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Karlheinz Weinberger, born June 10, 1921, in Zurich, worked, from 1955 to his retirement in 1986, as inventory manager for lighting products at Siemens-Albis. From 1952 to 1967, he regularly published photographs under the pseudonym “Jim” in the magazine Der Kreis [The Circle]. In the early sixties, he traveled to Italie. He was a freelanc photographer for sport magazines and covered as a roving reporter various sports events.

After discovering the Young Rebels (“Halbstarken”) in 1958, Weinberger began depicting this first Swiss underground youth scene with a Rolleiflex 2.8n. Admirers of Elvis and James Dean, these kids and twenty-somethings disdained conformity, the mainstream, and wore jeans decorated according to personal taste with studs, badges, and huge belt buckles. After gaining access to this small but attention-grabbing fringe group, Weinberger kept his eye on it and photographed it. In time, members made their way to his home, where he sometimes gave them a place to crash, so that between 1959 and 1963, he made extraordinary images.

However, the scene changed in 1963 and the cliques broke up. Many members went mainstream and left the scene, but some became rockers forming new cliques and “gangs.” Weinberger kept in touch with them, followed them to their camps, and was invited to their club events, rocker weddings, and – frequently – funerals.

He reciprocated with invitations to his place. The men came mostly alone, finding in his pad a refuge from the police, girlfriends, and gang members, a retreat where they could let their hair down, where they drank, smoked, stripped, masturbated … and Weinberger photographed. Besides that, he listened to them, giving them sometimes advice and usually a warm meal, giving them a home. After retirement, Weinberger devoted himself full-time to these non-conformists, creating long portrait series that are of great intensity, indeed unique.

This late and by far most extensive part of his work was still unknown when in 2000, Weinberger was discovered through his first museum exhibition and the associated publication. Almost overnight he become a star on the international scene of artistic and fashion photography.

Karlheinz Weinberger died in 2006.

Solo Exhibitions

2019 : Halbstark, Karlheinz Weinberger, Kornhaus, Bern, Switzerland

2018 : Karlheinz Weinberger, Photobastei, Zürich, Switzerland

2018 : Karlheinz Weinberger, Raum für Kunst, Heuberg, Basel. In collaboration with Photo Basel, Switzerland

2017 : Karlheinz Weinberger, Swiss Rebels, Les Rencontres d’Arles, France En un círculo de rebeldes, Photo España, Madrid, Spain

Born to be wild, Festival de Merignac, France
Prismes, Paris Photo, with Galerie Esther Woerdehoff, Paris, France

2014 : Portraits, 1959-1987, Maccarone Gallery, New York, USA

2012 : The Rebels, Galerie Esther Woerdehoff, Paris, France

2012 : Oliver Mueller Gallery, Zurich, Switzerland

2012 : Intimate Stranger , Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Basel, Switzerland

2011 : Rebelles, Musée Nicéphore Niépce, Chalon sur Saône, France Intimate Stranger, Swiss institute, New York, USA

2011 : Halbstarke to Bikers in Color, Anna Kustera Gallery, New York, USA Rebels, Galerie cubus-m, Berlin, Germany

2011 : Intimate Stranger, Presentation House Gallery, North Vancouver, Canada

2008 : Karlheinz Weinberger : Vintage Prints : Belt, Jackets, Couples and More, Anna Kustera, New York, USA

2003 : Karlheinz Weinberger : Vintage Prints : Belt, Jackets, Couples and More, Nicole Klagsbrun, New York, USA Marc Foxx Gallery, Los Angeles, USA

2002 : Karlheinz Weinberger : Gelebtes Leben – eine Retrospektive (A life lived to the full – A Retrospective), Galerie Schedler, Zurich, Switzerland

2002 : Karlheinz Weinberger : Photos 1954 – 1995*, The Photographer’s Gallery, London, UK

2001 : Attitude, Scalo, New York, USA

2000 : Halbstark*, Museum für Gelstaltung, Zurich, Switzerland

1994 : Tattoos Prominenter Schweizer Tatowierer (Exhibition for the International Harley Davidson Meeting, “Easy Rider Party”), Reithalle, Egliswil, Switzerland

1993 : Tattoos Prominenter Schweizer Tatowierer, Galerie Anita Dosch, Zurich, Switzerland

1990 : Fotogalerie Siemens-Albis, Zurich, Switzerland

1987 : Tattoos meeting in Zurich, Switzerland

1986 : Fotogalerie Migros Klubschule, Zurich, Switzerland

1980 : Die Halbstarken 1955-1960 : Vor 25 Jahren als Zurich Halbstark Wurde, Fotogalerie Migros Klubschule, Zurich, Switzerland

Group exhibitions

2018 : Skin Deep, Galerie Esther Woerdehoff, Paris, France

2018 : Haute Photographie Rotterdam, Galerie Esther Woerdehoff, The Netherlands Amoureux, Hôtel & Spa La Belle Juliette, Paris, France
2018 : Kaputt, Galerie Ebensperger, Salzburg, Austria

2017 : Photo London, Galerie Esther Woerdehoff, London, UK

2016 : Paris Photo, Galerie Esther Woerdehoff, Paris, France Photo London, Galerie Esther Woerdehoff, London, UK

2014 : Oh Yeah! Popmusik in der Schweiz, Museum für Kommunikation, Bern, Switzerland

2013 : Paris Photo Los Angeles, Galerie Esther Woerdehoff, Paramount Studios, USA

2012 : [CONTRE]CULTURE / CH, Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne, Switzerland Madrid Foto, Galerie Esther Woerdehoff, Spain

2012 : Tokyo Photo, Galerie Esther Woerdehoff, Japan

2011 : Paris Photo, Galerie Esther Woerdehoff, Paris

2011 : Absentee Landlord, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, USA Notes On Notes On “camp”, Invisible-Exports, New York

2010 : Denim, 80 WSE Gallery, curator : David Rimanelli, New York, USA Male, Maureen Paley, curator : Vince Aletti, London, UK

2009 : Rachel Harrison : Consider the lobster, and other essays *, CCS Bard Hessel Museum, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, USA

2009 : Kids behaving badly, ClampArt, New York, USA

2007 : Rebel, Rebel : Remembering Karlheinz Weinberger, Anna Kustera Gallery, with Ryan McGinley, Walter Pfeiffer, Collier Schorr, New York, USA

2006 : Wrestle *, CSS Hessel Museum, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, USA

2001 : Overnight to Many Cities, 303 Gallery, curated by Collier Schorr, New York, USA

1999 : Seitenblicke. Die Schweiz 1848 bis 1998 – eine Photochronik *, Swiss National Museum, Zurich, Switzerland

1997 : A Walk on the Wild Side *, Müllerhaus, Lenzburg, Switzerland

Monographs &
major catalogues

2018 : Sport, vol. 2, published by Sturm & Drang, Zürich

2017 : Karlheinz Weinberger, edited by Esther Woerdehoff, texts by Daniela Janser, Esther Woerdehoff and Michele Cirigliano, published by Steidl

2017 : Halbstarke vol. 1, published by Sturm & Drang, Zürich

2012 : Jeans, Swiss Institute/Presentation House Gallery/Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Basel

2011 : Rebel Youth : Karlheinz Weinberger, edited by Patrik Schedler, Martynka Wawrzyniak, and Bruce Hackney published by Rizzoli, New York

2000 : Karlheinz Weinberger, Photos 1954 – 1995, edited by Ulrich Binder & Pietro Mattioli, Andreas Züst Verlag, Zurich


Banca del Gottardo, Lugano, Switzerland
Bayer, Leverkusen (permanent loan to the Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne), Switzerland
Bundesamt für Kultur, Bern, Switzerland
Art Collection Crédit Suisse, Switzerland
Art collection of the city of Zurich, Switzerland
Fotostiftung Schweiz, Winterthur, Switzerland
Marieluise Hessel Foundation, New York City, USA
Kunstverein Schaffhausen, Museum zu Allerheiligen Schaffhausen, Switzerland Kunstmuseum Thurgau, Switzerland
Graphische Sammlung der Nationalbibliothek der Schweizerischen Eidgenossenschaft, Bern, Switzerland
UBS Art Collection, Switzerland

VW, Wolfsbourg, Germany