Frieda Riess


Born into a Jewish family in Posen, Frieda Riess (German, 1890-1957) apprenticed as a photographer at Berlin’s Lette-Verein from 1913 to 1915. She opened her own studio on Kurfürstendamm in 1917. Since the early 1920s, she gained prominence as a society and art scene portraitist, picturing national and international artists, intellectuals and celebrities. Alongside she published in illustrated magazines. In 1925 avantgarde gallerist Alfred Flechtheim featured her work in a much-noticed one-woman-show. She continued showing her work in her own studio, followed attentively by the press . In 1930 she took part in the group show Gezeichnet oder geknipst, curated by editor Paul Westheim. Living in Paris since 1932, Riess kept on frequenting societal circles, but had mostly abandoned photography. Since the German invasion in France in 1940, Riess suffered the secluded existence of an acutely endangered person. Less is known about her personal life after WWII, and she died lonely most probably in a Parisian hospital. Das Verborgene Museum held a major retrospective of the artist in Berlin in 2008.