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Hans Finsler (1891-1972)

Finsler, dessen Vater Schweizer war, wuchs in Deutschland auf. Er studierte von 1911 bis 1914 Architektur in Stuttgart und München und von 1915 bis 1919 Kunstgeschichte in München und Berlin, wo er durch die «Sehschule» Heinrich Wölfflins geprägt wurde. Von 1922 bis 1932 wirkte er als Bibliothekar und Lehrbeauftragter an der Kunstgewerbeschule Burg Giebichenstein in Halle (Saale). Der Missstand fehlender Dokumentation über die Schülerarbeiten, führte ihn auf autodidaktischem Wege zur Fotografie. 1927 konnte er eine Fachklasse für Fotografie einrichten. Im Jahre 1929 war er mit einer größeren Werksammlung an der Ausstellung "Film und Foto" des Werkbundes in Stuttgart beteiligt. Dort wurde man auf den einzigen Schweizer Fotografen aufmerksam.

1932 konnte er von Alfred Altherr als Lehrer an die Kunstgewerbeschule in Zürich gewonnen werden, wo er die erste Fotoklasse aufbaute, aus der zahlreiche berühmte Fotografen hervorgingen. Um sein anfängliches Gehalt als Hilfslehrer aufzubessern, eröffnete er ein eigenes Atelier für Sach- und Werbefotografie. Finslers Wohnung und Atelier befand sich in der Werkbundsiedlung Neubühl-Wollishofen. Viele Schweizer Produkte (embru-Möbel, Fülscher-Kochbuch, Landi-Stuhl, Langenthaler Porzellan usw.) und moderne Architekturbauten (Neubühl-Wollishofen, Doldertal-Siedlung Zürich usw.) wurden erst durch seine Fotografien in der breiteren Öffentlichkeit bekannt. Seine Nahaufnahmen feierten Materialität und Stofflichkeit und halfen das Bild der damals noch sprichwörtlichen Schweizer Qualität nachhaltig im kollektiven Gedächtnis zu verankern.

Bekannte Fotografien der Schweizerischen Landesausstellung von 1939 stammen von Finsler. Zusammen mit dem Typographen und Gestalter Alfred Willimann gelang ihm an der Kunstgewerbeschule durch die Verbindung von Fotografie und Grafik ein wesentlicher Beitrag zur visuellen Vermittlung der Moderne. Als Lehrer für Fotografie wirkte er bis 1957. Von 1946-1955 war Hans Finsler Vorsitzender des Schweizerischen Werkbundes (SWB).

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Taken Hans Finsler (1891-1972)
[Relation to person or institution] Norddeutscher Lloyd (NDL)
[Relation to person or institution] Wohnbedarf AG

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