Lehnert & Landrock : The Oriental photographers
Heliogravures or photogravures (2) by Lehnert and Landrock, – Tunisia, 1910’s
Ouled-Naïl, Tunisia, 1905
Heliogravure or photogravure by Lehnert and Landrock, 1920’s
Large heliogravure or photogravure by Lehnert and Landrock, 1920’s – size: 15″¼ x 11″¼
After travelling through Europe on foot, Lehnert’s quest for exploration leads him to Tunisia in 1903, where he discovers the charms of the Orient.
Having lived in Tunisia for one year, Lehnert befriends Landrock, where their mutual fascination in Northern Africa develops into a business in Tunisia.
Lehnert’s expertise in capturing the essence of the Orient, through his own artistic interpretations, is materialised through photography and transferred onto glass. The major body of Lehnert’s work can be categorised into three intertwining North African themes: pristine desert whose undulating forms are characterised by the contrast of light and shadow; the fertile oasis, source of life ; and the native traditional Tunisian woman, who is the embodiment of the extreme contrasts of the vastness of the desert and the contained richness of the oasis.
Lehnert travelled through the desert photographing these timeless images, returning to Tunis a master of the print making process gum bichromate, which was very popular in the 1920’s. Lehnert and Landrock began printing these exotic oriental images; however, their dream was brutally interrupted with the onset of World War I. Lehnert and Landrock proceeded to move their business to the heart of Egypt, Cairo in 1924.
The artistic movement in Cairo during this period, focused primarily on the documentation of ancient monuments. Lehnert longed to return to the charm and serenity of his Arab images; therefore, he returned 1930 to the country of his dreams in Tunisia, leaving the copyright of his photographs with Landrock in Cairo. The business is carried on by Landrock and later by his step-son Kurt Lambelet. In 1936 a bookshop is opened in the 44 Sherif Street. The shop grows to a renowned centre for fine art prints and becomes a bookshop with a German and an English section.
After attaining success in Tunis as a renowned portrait artist, Lehnert retired and settled in Redeyef, the main village in the southern oasis of Gafsa, in his beloved country of Tunisia.