Fritz Andre Kracht

"Fritz Kracht was Germany’s most renowned exponent of “polagraphy” or “Sofortbild-Fotografie” as an art form.

Born in Cologne in 1926 and narrowly escaping service in WWII, he attended university in Cologne, where he studied history of art, theater, world literature, and philosophy. He did post-graduate work at Ludwig-Maxmillian University in Munich before winning a scholarship to Yale Drama, where he also earned a doctorate in American literature.
He met his German wife, Gerda, while they were both in the U.S., and they were married in New York’s City Hall over fifty years ago.

Fritz Kracht came to photography via extremely successful careers in the theater and experimental film. After completing his studies at Yale he lived in the United States for several years, where he worked with the American Ballet Arts school and with Eva LaGallienne. On his return to Europe he established himself as a much-sought-after director who worked extensively in Cologne, Bremen, Salzburg and Munich, where he became the resident director of the Bavarian State Theater. In 1965 he returned to America when he was invited by the American Educational Theater Association to participate in various American projects. During this period—at the request of his good friend Carl Orff—he translated Orff’s “Die Bernauerin” and “Astutuli“ into English for American productions.

Between 1968 and 1975 Mr. Kracht made 18 experimental films which attracted great attention in Germany and which were presented in festivals in San Francisco, Guadalajara, London and Cannes. In 1972 his long film ”Mexico” was forbidden entry in the Montreal Film Festival by the Canadian Film Censor’s office. His involvement in film evolved into a wider interest in all aspects of photography. As a result of his introduction to the work of the Americans Lucas Samaras and Marie Cosindas, he began experimenting with polagraphy in 1974. Within two years his work was exhibited in Paris, Germany, Switzerland and New York and is now found in private and public collections both here and in Europe. In 1979 the Austrian publishers Allerhiligenpresse published a luxury edition of Fritz Andre Kracht’s polagraphy.

Comments in The Village Voice concerning his first Leslie/Lohman show in 1979 included the following: “Giant erect penises are the focal point of his polaroids. The power of this erotic art is not only via the massive phallus, but comes from Kracht’s technique.” Fritz Kracht was his own model for these astonishing works.

The Krachts lived in Madrid and Marbella, Spain for the last several years of his life, and his last large show was in Madrid at the Circulo De Belles Artes in 1995.

He died in Marbella in October of 2005 after a lengthy battle with cancer. He is survived by his wife Gerda; two sons, Dorian of Los Angeles and Claudius of Madrid; a daughter, Marion of Berlin; and three grandchildren."