Karl Schenker – Master Of Beauty At Ludwig Museum

Karl Schenker photography vintage fashion editorial 20s 30s roaring twenties Germany Fotografie golden era beauty mode fashion history master of retouching Sharareh Shahedali

Karl Schenker was a very much acclaimed master of photography and illustration especially during 20s Germany who later lost his impact and died 1954 in London without much notice from society.

I often wonder how it must be to rise that high and then vanish into oblivion. We see this all the time with film stars for example. But in Karl Schenker’s case it touches me even more. We see a man with true skills, magician like, he achieves unimaginable artistry and because of changing tastes and technology demand for him declines up into nothing.

Karl Schenker photography vintage fashion editorial 20s 30s roaring twenties Germany Fotografie golden era beauty mode fashion history master of retouching women history
Karl Schenker, Damenbildnis. Portrait of a Lady, around 1920. Photo: Rheinisches Bildarchiv Museum Ludwig; ML; K. Schenker; aus der Sammlung von R & E. Ruminski

At the beginning Karl Schenker had a Studio in Berlin where everybody from high society be it aristocrats or politicians came to get their portraits taken. He did everything himself and where he shined most was the post-editing process where Karl Schenker proved to be a master of retouching. The studio portraits were taken in the gloomy style of the decade but with his hands and a brush he managed to add feathery and glowing highlights. The subjects were manipulated to look better and in the end they appeared with slimmer noses and shined with soft radiance wearing pelts and feather boas from the picture. Continue reading