Image 0 - Werner Bischof – Unseen Colour

Werner Bischof – Unseen Colour

The 2023 exhibition season opens with a show of previously unseen works by Werner Bischof (Zurich, 1916 — Trujillo, Peru, 1954).

It presents around 100 colour digital prints from original negatives from 1939 to the1950s: a chance to explore all of the Swiss photographer’s colour images for the very first time. Bischof is held to be one of the great masters of reportage and photography of the twentieth century.

The exhibition is a tour of the worlds he visited and lived in, and covers the entire span of his career. It alternates between colour photos taken using a Rolleiflex, with its characteristic square negatives, and a Leica, with classic 35 mm film. The impact of colour can be appreciated above all in a group of works taken with a Devin Tri-Color Camera, which delivered exceptionally high quality colour and definition. This will be the first opportunity for the public to see the images Bischof took with this camera. The images featured showcase what he was renowned for: flawlessly composed shots, taken all over the world, that masterfully combine the aesthetic element with and the emotional aspect.

The artist

Werner Bischof (Zurich, 26 April 1916 – Trujillo, 16 May 1954) trained at the Kunstgewerbeschule (School of Applied Arts) in Zurich with Hans Finsler. In 1936 he opened his first photography studio, working for both advertising and fashion agencies. His experience in the Swiss army during World War II radically changed his approach to photography: he was commissioned by the Swiss magazine Du to tour Europe documenting places destroyed by the war, and in 1949 he joined the famous Magnum agency. He photographed various parts of the East, including India, Korea, Indochina, and Japan, also working for magazines such as Life and Paris Match. After travelling from the United States to Peru via Mexico, he lost his life in a tragic car accident in the Andes at the age of 38.

A project by MASI Lugano and Werner Bischof Estate in collaboration with Fotostiftung Schweiz, Winterthur.


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  • CATEGORIES Exhibitions and fairs , Get-togethers