RINGL & PIT
Ringl & Pit was a photography studio in Berlin, consisting of Ellen Auerbach (1906-2004) and Grete Stern (1904-1999). Ellen Auerbach was born into a Jewish family in Karlsruhe, Germany and studied sculpture at a local art school before relocating to Stuttgart’s Academy of Art in 1928. Auerbach’s uncle gifted her a camera, and she travelled to Berlin to become the student of Bauhaus photographer Walter Peterhans (1897-1960). It was at Peterhans’ studio that Auerbach first met Grete Stern, who was born in Elberfeld, Germany and had studied graphic art at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Stuttgart.
Auerbach and Stern took over Peterhans’ studio in 1930 and named themselves Ringl & Pit, combining their childhood nicknames. Ringl & Pit undertook many advertising commissions, as well as portraits of notable Berlin figures such as Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956). The duo were heavily influenced by Surrealism and often used mannequins, wigs and other feminine symbols. One of their still-life collages won first prize at an international photography exhibition in Brussels. However, with the National Socialists coming to power in 1933, Auerbach and Stern both left Germany. Ellen and her husband - the theatre designer Walter Auerbach (1905-1975) - opened a children’s portrait studio in Tel Aviv, subsequently travelling to London and the United States. Stern visited England then relocated to Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1935. Ringl & Pit did not see each other for ten years due to the war, and although they never worked together again, they remained lifelong friends.