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"Amor Skin" – A Vintage Print
by the Photographer Yva

Yva (Else Ernestine Neuländer): Amor Skin, Berlin, ca. 1925-1930, photograph on silver gelatin paper © Jewish Museum Berlin

In the 1920s and 30s, the advertising and fashion photographer Yva (Else Ernestine Neulaender) ran a flourishing atelier in Berlin with several trainee employees, among them Helmut Newton. Her photographs were published in various well-known magazines and are still considered to have been an impulse for the German avant-garde.

The individual elements of the picture "Amor Skin" were merged into one image through the multiple exposure technique, a typical surreal photography technique used in the 1920s. Yva was so skilled at this technique that she was able to expose her photographic plates up to seven times, allowing her to create unreal and dream-like images.

This was a promotional picture for the skin cream "Amor Skin" made by the company Opoterapia and sold in Berlin in the 1920s. Made with extracts of the subcutaneous tissue of young shelled animals, the cream promised younger-looking, smooth, rosy skin. It was sold exclusively in special pots shaped like the lamp pictured in the foreground.

"Amor Skin" is an example of early promotional photography. In the 1920s, advertisements and posters were still mainly sketched or painted. Photography was considered a factual and informative medium and was used for news and reports. There was a surprisingly long interval before it was also discovered as a promotional medium.

Yva, who grew up in an assimilated Jewish family, was forced to close her atelier in 1938 due to the work prohibition imposed by the Nazis. She then worked as an X-ray assistant in the Jewish hospital before she and her husband Alfred Hermann Simon were arrested, deported, and murdered in 1942.

Object Details:
Yva (Else Ernestine Neuländer)
Amor Skin
Berlin, ca. 1925–1930
Vintage print, silver gelatine print
27.7 x 22 cm

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