With the Ag­fa Col­lec­tion, the Mu­se­um Lud­wig holds not on­ly an ex­ten­sive col­lec­tion of pho­to­graphs from the nine­teenth and twen­ti­eth cen­turies, but al­so—lit­tle known and not yet ful­ly pro­cessed—the archives of the Ag­fa, Leo­nar, and Pe­rutz ad­ver­tis­ing de­part­ments. As doc­u­ment­ed by an­nounce­ments in pho­tog­ra­phy mag­azines, the com­pa­nies en­cour­aged their cus­tomers to sub­mit neg­a­tives, and those whose works they ac­cept­ed were paid. The neg­a­tives and vari­ous prints were used to pre­sent the qual­i­ty of the pa­pers, neg­a­tives, flash­es, and other items in brochures, mag­azines, and at fairs. Neg­a­tives and pho­to­graphs by Aenne Bier­mann (1898–1933) have al­so been found in th­ese col­lec­tions.

Bier­mann, who died pre­ma­ture­ly in 1933, was rep­re­sent­ed in ground­break­ing ex­hi­bi­tions dur­ing her life­time, such as the in­ter­na­tio­n­al Werk­bund ex­hi­bi­tion Film und Fo­to, and was re­gard­ed as an avant-garde pho­to­g­ra­pher of the first or­der with her ob­jec­tive pho­to­graphs. She pho­to­graphed her im­me­di­ate sur­round­ings up un­til her ear­ly death, and th­ese works helped shape mod­er­nist pho­tog­ra­phy.

“The world can be­come op­ti­cal­ly sig­ni­f­i­cant ev­ery­where,” wrote the art his­to­rian and pa­tron of the avant-garde Franz Roh in 1930 in the in­tro­duc­tion to the pho­tog­ra­phy book Aenne Bier­mann: 60 Pho­tos. At the same time as Al­bert Renger-Patzsch, she took close-up pho­to­graphs of plants and turned a cut-open co­conut on a white plate in­to a nu­anced black-and-white study. Her chil­dren were al­so fre­quent sub­jects of her strik­ing por­traits. The Mu­se­um Lud­wig is tak­ing the on­go­ing pro­cess­ing of the Ag­fa com­pany archive—which merged with the Leo­nar and Pe­rutz archives in 1964—and a re­cent purchase of four works by Aenne Bier­mann as an oc­ca­sion to pre­sent all twen­ty-four pho­to­graphs, eleven neg­a­tives, and sev­en­teen small-for­mat archive prints by Bier­mann along with other archi­val ma­te­rials for the first time.

Pho­to­g­ra­pher’s Name: Aenne Bier­mann is the fourth pre­sen­ta­tion in the pho­tog­ra­phy room, which since 2017 has fea­tured a chang­ing se­lec­tion of the 70,000 works from the Mu­se­um Lud­wig pho­tog­ra­phy col­lec­tion. The pho­tog­ra­phy room is lo­cat­ed in the per­ma­nent col­lec­tion on the se­cond floor.