Grete Stern (1904-1999) was a German-Argentine artist and photographer, and a major figure in the development of photographic art in twentieth-century Argentina. Born in Germany, Stern studied graphic arts in Stuttgart before turning her attention to photography and studying in Berlin under the Bauhaus professor Walter Peterhans. With German-American photographer Ellen Rosenberg Auerbach, Stern founded the acclaimed photography and design studio ringl+pit. In the 1930s, fleeing Nazi Germany, Stern emigrated first to London, then to Argentina, where she and her husband Horacio Coppola launched the country’s first modern photography exhibition and opened a studio together in Buenos Aires.
In 1948, Stern began working for Idilio, an illustrated magazine for middle-class women in Argentina. It was for Idilio that Stern’s now famous series Sueños (Dreams) was published. Stern created these photomontages as surreal illustrations of dreams submitted by the magazine’s female readers. As the Museum of Modern Art wrote in the catalogue for its 2005 exhibition of Stern’s work, Suenos “Stern’s forward-thinking Sueños (Dreams), a series of photomontages she contributed to the popular women’s magazine Idilio, portray[ed] women’s dreams mobilized by the unfulfilled promises of the Peronist regime in Argentine society with urgency and surreal wit.”
Grete Stern died in Buenos Aires in 1999 at the age of ninety-five. In 2005, she and her husband were the subject of the exhibition “From Bauhaus to Buenos Aires: Grete Stern and Horatio Coppola” at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.