Gisèle Freund

From her photographs of a rally in Berlin to her insightful portraits of Evita Perón, Gisèle Freund captured the people who shaped the early twentieth century. As a college student, Freund photographed a May Day rally in 1932 that served as a harbinger of Hitler’s rise to power. She fled Germany for Paris in 1933 and earned her PhD in 1936 with a dissertation on the social impact of photography. While there, she photographed such notables as Simone de Beauvoir, James Joyce, and Virginia Woolf, and in 1938 began innovating color photography techniques. In 1942, after two years in hiding, she left occupied France for South America, where she began publishing books about France and doing documentary reportage for American and European magazines, including an infamous 1950 piece for Life Magazine on General Perón and his wife that led to a blacklist of Life in Argentina. In 1953 she returned to Paris, where she became president of the French Federation of Creative Photographers in 1977. Not only was she granted the Grand Prix National des Arts and the Legion of Honor, in 1991 she became the first photographer to have a retrospective at the Musée National d’art Moderne in Paris.


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Phototographer Gisele Freund in Paris, 1974. Photo courtesy of Hans Puttnies via Wikimedia Commons.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Gisele Freund." (Viewed on April 20, 2021) <>.


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