Anneliese Hager was trained as a photographer in the 1920s. She started making photograms in the 1930s. These are prints of objects that are placed directly on light-sensitive material in the dark room and are then exposed.
In 1934, Hager met the artist Karl Otto Götz, with whom she performed photographic experiments. They joined Cobra together. Her work was shown alongside that of other members of the group in the exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam in 1949. The scarcity of material during and after the Second World War was a stimulus for Hager’s creativity.
In her photographic works she combined natural and abstract shapes using a broad range of techniques. The 1947 work Untitled (Portrait A.H.) shows how she combined classic photographic techniques with cameraless photography. In the 1950s, her photograms became larger. She experimented with all kinds of materials, from fabric to liquid glue.
Hager was not only a photographer, but also a poet, writer and translator. In her best-known prose poem Die Rote Uhr (1947) she sketched the life of a woman in fleeting impressions. She also published in Meta, a magazine edited by her husband Götz. With her photographic and literary work she could not fully support herself. So she had to do several odd jobs to support her family. She later described this as a double life. A housewife during the day and an artist at night.