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Art Watch : Olga Solarics

Olga Solarics is in focus for our Art Watch for today. This section is brought to you by Art From Us and Divvya Nirula. The Artists we spotlight here can be from any field, across any discipline, and using a variety of media. We share here why we think they are important and worth watching. Be it genius creators of eras gone by. Or the upcoming contemporary artist who is yet to have their first show. All come under the purview of Art Watch.

Olga Solarics was born in 1896. She grew up in a climate that was rich with the development and the experimentation of art and visual perceptions. Olga was a contemporary of the Fauves and a young Picasso. It was the turn of the century and the progress in the field of arts was underway.

Olga and her husband Adorja’n von Wlassics’ founded studio Manasse’ Foto-Salon in Vienna from 1922-1938.. They worked on the photographic image and their archives hold countless, priceless black and white prints from that era. They were interested in the female form- the inherent power of feminity, the potential and the sexuality and vulnerability.

Their studio in Vienna flourished through the 1930s. Their images were very popular in the new magazine format of publications in the 1920s and led to Solarics’ images becoming popular. The themes of sexuality, feminine susceptibility and redefining feminine beauty is what makes these images relevant even today – once again becoming part of the zeitgeist. Olga seems to have been the impetus in photographing the nude. They exhibited at the 1st International Salon of Nude Photography in Paris in 1933…”

Why Olga Solarics?

It would not be fair to say that Studio Manasse, only captured portrait bursting with erotic charge. It was an avant garde firm which immortalized the fluid state of beauty and the “new woman” at the turn of the century. A woman who was independent and confident in her own sexuality as she struggled to redefine her position in the modern world. If one looks closely – every picture shows a conflict of concepts. The provocative poses are presented in such traditional roles that the cynicism intended renders them humorously absurd .

The illustrations appeared in magazines in 1924, which was the perfect time as it was a booming industry. Moreover the movie industry was peaking. And publications aimed to satisfy a public obsessed with glimpses into the world of glamour. Cashing in on the current pulse – the intelligent Olga with her personal sense of aesthetics armed with her husbands talent – went on to attract some of the leading ladies of the time from film, theater, opera.

The sensational images from the studio Manasse created masterpieces. Employing all the techniques of makeup, retouching, and overpainting to keep their subjects happy while upholding an uncompromised artistic vision. One can still remember the vivid images of the soft bodies with dreamy alabaster or marble-like skin. The backgrounds with props were staged so that the photographer could control each environment.

They were a huge success and they were able to find their market and buyers. The Wlassics found themselves living a life similar to those reflected in their photographs. Their clients were from the world of advertising agencies, to private buyers. The Wlassic’s expanded and opened a new studio in Berlin, however their business in Vienna was managed more and more by associates. However ,the firm’s name was sold to another photographer, and Adorjan passed away just ten years later, Olga remarried and died in 1969. But they gave the world some of the most hauntingly beautiful images of a time long gone, of artistes, offering a brief glimpse into their lifestyles.


For more Artists handpicked by Divvya Nirula – explore the ART WATCH archive.

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