Gertrud Arndt. At the Masters’ Houses. 1929–30. Gelatin silver print, 8 7/8 × 6 1/4" (22.6 × 15.8 cm). Thomas Walther Collection. Gift of Thomas Walther. © 2023 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

“Maybe you always have a mask. . . . Someplace you always have an expression you want.”

Gertrud Arndt

Gertrud Arndt (born Gertrud Hantschk in Upper Silicia) set out to become an architect, beginning a three-year apprenticeship in 1919 at the architecture firm of Karl Meinhardt in Erfurt, where her family lived at the time. While there, she began teaching herself photography by taking pictures of buildings in town. She also attended courses in typography, drawing, and art history at the Kunstgewerbeschule (School of design). Encouraged by Meinhardt, a friend of Walter Gropius, Arndt was awarded a scholarship to continue her studies at the Bauhaus in Weimar. Enrolled from 1923 to 1927, Arndt took the Vorkurs (foundation course) from László Moholy-Nagy, who was a chief proponent of the value of experimentation with photography. After her Vorkurs, Georg Muche, leader of the weaving workshop, persuaded her to join his course, which then became the formal focus of her studies. Upon graduation, in March 1927, she married fellow Bauhaus graduate and architect Alfred Arndt. The couple moved to Probstzella in Eastern Germany, where Arndt photographed buildings for her husband’s architecture firm.

In 1929, Hannes Meyer invited Alfred Arndt to teach at the Bauhaus, where Arndt focused her energy on photography, entering her period of greatest activity, featuring portraits of friends, still-lifes, and a series of performative self-portraits, as well as At the Masters’ Houses, which shows the influence of her studies with Moholy-Nagy as well as her keen eye for architecture. After the Bauhaus closed, in 1932, the couple left Dessau and moved back to Probstzella. Three years after the end of World War II the family moved to Darmstadt; Arndt almost completely stopped making photographs.

Note: Opening quote is from Gertrud Arndt, interview by Sabina Leßmann, May 1993; quoted in Taylor, Phil. “From Mask to Metonym,” in Roxana Marcoci, ed. Our Selves: Photographs by Women Artists from Helen Kornblum (The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2022), 47, and Leßmann, “Zwischen Sachlichkeit und spielerischer Verwandlung,” in Marion Beckers, ed. Photographien der Bauhaus Künstlerin Gertrud Arndt (Berlin: Das verborgene Museum,1994), 13, Taylor's translation

Mitra Abbaspour, Associate Curator, Department of Photography, 2014

Wikipedia entry
Gertrud Arndt (née Hantschk; 20 September 1903 – 10 July 2000) was a German photographer and designer associated with the Bauhaus movement. She is remembered for her pioneering series of self-portraits from around 1930.
Information from Wikipedia, made available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License
Getty record
Born 20 September 1903. Arndt studied weaving and photography at the Bauhaus in Weimar, Germany, from 1923 to 1924, and at Dessau, Germany, from 1924 to 1927. In 1927, Arndt and her husband Alfred Arndt, an architect from the Bauhaus, moved to Probstzella, Germany, where they lived until 1932. From 1932 to 1948, Arndt lived in Darmstadt, Germany.
Artist, Designer, Weaver, Photographer, Textile Artist
Gertrud Arndt, Gertrude Arndt, Gertrud Hantschk, Gertrud Arndt-Hantschk
Information from Getty’s Union List of Artist Names ® (ULAN), made available under the ODC Attribution License


2 works online



  • Our Selves: Photographs by Women Artists Exhibition catalogue, Hardcover, 152 pages
  • Photography at MoMA: 1920 to 1960 Hardcover, 416 pages
  • Bauhaus 1919-1933: Workshops in Modernity Exhibition catalogue, Hardcover, 344 pages

If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

MoMA licenses archival audio and select out of copyright film clips from our film collection. At this time, MoMA produced video cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. All requests to license archival audio or out of copyright film clips should be addressed to Scala Archives at [email protected]. Motion picture film stills cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For access to motion picture film stills for research purposes, please contact the Film Study Center at [email protected]. For more information about film loans and our Circulating Film and Video Library, please visit

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication, please email [email protected]. If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to [email protected].


This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to [email protected].