The Museum of Avant-garde

Umbo (Otto Umbehr)

Germany (1902—1980)
Born in Dusseldorf, Umbehr moved to Weimar at 19 years old to study at the Bauhaus, attending Itten’s foundation course. Expelled by Gropius, he moved to Berlin. In 1926 he started a small portrait photography studio with his friend Paul Citroen. In only two years Umbehr – or Umbo – became one of the most important photographers of the agency Deutscher Fotodienst (Dephot). He became Professor at the Moderne Kunstschule in Berlin. In the years leading up to WWII he captured urban landscapes and lifestyle of the Nazi era and continued to work as a photojournalist for Signal during the war. Nearly all his work was destroyed in a raid. After the war he collaborated with Der Spiegel and other magazines but without any major success and he eventually gave up photography around 1950.