History of Modern France

The Third French Republic 1870-1940. Part 7

3 November 2021

Zoom lecture

Women Photographers in Paris. 1920-1940

with Sylvie Koneski

Germaine Krull (1897-1985)

Self-Portrait with Cigarette, 1925

The recent Met exhibition “The New Woman behind the Camera”, brought in focus the great impact of women photographers in the Paris art and media world of the 1920s and 1930s.


“The New Woman of the 1920s was a powerful expression of modernity, a global phenomenon that embodied an ideal of female empowerment based on real women making revolutionary changes in life and art”.


Leading women photographers of the time moved to Paris to learn, experiment, be inspired, and participate in the city’s intellectual dialogue and creative movements. We will see how Berenice Abbott, Florence Henri, Gisele Freund, Ilse Bing, and Germaine Krull, among the expatriates, and Claude Cahun and Dora Maar among the French, brought a genuine sophistication and a restless inventiveness to their pictures that equals and sometimes surpasses that of their more famous male colleagues.

Dora Maar (1907-97)

The years Lie in Wait for You, c. 1935