UMBO

1902–1980

Umbo (Otto Umbehr, German, 1902-1980) was active in the Wandervogel youth movement before entering the Bauhaus Weimar to study with Johannes Itten and at the metal crafts studio in 1921. He moved to Berlin in 1923 and held a handful of jobs as varied as a house painter, clown, and cinematographer’s assistant. Encouraged by Paul Citroen, he took up photography in 1926 quickly to become one of the most innovative purveyors of avant-garde photography, exhibiting his works at the 1929 Film und Foto exhibition in Stuttgart. In 1928 he co-founded the Dephot photo agency and worked until the 1940s as a press photographer for international magazines. His entire archive was destroyed in a 1943 air raid; from 1945 on he worked for local news publications and as a house photographer for the Kestner society in Hanover. The Kicken gallery has been preserving and representing the very rare vintage prints of his estate since the 1970s.