Ingeborg de Beausacq

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Ingeborg de Beausacq (January 25, 1910 - July 12, 2003) was an American photographer and explorer of German origin

Ingeborg de Beausacq was born Holland on January 25, 1910, in Hattingen, Germany. Her parents were dentists. In the early 1930s, she studied medicine in Berlin, but after two years of Nazi regime, she left Germany for France. In Paris, she studied photography and sold exotic birds and fish for a living. She then met Jean de Beausacq who had participated in World War I. He did not want to experience another war and went to Brazil. Ingeborg left France on August 31, 1939 on one of the last freighters leaving for Brazil. At midnight the same day, France closed its borders and war was declared with Germany.

Ingeborg married Jean de Beausacq on her arrival in Rio de Janeiro September 23, 1939, and became a French countess by marriage.[1]

The couple soon ran out of money and to earn their living, Ingeborg turned to photography and became the foremost photographer of Rio's and Sao Paulo's society children and beauties, among them the Comtesse de Paris. Three years later, the marriage ended in separation and she had an affair with Brazilian painter and architect Flavio de Carvalho.

After the war, thanks to the American consul, she got an immigration visa and in 1948 she went to New York. A large apartment on 470 Park Avenue became her studio. Her first editorial assignment was a double spread in Town and Country. An exhibition at the Camera Club got her to Mademoiselle and other magazines.

In 1954, Ingeborg bought a virgin lot at 418 East 71 Street and built a house with her studio, a garage, an apartment for herself and one on the third floor as a "taxpayer". The construction would take nine months and she decided to travel. She first went to French Guyana to write a story about the penitentiary and the remaining convicts. Her story was published in La Suisse Illustrée and Die Woche. She then traveled upstreams the Maroni River and visited the Boni tribe villages along the river. She spent a month in a village called Enfant Perdu (lost child), sharing the village life with the natives. Later she traveled in Brazil by bus, by air, and by walking.

Back in New York, Ingeborg showed a beautiful door she had bought from the Bonis to René d'Harnoncourt, the founder of the Museum of Primitive Art. He bought it for the museum. Other art objects that she brought back from the Bonis were sold by the museum shop of the Brooklyn Museum or given to other museums. This gave her the idea of a new activity: collect primitive art objects. The owner of a New York art gallery, Julius Carlebach, suggested that she should go to New Guinea and offered to help her financially.

In 1957, Ingeborg went to New Guinea. She experienced people and places, nature and living culture. She spent 1 1/2 year in the villages along the Sepik River. She lived with the natives, sharing their life, photographed their initiation rites, wrote their history, and bought art objects.

Ingeborg left New Guinea in 1959, spent much time in Thailand, India, Pakistan, Lebanon, and Greece. In 1965, she bought and renovated an old farmhouse in Provence, France, la Gaille. It took her six years to build up the house which had no electricity nor water. She sold her New York house. At la Gaille she invited her friends and rented apartments to people from all over the world who wanted to live in a special place.

But in the long run, managing such a big property was too difficult for her, and in 1986 she donated it to the Fondation Arts & Métiers, with the condition that she could live there until her death.

Ingeborg then shared her life between La Gaille and New York where she had an apartment that she later sold and returned to Provence, from where she traveled all over the world. In 1996, she joined the Society of Woman Geographers.

Many objects Ingeborg de Beausacq brought back from her travels can be found in the museums of New York. Some of them were on display at the exhibition "Art from Oceania, Tradition and Change", of the Missouri Museum (2001-2003). An exhibition of about 20 of her photographs was organised by her friends at Goult in southern France, August 11–15, 2007.

Ingeborg de Beausacq died on July 12, 2003 in St-Didier, near Pernes-les-Fontaines in Provence, France.


  1. Belton, Robert J. (1999). "The Kootz Gallery Years" (pdf). The Theatre of the Self: The Life and Art of William Ronald. Calgary: University of Calgary Press. 39. ISBN 1895176603. Retrieved 2008-02-20. 
  • Correspondence and interviews with Mrs de Beausacq.
  • Press interviews: Camera n° 8, August 1950; Photo Magazin April 1955; Charm Photography n°2,1955; The Eastsider (New York) Nov. 24,1956; Pacific Islands Monthly June, 1957; The New York Times Aug., 1959; Australasian Post Jan.1, 1961; The American Weekly Nov. 4, 1962; Le Méridional Sept. 13, 1968

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