From four generations of photographers, Lotte Jacobi took over her father’s Berlin photographic studio in 1927. She became one of the best-known photographers in Germany, particularly noted for her portraits of celebrities and artists. In 1935 she was forced to flee Nazi Germany and opened a studio and gallery in New York City, where she continued to pursue portraiture while freelancing as a photographer for Life magazine.
Here, in a work done while still in Germany, she depicts Hans Albers, Germany’s most famous film star and singer. After acting in more than one hundred silent films, he starred in the first German talkie, Die Nacht gehört uns (The Night Belongs to Us), in 1929, a year before Jacobi took this photograph, as well as alongside Marlene Dietrich in Der blaue Engel (The Blue Angel), 1929/30.
In this close, frontal portrait, in which Jacobi illuminates only Albers’s face, she captures his magnetic, engaging presence. Jacobi moved to Deering, New Hampshire, in 1955, and Dartmouth presented an exhibition of her work in 1978. This is one of two vintage prints by Jacobi donated by Richard Thorner, Class of 1986. The museum at the same time purchased from him three portfolios of an additional thirty-two works by Jacobi, published in 1978, 1979, and 1981.