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About, Part 7: A New Artistic Identity

Light (Black photogram)

Light (black photogram), 1948/49 (Jeanne and Arno Mandello)

Jeanne’s personal artistic identity changed on arriving in Uruguay and became “arte foto-gráfica”[1]. She now expressed herself by creating compositions which seem to float outside of a physical space. In addition to her adopting a new country and new cultures, she began to explore a new, resolutely modern and feminine style of photography. In numerous portraits, Jeanne, a strong woman who has recovered her freedom, portrayed other strong women who look at and interact with the viewer. They are not simply “objects” of an artist but women who are sure of themselves and in charge of their destinies. This is illustrated for example by the portraits of Florence Henri, Violeta López Lomba or Jeanne’s self portraits.

Portrait of Violeta López Lomba (Solarization)

Violeta López Lomba (solarization), Montevideo, approx. 1952

Her commissioned work is marked by the same spirit and shows a very modern perspective on her new country and its inhabitants. This can be seen in a series of postcards published by the editor “Lettres de France Ltda”, showing for example the “Palacio de la Luz”, the administration of the national electricity company, an uncommon postcard motif for the time. Very eclectic, Jeanne expressed her artistic liberty by experimenting with many different formats: portraits, traditional or solarised photography, abstracted nature motifs, landscapes, photomontages and “touristic” photo reportages.

Palacio de la Luz, Montevideo

Palacio de la Luz, Montevideo, approx. 1950

[1] J. Hellmut Freund, “Arte foto-gráfica. Alrededor de la producción de Arno y Jeanne Mandello”, in Entregas de la Licorne, 1-2, November 1953, Montevideo, p. 165