Front / Recto

  • Title Ruth Landshoff (The Hand) (Ruth Landshoff [Die Hand])
  • Negative Date 1927
  • Print Date 1927
  • Medium Gelatin silver print
  • Dimensions Image 6 3/4 × 4 13/16" (17.2 × 12.2 cm)
    Sheet 7 1/16 × 5 1/16" (18 × 12.9 cm)
  • Place Taken Berlin
  • Credit Line Thomas Walther Collection. Gift of Shirley C. Burden, by exchange
  • MoMA Accession Number 1885.2001
  • Copyright © 2015 Umbo / Gallery Kicken Berlin / Phyllis Umbehr / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

Back / Verso

  • Mount Type No mount - evidence previous mount
  • Marks and Inscriptions Inscribed in pencil on sheet verso, bottom right: TW 770704.
  • Provenance The artist, Berlin; to Paul Citroen (1896–1983), Berlin, 1927 [1]; to Egidio Marzona, Berlin/Bielefeld, mid-1970s [2]; purchased by Ex Libris (Arthur Cohen and Elaine Lustig Cohen), New York, c. 1980 [3]; purchased by Thomas Walther, 1984 [4]; purchased by The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2001.
    [1] Herbert Molderings, telephone conversation with Simon Bieling, August 2005.
    [2] MacGill/Walther 2000, p. 39; Molderings, telephone conversation with Bieling; and Egidio Marzona, conversation with Thomas Walther, Berlin, April 2014..
    [3] MacGill/Walther 2000, p. 39; and Marzona, conversation with Walther. Arthur Cohen and Elaine Lustig Cohen mounted an exhibition of Foto-Auge photographs at Ex Libris, in New York, c. 1980.
    [4] MacGill/Walther 2001(3), p. 23; and Ex Libris bill of sale, March 12, 1984.


  • Surface Sheen Matte
  • Techniques Retouching (additive)
    Contact print
  • PTM
    View of the recto of the artwork made using reflectance transformation imaging (RTI) software, which exaggerates subtle surface details and renders the features of the artwork plainly visible. Department of Conservation, MoMA
  • Micro-raking
    Raking-light close-up image, as shot. Area of detail is 6.7 x 6.7 mm. Department of Conservation, MoMA
    Raking-light close-up image, processed. Processing included removal of color, equalization of the histogram, and sharpening, all designed to enhance visual comparison. Department of Conservation, MoMA

Paper Material

  • Format Metric
  • Weight Single weight
  • Thickness (mm) 0.19
  • UV Fluorescence Recto negative
    Verso negative
  • Fiber Analysis Softwood bleached sulfite 28%
    Grass 45%
    Rag 22%
    Bast 4%
    Softwood bleached kraft/soda 1%
  • Material Techniques Developing-out paper
  • XRF

    This work was determined to be a gelatin silver print via X-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectrometry.

    The following elements have been positively identified in the work, through XRF readings taken from its recto and verso (or from the mount, where the verso was not accessible):

    • Recto: P, S, Ca, Zn, Sr, Ag, Ba
    • Verso: Al, Si, S, K, Ca, Fe, Zn, Sr, Ba

    The graphs below show XRF spectra for three areas on the print: two of the recto—from areas of maximum and minimum image density (Dmax and Dmin)—and one of the verso or mount. The background spectrum represents the contribution of the XRF instrument itself. The first graph shows elements identified through the presence of their characteristic peaks in the lower energy range (0 to 8 keV). The second graph shows elements identified through the presence of their characteristic peaks in the higher energy range (8 to 40 keV).

    Areas examined: Recto (Dmax: black; Dmin: green), Verso or Mount (blue), Background (red)
    Elements identified: Al, Si, P, S, K, Ca, Ag, Ba
    Areas examined: Recto (Dmax: black; Dmin: green), Verso or Mount (blue), Background (red)
    Elements identified: Fe, Zn, Sr, Ag

In Context

Related Images

Spread from Werner Gräff. Es kommt der neue Fotograf! (Here comes the new photographer!). Berlin: H. Reckendorf, 1929. The Museum of Modern Art Library, New York. Photographs by Umbo (Otto Umbehr). © 2014 Umbo/Gallery Kicken Berlin/Phyllis Umbehr/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
Spread from Der Querschnitt 7, no. 4 (April 1927). Top: Umbo (Otto Umbehr). Ruth Landshoff. Bottom: Vester. Annemarie Jauss. © 2014 Umbo/Gallery Kicken Berlin/Phyllis Umbehr/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

Historical Publications

  • Der Querschnitt 7, no. 4 (April 1927): insert facing p. 254 (as Ruth Landshoff).

    Fotografische Rundschau, no. 5 (1929): 104 (as Die Hand).

    Gräff, Werner. Es kommt der neue Fotograf, p. 55 (as untitled photograph). Berlin: Verlag Hermann Reckendorf, 1929.

    Gebrauchsgrafik International Advertising Art 7, no. 7 (July 1930): 46.

Historical Exhibitions

  • Museum Folkwang, Essen. Internationale Ausstellung Fotografie der Gegenwart. Organized by Kurt-Wilhelm Kästner. January 20–February 17, 1929. (traveling exhibition)

    Städtische Ausstellungshallen, Stuttgart. Internationale Ausstellung des Deutschen Werkbunds Film und Foto (Fifo) (no. 907, as Die Hand). Organized by Deutscher Werkbund. May 18-July 7, 1929. (traveling exhibition)

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