Eugene Von Bruenchenhein
United States of America, 1910 – 1983
Eugene Von Bruenchenhein began working at an early age: as a florist, as a grocer, and then as a baker. He was convinced that his birth during the year of the passage of Halley’s Comet proved that the gods had bestowed artistic genius upon him. In 1943 he married Eveline Kalke. She became his inspiring muse and the subject of all his art. He renamed her Marie and made hundreds of portraits of her decked out with Christmas decorations, patterned fabric and copper crowns, in often erotic poses. At times, Maria was a goddess, then queen, film star, seducer and ingénue. Von Bruenchenhein developed his photographs in the basin of his bathroom, discovering the double exposure that gave his works a hint of surrealism. In 1954, he started a series of oil paintings in which he used his hands or brushes made from Marie’s hairs. His work was only discovered soon after his death in 1983. In 2005, the Chicago exhibition “Create and Be Recognized, Photography on the Edge” established his reputation as an artist and gained him the recognition of artists such as Cindy Sherman. His artworks were featured at the Venice Biennale 2013.