With the first exhibition of their Bauhaus photographs in Buenos Aires, Horacio Coppola and Grete Stern took the first steps in establishing modern Argentine photography. Very steeply angled views, night shots and detail views of Buenos Aires ultimately made Coppola one of Argentina’s most outstanding photographers.

'Horacio Coppola/ Londres 1934', photo: Grete Stern, 1934. Bauhaus-Archiv Berlin / © Galería Jorge Mara - La Ruche.
'Horacio Coppola/ Londres 1934', photo: Grete Stern, 1934. Bauhaus-Archiv Berlin / © Galería Jorge Mara - La Ruche.

When Horacio Coppola came to the Bauhaus in Berlin in 1932, it was already his firm intention to become a professional photographer – it was solely for this purpose that he travelled to Germany. On his first journey to Europe in 1930, he had seen photos by László Moholy-Nagy and Albert Renger-Patzsch – two of the most important representatives of the Neues Sehen [New Vision] and Neue Sachlichkeit [New Realism] in avant-garde photography – and they had left a lasting impression on the young Argentinian. On his way to becoming one of the most popular Argentine photographers, Coppola always maintained a close connection between photography and film. He had founded the first film club in Argentina in 1929; alongside his studies at the Bauhaus he worked as an assistant on the film 'Reifende Jugend' (The Growing Youth; Carl Frölich, 1933) at the Tempelhof Film Studios. In Berlin, Coppola met Walter Peterhans’s student Grete Stern, who introduced him to the master of the Bauhaus photography class and encouraged him to enrol as a student there.

'Winter Help', photo: Horacio Coppola, 1932, reproduction.  Bauhaus-Archiv Berlin / © Galería Jorge Mara - La Ruche.
'Winter Help', photo: Horacio Coppola, 1932, reproduction. Bauhaus-Archiv Berlin / © Galería Jorge Mara - La Ruche.

It was through Grete Stern that Horacio Coppola entered the artistic circle around Ellen Rosenberg, Walter Auerbach and Walter Peterhans. During his studies at the Bauhaus, he only produced 18 photographs, as he later often emphasized. They are direct results of Peterhans’s teaching. Coppola continued to work with the abstraction of shapes that he had learned from Peterhans after he returned to Argentina. In 1936, Stern and Coppola, now married and with two children, emigrated to Argentina. In Buenos Aires, they were able to hold their first joint photo exhibition, which went down in history as the first exhibition of modern photography in Argentina. In the same year, Coppola took numerous nighttime and daytime photos of his home city, Buenos Aires, which were brought together in the publication Buenos Aires, 1936 – pictures that still decisively influence the perception of the Argentine capital even today. 

Grete Stern and Horacio Coppola are today regarded as two of the most important Argentinian photographers. Horacio Coppola died on 18 June, 2012 at the age of 105.

'Feather', Photography Class by Peterhans, Bauhaus Berlin, photo: Horacio Coppola, 1932, reproduction. Bauhaus-Archiv Berlin / © Galería Jorge Mara - La Ruche.
'Feather', Photography Class by Peterhans, Bauhaus Berlin, photo: Horacio Coppola, 1932, reproduction. Bauhaus-Archiv Berlin / © Galería Jorge Mara - La Ruche.

Literature:
Zimmermann, Marcos (2010): Horacio Coppola. Como si viera por primera vez, 3.12.2010, Clarín.com, Revista de Cultura, http://www.revistaenie.clarin.com/arte/fotografia/viera-primera-vez-horacio-coppola_0_383961607.html (09.06.2016).
Gaffoglio, Loreley (2006): Horacio Coppola: los ojos del siglo, in: La Nación, 23.7.2006, http://www.lanacion.com.ar/825116-horacio-coppola-los-ojos-del-siglo (09.06.2016).
Schwartz, Jorge (2008): Horacio Coppola, Fundación Telefónica, n.p.