In 2017 Karl Hugo Schmölz’s birthday will come around again for the one-hundredth time. He is gradually being recognized for the significance of his own architectural photographs and for the history of German photography in general. Which was the occasion for us to devise an exhibition that shows further aspects of his work against this background. Many visitors will, along with the industrial photos, newly discover those of staged objects and staged scenes with people in them who enliven the architectural “platform”. We show a selection of 40 vintage prints from the period, namely the time in which Karl Hugo Schmölz learned the aesthetics of the Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity) from his father Hugo and translated it into postwar modernism, as well as conjuring it into his own distinctive photographic works.
Bernd & Hilla Becher saw Schmölz’s unprecedented photographs as being an amalgam between compositional reliability and technical perfection (also as regards his unique skill in portraying a room, a building or a whole area by day or night), thus creating a special rank for himself as well as for all of the Düsseldorf School of Photography.
In the meantime Karl Hugo Schmölz is considered the number one German architectural photographer of the 1950s. His photographs find themselves in many prestigious photo collections worldwide and have been regularly shown in group exhibitions, for example in 2007 in Cologne, 2010 in Miami and Herford, 2012 in Bonn, 2013 in Winterthur, 2014 in The Hague, or 2015 in Cologne. His relationship to architecture, which is naturally reflected in his many architect friends, is knowledgeable and passionate. The fact that he evolved an objective vocabulary for it had made him, already during his lifetime, into one of the most sought-after photographers.