Monday, August 29, 2016


When we think of Leica, cameras are obviously an integral part of that.  Leica will be forever connected to the name of Leitz, Ernst Leitz, the founder of the company.  He was followed by his son, Ernst Leitz II and subsequently his grandson, Ernst Leitz III.  As a matter of fact, the name Ernst and Leitz are so closely connected to the Leica camera that hardly any thought is ever given if possibly there might have been other Leitz family members that were not named Ernst.

There were indeed and one of them was Ludwig Leitz, son of Ernst Leitz II.  He was born in 1907.  He studied math and physics and in 1939 he took over full responsibility for the entire area of development of his father’s company.  Under his leadership many patents and design innovations of the product line of the Leitz company were developed.

Ludwig Leitz II

Four generations Leitz:
Ernst Leitz II (second from left) with sons Ernst (right) and Ludwig (left)
and grandson Knut in front of a portrait of the company founder Ernst Leitz I.

He was an avid photographer and accompanied the development of the preproduction cameras, the Nullserie and the further development of the camera until 1980.  His artistic orientation strongly influenced the design of many of the Leitz products. He even hired the sculptors Adolf Great and Heinrich Janke to to work for Leitz. The high level of design showed particularly in the development of the Leica M series cameras.  Their basic design survives until this day.

This interest in design did not happen by accident.  In addition to the study of mathematics and physics Ludwig Leitz graduated in 1926 at Wollek in Vienna and 1927 as a student at Johannes Itten in Berlin. This was more often than not done in the evening hours until he finally finished his training as a sculptor.

                                        Sculpture by Ludwig Leitz                                         Atelier Ludwig Leitz

Although his artistic work often had to take a backseat to his job responsibilities, he pursued the development of contemporary art with a keen interest in.  Sketches, models and bronze casts of the sculptural works of Ludwig Leitz document his artistic aim of identifying the essence of the form of the random appearance of things.

A special experience for art lovers is a visit to the "Atelier Ludwig Leitz", which opened to the public in September of 1984.  Last year the Atelier Ludwig Leitz had a showing of a special selection of his work in commemoration of the construction of the reception building of the Leitz company 60 years ago.  Today this building is the “Neues Rathaus” (new city hall) in Wetzlar.

The Neues Rathaus (new town hall), the former Empfangsgebäude
(reception building) of Ernst Leitz GmbH.  The front door leads to
a large staircase which used to be the way to the original Leica Museum.

The work of Ludwig Leitz can be seen at the Atelier Ludwig Leitz at Laufdorfer Weg 33 A.


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