Unidentified signature and annotation in English (on the reverse) Gelatin silver print circa 1940s. 26 х 24 cm Provenance: Private collection, Israel With his sculptural faces and his highly innovative work on light, Helmar Lerski (1871 - 1956) is one of the greatest portrait artists of the 20th century. Born in Strasbourg, he pursued a career as a theatre actor in the United States before devoting himself to photography from the 1910s. In Berlin in 1915, he became a renowned cinematographer and a specialist in special effects. From then on, his photographic work, which made virtuoso use of his mastery of light, combined an aesthetic inherited from expressionist cinema with the most daring experiments of the «New Vision». Fleeing Nazism, Lerski settled in Palestine in 1932, leaving an exceptional record of the kibbutz and the pioneers, as well as of the Jewish soldiers in the British army. Deeply humanistic, his series «Arabs and Jews» is a manifesto of tolerance, and his «Metamorphoses by Light» an original exploration of the expressive power of a face.