Leni Riefenstahl - Nuba Portfolio
30 dye-transfer prints. Each print approx. 41 x 58.8 cm (portrait and landscape formats). Individually flush-mounted to card, each signed in pencil below the image on the mount lower right, titled lower left. Each with photographer’s and copyright stamps, consecutively numbered 'I' - 'XXX' in ink as well as with edition stamp, therein editioned in ink, on the reverse of the mount. Editioned A.P. 1/4 aside from an edition of 7 (+ 4 A.P.). Fine Art Photography, Berlin edition, 2002 - Together with two large-format pamphlets, one in English, one in German, in two linen-covered portfolio boxes, these in two felt cases. The two pamphlets each with typewritten information on the works and a text by Michael Krüger as well as the typewritten edition 'In a numbered and signed edition of 7 copies', therein editioned in ink..
Originally, 15 copies of the portfolio were created. However, only 7 portfolio sets were entirely preserved and completely sold.
Leni Riefenstahl's series of the Nuba depicts, in addition to her film shots and photographs that were created on the occasion of the 1936 Olympic Games, the series of works upon which her reputation as a photographer is essentially based. In their idealising representation of the human body, emphasizing its physical strength and flawless elegance, the images of the Olympic athletes and the Nuba tribal members are closely related on an aesthetic level.
In 1962, Riefenstahl set off to Sudan for the first time where she met one of the numerous Nuba tribes, the Masakin-Qisar, whom she accompanied with her camera for several months. In addition to everyday scenes, she captured the ritual wrestling matches characteristic of the tribe and the expressive body painting of the tribe members. Despite all the significance the work has from an anthropological and ethnological point of view, the photographs go far beyond the documentary. Here Riefenstahl proves herself to be an artist who masters the handling of perspective, space, and colour perfectly and is able to transform what she sees into timeless, captivatingly beautiful images. The photographer depicts the fighters armed with spears from a slightly lower perspective, causing the lavishly painted faces of women and men in full-format portraits to have a somewhat heroic, monumental effect, or lets their ash-dusted bodies to enter into a finely nuanced hue with the light blue of the sky.
Leni Riefenstahl's photographs of the Nuba, which were taken over a period of fifteen years, quickly gained recognition from the international press and were published many times, for example in Stern, the French Paris Match, or the American Life Magazine. In 1973, her first illustrated book Die Nuba - Menschen wie von einem anderen Stern was published, in 1976, the second volume Die Nuba von Kau followed, in 1983, the third Mein Afrika.
Published in 2002, edited and luxuriously designed by Christian Diener, this portfolio of thirty prints created using the elaborate dye-transfer process comprises the most important and best-known photographs from the Nuba series.
Private collection, Southern Germany
Leni Riefenstahl, Die Nuba. Menschen wie von einem anderen Stern, Munich 1973; Leni Riefenstahl, Die Nuba von Kau, Munich 1976; Leni Riefenstahl, exhib.cat. Filmmuseum Potsdam, Berlin 1999; Gisela Schäffer, Der unschuldige Blick. Leni Riefenstahls Nuba-Fotografien, Berlin/Munich 2015 (each with various ill.)