• „Gartenstuhl“

Toni Schneiders
Life and Work

I am a curious person, but I am serious about my work, and if I succeed in making visible only a little of the magic of light and a touch of poetry in my pictures, this is luck enough for me.

Toni Schneiders

Toni Schneiders, born in 1920, is one of the great German photographers of the 20th century. With his formal, pictorial ambitions and his exciting motifs, he made a significant contribution to the renewal of photography after 1945. In 1949, he was a founding member of the fotoform group, which freed itself from the propaganda photography of the Nazi era through its artistic rigour and also set itself apart from the pleasing post-war photography, thus gaining international recognition.

Toni Schneiders' photographs are characterised by formal rigour, virtuoso lighting and concentration on the essential pictorial elements. But they are also permeated by the artist's great interest in his subject, whom he depicts sometimes melancholically, sometimes poetically and sometimes cheerfully, but always with great empathy. In this way, Toni Schneiders succeeded in combining the rigour of fotoform, which was based on the New Objectivity of the 1920s, with his very personal, sometimes even humorous point of view. His photographs were published in more than 200 illustrated books.

The interplay of humanity, depth of content and formal rigour reflected in his work makes his works unique and a pleasure for the inclined viewer.


  • 1920: born in Urbar near Koblenz

  • 1936: apprenticeship as a photographer with master's degree in Koblenz

  • 1940: Soldier in the photographic unit of the air force

  • 1942: worked as a war correspondent in France and Italy until the end of the war

  • 1945: after a short period of imprisonment, works as a freelance photographer in Koblenz; reportages, advertising and travel photographs for numerous publications

  • 1946: moves to Meersburg, where he works in a photo studio

  • 1948: founded a photo studio in Meersburg; architectural, industrial and landscape photography

  • 1948: close contact with the photographers Hajek-Halke and Peter Keetman as well as the painter Julius Bissier

  • 1949: founding member of the fotoform group (including Schneiders, Keetmann, Lauterwasser, Reisewitz, Steinert and Windstosser)

  • 1949: moves to Lindau

  • 1950: advertising photographer and photojournalist for journals and magazines (e.g. Merian)

  • 1950: works in the Mannsfeld advertising studio in Hamburg

  • 1950: marriage to Ingeborg Thomann

  • 1952: participates in the World Photography Exhibition in Lucerne

  • 1956: travels to Ethiopia, European countries and North Africa

  • 1961: trip to Japan

  • 1969: trip to South-East Asia

  • 1970: establishment of a picture archive on European art and cultural history

  • 1999: Cultural Award of the DGPh (German Society for Photography) together with Lauterwasser and Reisewitz

  • 4 August 2006: Schneiders dies in Lindau

Exhibitions / Selection

  • 2004: Photographs 1947-2004, Municipal Gallery Bad Saulgau

  • 2004: A Classic of German Photography, Regensburg Museums

  • 2006: Toni Schneiders: Photography, State Museum Koblenz

  • 2006: Toni Schneiders: Photography, Municipal Art Museum Singen

  • 2007: Photographs, Gallery Bernheimer Munich

  • 2008: Toni Schneiders: Photography, Museum Bad Arolsen, Municipal Museum Münster, Municipal Gallery in the Fruchtkasten Ochsenhausen