The conflict in the Spanish Civil War attracted numerous overseas journalists and photographers who wanted to witness events directly. On display in this room is a small selection of work by three women: Margaret Michaelis, from Austria, Kati Horna, from Hungary, and Gerda Taro, from Germany. With an approach that was both distinctive and personal, each one expressed their solidarity and political commitment through images disseminated in national and international magazines.
Margaret Michaelis had moved to Barcelona in 1933 to escape the rise of Nazism in Germany. With ties to the anarcho-syndicalism movement, she was a contributor with the GATCPAC group and AC magazine in their architectural projects of social reform. During the Civil War, she produced works for the Propaganda Commission of the Regional Government of Catalonia and published photographs in Nova Iberia. Her education in Vienna, Prague and Berlin was evident in her most rapid and direct photos, with notable stylistic resources from New Photography, for instance high-angle and low-angle shots and clean compositions.
Kati Horna arrived in Spain in January 1937 through a commission from the CNT-FAI’s Foreign Propaganda Offices to cover the Civil War. She travelled through different regions in the Peninsula, contributing to magazines such as Umbral (as a photographer and print editor), Tierra y libertad, Tiempos Nuevos and Libre Studio, her photographs standing out for their broad view of the conflict and the consequences on daily life seen in different places like Aragón, Andalusia, Valencia, Barcelona and Madrid.
Gerda Taro (the pseudonym of Gerta Pohorylle) first travelled to Spain in August 1936, three weeks after the Civil War broke out, via a commission from Vu magazine and in the company of Robert Capa (the pseudonym of Endre Ërno Friedmann). From that point on, until her death in the conflict — less than a year later, in July 1937 — she travelled between Paris and Spain to cover the war in numerous locations on the Republican side: Barcelona, Aragón, Madrid, Toledo, Córdoba, Málaga, Almería, Guadalajara and Valencia. She learned photography with Robert Capa and fervently approached her remit, taking powerful images of the war fronts. Her works regularly appeared in publications like Regards, Ce Soir and Volks-Illustrierte.