Who's that girl? Museum wants to identify woman from Chris Niedenthal's photo
"Who is the woman in Chris Niedenthal's famous photo? A student renting the flat, owners' daughter, friend of the family, or maybe it's her apartment?" - Wrocław Museum of Architecture asks for help in identifying the young woman from a photograph taken in early 1980s. They already follow first leads, but any help would still be welcome.
A young dark-haired woman stands on a balcony of one of the tall buildings at the so-called Wrocław Manhattan. She stands in full sun and runs fingers of her right hand through her hair, or wipes sweat off her brow. Immersed in thought, she looks straight. It's hot summer of 1982. Chris Niedenthal aims his lens at the woman.
Niedenthal, one of the most recognised photoreporters in the world, visited the capital of Lower Silesia. He roamed the city taking pictures of people, streets and architecture. "He is particularly fascinated by a group of six residential towers located between the Grunwaldzki Square and Grunwaldzki Bridge. He doesn't really know why, it's simply like no other structure he has seen so far in Wrocław" - the Museum of Architecture in Wrocław wrote in a statement.
Niedenthal manages to visit a few apartments. In one of them - Plac Grunwaldzki 6 - from a window he spots a young woman. She is on a balcony of a building on the opposite side. She is wearing a colorful dress. She attracts attention. The photoreporter presses the shutter button. That's how one of the most recognised and published photo of the Wrocław Manhattan came to existence, the Museum of Architecture in Wrocław said. And although the photo is so popular, the identity of the woman remains unknown. "A student renting the flat, owners' daughter, friend of the family, or maybe it's her apartment?" - museum staff wonder.
In order to find answers to these questions, the museum has asked for help in identifying the mysterious woman from the photo. "We're not only interested in the architecture, but also everyday life of residents. This woman represents female residents of the Grunwaldzki Square, whereas the photo is an icon of the estate" - deputy director of the museum Michał Duda said. He also admitted that were many stories and theories about the woman in the photo. "Some say it could be Jadwiga Grabowska-Hawrylak - an architect and designer of the Wrocław Manhattan. That's obviously not true, and we really want to solve the mystery of her identity" - Duda said.
The museum has already received first leads and stories which will all be verified. "A lot of work seems to be ahead because it's a detective story and it's tempting" - museum representative says. Most likely, the dark-haired woman stood on a balcony on the second floor of the number 8 building.
The search for the mysterious dark-haired woman from the picture has been sparked by a documentary "Po polsku Manhattan" telling the story of the famous Wrocław estate. Currently, an extended version of the film is being produced, with the search of for the mysterious woman as leit motif.
In 1963, architect Jadwiga Grabowska-Hawrylak was tasked with designing a residential estate that would be located at the Grunwaldzki Square. The project took 5 years during which a few versions were prepared. All shared residential and functional characteristics.
Originally the buildings were supposed to have 11 floors. Later it was decided to make them taller, in order to emphasise their big-city character.
The construction began in late 1960s, and the investors had to face many difficulties. According to an urban legend, the construction was nearly stopped and cancelled. But Polish United Workers' Party chairman Edward Gierek and a French delegation were visiting Wrocław at the time. The foreign guests were said to have been charmed with the growing buildings and allegedly that was what saved them.
Źródło: TVN24 News in English, Wrocław Museum of Architecture, tvn24.pl
Źródło zdjęcia głównego: Wrocław, lato 1982, fot. Chris Niedenthal, ©CN