Ellen Auerbach

Ellen Auerbach was remarkable both for her avant-garde photography and for her innovative and successful ringl+pit studio where she and fellow artist Grete Stern signed all their work collaboratively. Auerbach met Stern in 1929, when both were private students of Walter Peterhans, Master of Photography at the famed Bauhaus School for art and design. The two women ran ringl+pit as an advertising and marketing firm that used photography, sculpture, and collage for whimsical and unconventionally eye-catching designs that challenged stereotypical portrayals of women. Auerbach fled to Palestine in 1933, where she supported herself making short films to promote Israel and opened a studio specializing in photographing children. In 1937, she moved to America, where she worked again as a children’s photographer and collaborated with a child psychologist on short films on children’s behavior. In the 1950s, she slowly lost interest in photography and shifted to working as an educational therapist with learning-disabled children. In the 1980s, Auerbach’s work was rediscovered by German artists and curators who organized a number of retrospectives of both her photographs and the collaborative work of ringl+pit, introducing her vision to a new generation.


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Pit with Veil (Ellen Auerbach, 1906-2004), by Grete Stern. Studio ringl and pit, 1931.

Institution: Juan Mandelbaum

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Date of Death

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Ellen Auerbach." (Viewed on March 4, 2021) <https://jwa.org/people/auerbach-ellen>.


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