of photographic negatives hidden under her clothes. She went on to live with the lesbian couple Adrienne Monnier and Sylvia Beach, owners of the famous Parisian bookstore ‘Shakespeare and Company’. In 1947, Freund became the first woman to work for Henri Cartier-Bresson’s photography agency, Magnum, and would famously photograph Frida Kahlo, Man Ray, Simone De Beauvoir, T.S. Eliot, Virginia Woolf, and the most elusive James Joyce. The USA denied her a visa for her leftist views in 1954, and she was ejected from Argentina after publishing photographs of Evan Perón bedecked with opulent jewels. In 1980, Freund became the first woman to receive France’s ‘Grand Prix National des Arts.’

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