Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Yva (Else Neuländer-Simon)

 Yva, Ramona in the little flying machine, 1929

Else Neuländer (1900-1942) was born in Berlin where she opened her first photo studio in 1925. Yva soon became a popular fashion and portrait photographer and published in many prestigious newspapers and magazines such as Die Dame, Berliner Illustrierte Zeitung and Münchner Illustrierte Presse. At the height of her career, she employed up to ten employees in her studio. Yva briefly cooperated with photographer Heinz Hajek-Halke in 1926. 

Yva, Charleston, 1926

Since 1929 Yva worked for the Ullstein publishing house. Friedrich Kroner, the editor of the Ullstein-Verlag, commissioned Christian Schad in 1930 to paint a double portrait showing two young women, which would serve as a color cover for the publisher's magazine Uhu. Kroner wanted Schad to portray one of his female friends, in the company of Schad's girlfriend, Maika Lahmann. While Schad normally took his own photos, on this occasion he used a portrait of Maika and her friend which had been taken by Yva. He painted Freudinnen (Friends) during September-October 1930 in his Hardenbergstrasse studio, Berlin.

Christian Schad, Friends, 1930

Due to her Jewishness, Yva was prohibited from exercising her profession (Berufsverbot) after the Nazis had seized power in January 1933. Her studio was now officially run by her "arian" friend Charlotte Weidler. In 1936, the later famous photographer Helmut Newton began his apprenticeship in Yva's studio. Two years later, Yva had to finally give up the studio. She then worked as a radiographer in the Jewish Hospital in Berlin. In 1942, Yva and her husband, Alfred Simon, were arrested and deported to the Majdanek concentration camp where they were killed most probably in 1942.

Yva, Max Liebermann, from the series "Celebrities from behind", before 1930

The building in Berlin's Schlüterstraße 45, which was her last home and studio, now houses the Hotel Bogota. Yva's photos are displayed in the hall on the fourth floor - the former studio.


  1. Just interviewed David Fahey in Los Angeles and he shared a copy of Photo Bulletin from 1980 when he interviewed Helmut Newton who talked fondly of working for Yva.

    you have a wonderful site - we'll return again!

    thanks for the excellent details about Yva.

  2. We spent five days in Hotel Bogota around this time last year, in a room on the fourth floor. Also spent time in the former studio, which is well worth a visit and an excellent place for a pensive rest.