The Hungarian Jewish photographer Eva Besnyö (1910-2003) deserves an honored place beside her more widely celebrated compatriots Robert Capa and André Kertész. A Berlin exhibit honoring her, Eva Besnyö: Budapest - Berlin – Amsterdam, closed on February 27, but a dazzling catalog with texts in German and English was published in March by Hirmer Verlag.
Creator of vigorously sensual images with an art-deco sheen, showing 1930s folk enjoying themselves, the Budapest-born Besnyö lived and worked for most of her life in Holland. There she soon became aware of the threat of rising European Fascism. She participated in “Olympics under Dictatorship, ” a 1936 Dutch art exhibition protesting Hitler’s Berlin Olympic Games. Along with lusciously lit scenes of city life, among Besnyö’s most striking images are a series of portraits redolent with Yiddishkeit.