Krull, Germaine (1897–1985)

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Krull, Germaine (1897–1985)

Polish-born photographer who specialized in portraits, documentaries, industrial fashions, and advertising. Born in Wilda-Poznan, Poland, in 1897; died in Wetzlar, West Germany, in 1985; educated in Paris; studied photography at Bayerische Staatslehranstalt für Lichtbildwesen, Munich, Germany, 1916–18; married Joris Ivens (a filmmaker); no children.

Born in Poland in 1897 to German parents, photographer Germaine Krull studied photography in Germany and began her career as a portrait photographer in Munich and Berlin. From 1921 to 1924, she freelanced in the Netherlands, photographing architecture and industry. Around 1924, she married Dutch filmmaker Joris Ivens and moved to Paris, where she worked for such major French magazines as Vu, Arts et métiers graphiques, Marianne, and Voilà. She also associated with many of the avantgarde artists and writers of her day, including photographers Berenice Abbott and Man Ray. Krull was the only photographer to exhibit in the 1926 Salon D'Automne in Paris, and her industrial photographs appeared in the book Métal (1927). In 1929, she was represented in the influential Film and Foto exhibition in Stuttgart, Germany.

After 1935, Krull lived in the south of France, but traveled widely in Europe on commercial and journalistic assignments. During World War II, she was accredited as a war correspondent and photographed for Free French publications in Africa, Germany, and Italy. After the war, she opened an Oriental Hotel in Bangkok, but continued to work on a freelance basis, making trips to Thailand, Burma, Nepal, India, and Tibet. From 1965 to the early 1980s, she lived with the Tibetan refugees in northern India and became a friend of the Dalai Lama. Her final years were spent in Wetzlar, Germany, where she died in 1985.


Rosenblum, Naomi. History of Women Photographers. NY: Abbeville Press, 1994.

Barbara Morgan , Melrose, Massachusetts