UNHI Creates Lotte Jacobi Gallery in New Space

Monday, May 16, 2016


Mary Cate Flaherty

Just this past January, UNHInnovation (UNHI) made an exciting move to the recently constructed Madbury Commons, a mixed-use development located at 21 Madbury Road in the heart of downtown Durham and UNH. UNHI occupies the ground floor of the development along with the InterOperability Lab (UNH-IOL), the Peter T. Paul Entrepreneurship Center (ECenter), and the Connectivity Research Center (CRC).  Moving to a brand new location provided UNHI with a unique opportunity to design and decorate its new office space, which is programmed with intent to promote collaboration and multiple working styles, with a design like something you’d see in San Francisco or Boston. The space features industrial style exposed ceilings, architectural features like large x-bracings, long glass facades, and bold colors, but maybe the most unique design element is the gallery of large black and white photographs by Lotte Jacobi that decorate the hallways, offices, and common spaces throughout.
Who is Lotte Jacobi you might ask, and why did UNHI decide to showcase her work so prominently?
Lotte Jacobi was a Jewish woman who is an important figure in the history of photography. Descended from a long line of talented photographers, it was almost destined that she would become a photographer herself. Jacobi had a long and prestigious career, capturing images over an almost 80-year period from 1908 to 1986 throughout various parts of the world including Berlin, the Soviet Union, New York City, and the state of New Hampshire. She is famous for her black and white theater and dance images and portraits of prominent 20th century figures, and her photographs are notable for their intimacy and for the personal qualities that she reveals in the faces of her subjects. She also pioneered an abstract photo form called "photogenics," a cameraless photography in which she exposed photosensitive paper to light to create abstract images. Jacobi spent the last 30 years of her life residing in Deering, N.H. where she opened a new studio, continuing her own work and displaying works by other artists. UNH awarded Jacobi an honorary doctorate of fine arts in 1973.
Jacobi died on May 6, 1990, at the age of 93 and bequeathed 47,000 negatives, several hundred study and exhibition prints, three portfolios, letters, catalogues, documents, and other printed material to UNH. These materials are housed in Photographic Services and Special Collections at the University of New Hampshire's Dimond Library. 
As the unit of UNH responsible for commercializing the universities intellectual assets, UNHI works closely with archivists to license a number of these images for use in domestic and foreign documentaries, books, and art shows throughout the world. The revenue received from these licenses supports the maintenance and digitalization of the collection and helps to preserve these extremely important images. The new space in Madbury Commons provided UNHI with the perfect venue to highlight its role in protecting the collection and to showcase some of Jacobi’s most famous images, including portraits of W.E.B. DuBois, Albert Einstein, Robert Frost, Billie Holliday, and J.D. Salinger, along with scenic views of New York City in the 1930s. Visitors are welcome to stop by UNHI to check out the gallery and learn more about all the innovative and exciting activity happening in the new space.
For information about licensing the Lotte Jacobi images or for general questions about the collection, please contact unh.innovation@unh.edu.

Mary Cate Flaherty
Marketing Intern