Ilse Bing

American, born Germany (Frankfurt am Main, Germany, 1899 - 1998, New York City, New York)

Greta Garbo Poster, Paris

photograph | gelatin silver print
Not on view at this time; find out where you can see works from our collection at locations around the Bay Area while our building is closed for expansion
  • Greta Garbo Poster, Paris

    Ilse Bing, Greta Garbo Poster, Paris, 1932; gelatin silver print, 10 3/16 in. x 13 3/8 in. (25.88 cm x 33.97 cm); Collection of the Sack Photographic Trust; © Estate of Ilse Bing; photo: Don Ross

Bing was known as the "Queen of the Leica" for her innovative use of that 35-millimeter camera. A German expatriate living in Paris in the 1930s, she was well connected with the European vanguard and exhibited frequently alongside Man Ray, André Kertész, and Henri Cartier-Bresson, while supporting herself with commercial assignments.

Bing's personal style synthesized the radical formal qualities of German Bauhaus photography with the concerns of the French Surrealists. Whereas the Bauhaus embraced technology as a symbol of progress, the Surrealists were more reluctant to celebrate modernity. They took their cameras to the city's shadowy alleys, where the past intruded upon the present like its unconscious alter ego. Bing captures the superimposition of old and new in this photograph of a disintegrating movie poster. The picture balances abstraction with concrete subject matter and exploits the spontaneity of the 35-millimeter camera.

10 3/16 in. x 13 3/8 in. (25.88 cm x 33.97 cm)
Collection of the Sack Photographic Trust
© Estate of Ilse Bing


signs, buildings, debris, celebrities, Paris, France, hotels, lampposts, movie stars

From June 3, 2013, through early 2016, SFMOMA's building on Third Street in San Francisco will be temporarily closed for expansion construction. Selected artworks in our collection are included in a range of off-site exhibitions during this period. We regret that the remainder of the collection will not be available for study during this time.

In the meantime, we invite you to explore a wide selection of our collection online. Please note that the information presented online is subject to revision. Please contact us at to verify artwork details.

This resource is for educational use and its contents may not be reproduced without permission. Please review our Terms of Use for more information.