Tuesday, January 21, 2014

1935 | ILSE BING (1899-1998) | QUEEN OF THE LEICA

I was friends with her and her husband Konrad in the 1980's and early 1990's. I set up a stereo system for them in her apartment on the upper West Side. They were old time intellectuals, they had a huge, sprawling rent controlled apartment overlooking the Hudson River. It was crammed to the rafters with books, musical instruments, two Grand Pianos, paintings, art, framed photographs. A real old-world aerie you never see anymore.

She had a trunk under her bed with some of the rarest Leica equipment I have ever seen, worth perhaps millions now. EVERYTHING was mint in a fitted velvet case, and the trunk and case were manufactured by Leitz. I was not as knowledgeable about cameras then as I am now, but I still recognized unbelievably rare prototypes and odd stuff.

I tried to buy some but she would not hear of it. After she died, the trunk mysteriously vanished, maybe stolen by the building superintendent. Probably pawned or thrown out if he didn't find a buyer.

[SOURCE: RangeFinder]

1935 | Ilse Bing [For Harper's Bazaar]
Gold Lamé Shoes
Source: V&A Museum

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