Exhibition: ‘André Kertész – Retrospective’ at Fotomuseum Winterthur, Zurich

Exhibition dates: 26th February – 15th May 2011


Many thankx to the Fotomuseum Winterthur, Zurich for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.




André Kertész

Elizabeth and I
Gelatin-silver print
printed in the 1960s
25.3 x 17.5 cm
Collection of Sarah Morthland, New York



André Kertész

Distortion No. 200
Gelatin-silver print
printed c. 1938/39
34.4 x 25.7 cm
Courtesy of Klever Holdings



“André Kertész is possibly the most photographic of all photographers: he sought out the play of light and shadow; he liked the concentration and overlapping of forms, of moments; and in the everyday, in banality, he recognized poetry, beauty, and even, for all his innate modesty, the “sublime.” Kertész is a photographic poet and seer, for whom it was long difficult to break into the market precisely because of his rich, chiseled iconography.

André Kertész (Budapest 1894 – 1985 New York) supported Brassaï, inspired Henri Cartier-Bresson, is considered one of the founders of photojournalism, and introduced stylistic elements into photography that can still be found in works by contemporary photographers. At heart, he was a photographer and artist in equal measure, poetic, probing, vital, independent in thought and actions. In a word, he was a master of photography, whose long period of production was very influential. Nevertheless, it took a remarkably long time for his special abilities, his poetic experimental version of photography, to find recognition in the history of photography. The three locations where he lived (Budapest, Paris, New York), his freedom, his form of “contemplative photography,” as Roland Barthes characterized it, made quick reception and categorization of his work impossible. Today, more than twenty-five years after his death, he is recognized and considered to be a central photographer of the twentieth century who crucially enriched the language of photography.

With around 250 photographs and countless magazine contributions, the retrospective at Fotomuseum Winterthur on view until May 15, 2011, allows a comprehensive view of his work. The chronological order and the major themes show what it is that makes up his photographic practice: his unique methods (in photographic postcards, in distortions), his editorial engagement (for example, in the volume Paris vu par Kertész, 1934), his passion for experimentation (with light and shadow), and the evocation of emotions, above all of melancholy and loneliness. Periods that have remained neglected or unexplored until today (his life as a soldier from 1914 – 1918, for example) are reassessed, and juxtaposed with the development of photojournalism in Paris and the distribution of his pictures in the media, with which he earned his living.

André Kertész liked to characterize himself as an “eternal amateur.” But what a virtuosic “amateur” he was; what virtuosic visual language he employed his entire life to capture the poetry of the everyday! His photographic production was closely connected to his life and psyche. Even when he seemed to be documenting something, he let himself be guided almost exclusively by feeling, by instinct, from his soul. This resulted in a body of work that he liked to compare to a “visual journal”, and about which he said, “I have never just ‘made photos’. I express myself photographically.”

Text from the Fotomuseum Winterthur website



André Kertész

Arm and Ventilator
Gelatin-silver print
printed in the 1940s-1950s
30.5 x 26.7 cm
Collection of Eric Cepotis and David Williams



André Kertész

July 3, 1979

Polaroid SX-70 original
7.9 x 7.9 cm
Courtesy of Stephen Bulger Gallery



André Kertész

Washington Square
New York, January 9, 1954
Gelatin-silver print
vintage print
12.7 x 9.2 cm
Collection of Leslie, Judith and Gabrielle Schreyer



André Kertész

Paris, 1927
Gelatin-silver print
printed in the 1970s
25.4 x 20.3 cm
Courtesy of Estate of André Kertész, New York



Fotomuseum Winterthur
Grüzenstrasse 44 + 45
Winterthur (Zürich)

Fotomuseum Winterthur website


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Dr Marcus Bunyan

Dr Marcus Bunyan is an Australian artist and writer. His work explores the boundaries of identity and place. He writes the Art Blart blog which reviews exhibitions in Melbourne, Australia and posts exhibitions from around the world. He has a Dr of Philosophy from RMIT University, Melbourne and is currently studying a Master of Art Curatorship at The University of Melbourne.

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