Herbert List | "Young Men and Still Lifes”

by Larry Armstrong-Kizzee

After a 25 year hiatus , German photographer Herbert List’s provocatively intimate images return to Los Angeles’ gallery art scene. The Fahey Klein Gallery presents a retrospective of List’s work featuring a widespread exploration of the artists interests in still life, portraiture, and candid documentary styles of photography with a bit of a homoerotic twist. An understanding of how these genre’s collide within List’s work is only comprehensible with an understanding of his past; a time filled with major political, social, and artistic unrest.

Beach Comber , Baltic Sea, Germany, 1933

Beach Comber, Baltic Sea, Germany, 1933

Herbert List’s beginning in photography is believed to have formed during an apprenticeship with a coffee dealer in Heidelberg Germany, 1921. It was during this time of constant travel that the artist began photographing his daily life, and not until almost 10 years later that List would consider his own work as art. After completing his time at Heidelberg University studying Art and literature, and being introduced to the formal art techniques by Bauhaus photographer Andreas Feininger, List would go on to develop his style as an artist driven by the world around him and influenced by formal considerations of his academy and mentors. This stylistic progression would eventually become disrupted by the mid 20th century Nazi regime, causing List to flee germany in 1936 and seek solace in several cities ranging from Paris to Greece.

Tavern Under Poseidon Temple , Sounion, 1952

Tavern Under Poseidon Temple, Sounion, 1952

While disrupted on the homefront, Herbert List’s surrealist interests and freedom of expression peaked during international travel. The photographer found new inspirations in the architectural landscape of Greece, developed his first solo shows in Paris, and even worked for the likes of Harpers Bazaar; all before an involuntary return to Germany by military jurisdiction. As we could assume, List escaped again, this time pursuing work with Magnum Magazine in Italy. It was during this time that List became further influenced by those around him, as meeting the likes of Robert Capa and Henri Cartier Bresson informed his development into the more candid, Italian Neo-Realist style we are presented today.


Young Men and Still Lifes will be open June 27 - August 31, 2019 at Fahey Klein Gallery 148 N La Brea Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90036