At the outbreak of the Second World War, Kurt Klagsbrunn (1918-2005) arrived in Rio de Janeiro, the then-capital of Brazil. The Austrian medical student of Jewish descent had been forced to abandon university with the rise of the Nazis. He fled from Vienna, seeking refuge first in Lisbon, then Rotterdam,with his family. He finally alighted in Rio in 1939.
Klagsbrunn began, slowly but surely, to start taking photographs of life on the other side of the Atlantic. His work began to reflect the diverse panorama of people living in this vibrant city, from slave descendants to aristocrats. Rio would become a source of lasting inspiration to the young immigrant and he began to document parties as well as social and political events.
More than 200 of his Rio photographs are brought together in the enlightening exhibition Kurt Klagsbrunn, a humanist photographer in Rio (1940-1960), at the Museu de Arte do Rio.
“One of Kurt’s features is a very loving relationship with Rio de Janeiro,” said Paulo
Herkenhoff, one of the exhibition’s curators. “Klagsbrunn produced an image of a city with soul,with its contradictions, perversities and charms.” He also captured the “very difficult lives of ordinary people,” who lacked clean water, good transportation and lived in dire housing conditions at that time, she added.
To continue reading about Kurt Klagsbrunn and see more images of his work, read the July/August issue of The Kurios.
Photo: Jardim de Alah , Rio de Janeiro (1945) © Kurt Klagsbrunn. Photo courtesy of
Museu de Arte do Rio.