Posts Tagged ‘Arnold Newman


Exhibition: ‘In Focus: Sound’ at the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

Exhibition dates: 28th June – 2nd October 2022

Curator: Karen Hellman, assistant curator in the Department of Photographs.



Maker unknown (American) 'Phonograph Demonstration' about 1900-1905


Maker unknown (American)
Phonograph Demonstration
about 1900-1905
Gelatin silver print
27 × 37.1cm (10 5/8 × 14 5/8 in)
Getty Museum



“Sometimes theory leads to an over determination. Something is gained but at a price. Finding images that evoke a sound can only be saved by paying the higher price of remembering how images look when their sound is removed.”

~ Ian Lobb

From my knowledge of photography, I have added further images that I can hear … but not in the exhibition that I know of. You may like to recall other photographs that you could include in the exhibition.

Dr Marcus Bunyan

Many thankx to the J. Paul Getty Museum for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.


Though photographs are silent, photographers have long conjured sound in their images. Whether depicting crowded urban spaces, musicians performing, people engaged in conversations, or even more abstract depictions of sound, the pictures in this exhibition show photography’s power to communicate beyond the visual. The images date from the 19th century to the recent past, and in each, the audible plays as much of a role as the visual. As you look at these photographs, you are invited to imagine what you might “hear” as well.

Text from the J. Paul Getty Museum website



Florence Henri (American, 1893-1982) 'Columbia Records' 1931


Florence Henri (American, 1893-1982)
Columbia Records
Gelatin silver print
24.8 × 39.1cm (9 3/4 × 15 3/8 in)
Getty Museum
© Martini & Ronchetti, courtesy Archives Florence Henri


Gjon Mili (American born Albania, 1904-1984) 'Tap Dancer, September 29, 1949' 1949


Gjon Mili (American born Albania, 1904-1984)
Tap Dancer, September 29, 1949
Gelatin silver print
33.8 × 26cm (13 5/16 × 10 1/4 in)
Getty Museum
© Gjon Mili / The LIFE Picture Collection / Shutterstock



Photographs may be silent, but photographers have long conjured sound in their images.

Whether depicting crowded urban spaces, musicians performing, or people engaged in conversation, the pictures in this exhibition prove photography’s power to communicate beyond the visual.

Drawn from Getty’s permanent collection, In Focus: Sound, on view June 28 through September 2, 2022, unites two sensory perceptions – sight and sound – in photographs that record the visual while also imitating the audible.

“Photography and sound have more in common than one might expect,” says Karen Hellman, curator of the exhibition. “Photographs can evoke a sensory perception that they cannot actually depict. Looking at photographs while thinking about sound could provide a new way of viewing and appreciating photography.”

The 19th century saw a keen scientific and philosophical interest in reproducing ephemeral phenomena. This led to the development of the photograph as well as the phonograph. This interlinked history perhaps explains photography’s connection to sound and why photographers, even subconsciously, have endeavoured to picture it. In each image in this exhibition, which date from the 19th century to the recent past, the audible plays as much of a role as the visual.

This exhibition includes works by known and lesser-known makers from the 19th century to the recent past, including Julia Margaret Cameron, Walker Evans, Man Ray, Graciela Iturbide, Marco Breuer, Naoya Hatakeyama, and Christian Marclay.

In Focus: Sound will be on view June 28 through September 2, 2022, at the Getty Center.

Text from the J. Paul Getty Museum website


Naoya Hatakeyama (Japanese, b. 1958) 'Blast #0608' 1995


Naoya Hatakeyama (Japanese, b. 1958)
Blast #0608
Chromogenic print
Getty Museum
Gift of James N. and Susan A. Phillips
© Naoya Hatakeyama


Man Ray (American, 1890-1976) 'Record' 1933


Man Ray (American, 1890-1976)
Gelatin silver print
28.9 × 22.5cm (11 3/8 × 8 7/8 in)
Getty Museum
© Man Ray Trust ARS-ADAGP


Albert Harlingue (French,1879-1963) 'Abbot Rousselot's Collection of Tuning Forks' about 1924


Albert Harlingue (French,1879-1963)
Abbot Rousselot’s Collection of Tuning Forks
about 1924
Gelatin silver print
17.9 × 12.7cm (7 1/16 × 5 in)
Getty Museum


Julia Margaret Cameron (British born India,1815-1879) 'The Echo' 1868


Julia Margaret Cameron (British born India,1815-1879)
The Echo
Albumen silver print
27.1 × 22.7cm (10 11/16 × 8 15/16 in)
Getty Museum


Milton Rogovin (American,1909-2011) 'Storefront Churches' 1958-1961


Milton Rogovin (American,1909-2011)
Storefront Churches
Gelatin silver print
12.5 × 12cm (4 15/16 × 4 3/4 in.)
Getty Museum
Gift of Dr. John V. and Laura M. Knaus
© Milton Rogovin


Carrie Mae Weems (American, b. 1953) 'Untitled (Musical Score of "God Bless the Child")' 1995


Carrie Mae Weems (American, b. 1953)
Untitled (Musical Score of “God Bless the Child”)
From the series From Here I Saw What Happened and I Cried
Chromogenic print with sandblasted musical notations on frame glass
45.6 × 45.6cm (17 15/16 × 17 15/16 in)
Getty Museum
Gift of Mary and Dan Solomon in honour of Weston Naef
© Carrie Mae Weems


Will Connell (American, 1898-1961) 'Sound' 1936


Will Connell (American, 1898-1961)
Gelatin silver print
34.2 × 26.7cm (13 7/16 × 10 1/2 in)
Getty Museum
Gift of Trish and Jan de Bont
© Will Connell


Lisette Model (American born Austria, 1901-1983) '[Singer, Sammy's Bar, New York]' about 1940-1944


Lisette Model (American born Austria, 1901-1983)
[Singer, Sammy’s Bar, New York]
about 1940-1944
Gelatin silver print
Getty Museum
© Estate of Lisette Model, courtesy of Baudoin Lebon/Keitelman



“Bowery old-timers claim her voice has had no match for power and ferocity since Maggie Cline used to stun with “Knock ‘Em Down McCloskey”.”

The uncredited text, referring to this photograph of the bar singer known as “Tillie,” accompanied a group of Lisette Model’s photographs made at Sammy’s Bar that were reproduced in the September 1994 Harper’s Bazaar magazine. Taken from below and at a slight diagonal angle, the image captures the vitality and vibrancy of the performer belting it out on the stage at Sammy’s, a local favourite in the Bowery district of New York, also visited by photographers Weegee and Diane Arbus. The angle from which the photograph was made also emphasises the gleaming microphone, which seem to rise up to meet the challenge of projecting Tillie’s already powerful voice.

Text from the J. Paul Getty app


Ralph Eugene Meatyard (American, 1925-1972) 'Untitled ("Motion-Sound" Landscape)' Negative 1969


Ralph Eugene Meatyard (American, 1925-1972)
Untitled (“Motion-Sound” Landscape)
Negative 1969, printed 1974
Gelatin silver print
Gift of Weston J. and Mary M. Naef
©  Estate of Ralph Eugene Meatyard


Christian Marclay (American-Swiss, b. 1955) 'Untitled (Death)' 2020


Christian Marclay (American-Swiss, b. 1955)
Untitled (Death)
Chromogenic print
Courtesy of the artist, and Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco
© Christian Marclay



Further images that I can hear … but not in the exhibition that I know of

Tracey Moffatt (Australian, b. 1960) 'The Movie Star (David Gulpilil)' 1985


Tracey Moffatt (Australian, b. 1960)
The Movie Star (David Gulpilil)
Type C photograph on paper
Image: 50.7 x 77.3cm
Frame: 74.5 x 99.0cm
Gift of the artist 1998. Donated through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program
Courtesy of the artist and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney
© Tracey Moffatt


Marion Kalter (Austrian, b. 1951) 'John Cage chez Dorothea Tanning, Paris' 1979


Marion Kalter (Austrian, b. 1951)
John Cage chez Dorothea Tanning, Paris


Larry Fink (American, b. 1941) 'Studio 54' 1977


Larry Fink (American, b. 1941)
Studio 54, New York City
May 1977
Silver gelatin print


Alfred Stieglitz (American, 1864-1946) 'Songs of the Sky' 1924


Alfred Stieglitz (American, 1864-1946)
Songs of the Sky
Gelatin silver print



Alfred Stieglitz (American, 1864-1946)
Songs of the Sky
Gelatin silver print


Eva Besnyö (Dutch, 1910-2003) 'Boy With Cello, Balaton, Hungary' 1931


Eva Besnyö (Dutch, 1910-2003)
Boy With Cello, Balaton, Hungary
Gelatin silver print
42.5 x 39.2cm (16.7 x 15.4 in)


Arnold Newman (American, 1918-2006) 'Igor Stravinsky' 1945


Arnold Newman (American, 1918-2006)
Igor Stravinsky
Gelatin silver contact sheet


Santu Mofokeng (South African, b. 1956) 'Opening Song, Hand Clapping and Bells' 1986


Santu Mofokeng (South African, b. 1956)
Opening Song, Hand Clapping and Bells
From the series Train Church
Gelatin silver print
Image: 19 x 28.5cm


Minor White (American, 1908-1976) 'The Sound of One Hand Clapping, Pultneyville, New York' 1957


Minor White (American, 1908-1976)
The Sound of One Hand Clapping, Pultneyville, New York
Gelatin silver print
24.4 x 25.1cm (9 5/8 x 9 7/8 in.)
Purchased in part with funds provided by Daniel Greenberg, Susan Steinhauser, and the Greenberg Foundation
Reproduced with permission of the Minor White Archive, Princeton University Art Museum
© Trustees of Princeton University


Eugène Atget (French, 1857-1927) 'Street diversions (or B organ)' 1898-99


Eugène Atget (French, 1857-1927)
Street diversions (or B organ)
Albumen print


Walker Evans. 'Church Organ and Pews' 1936


Walker Evans (Walker Evans, 1903-1975)
Church Organ and Pews
Gelatin silver print


Robert Frank. 'Bar, Las Vegas' 1955-56


Robert Frank (Swiss-American, 1924-2019)
Bar, Las Vegas
Gelatin silver print


Robert Frank (Swiss-American, 1924-2019) 'Political Rally, Chicago' 1956


Robert Frank (Swiss-American, 1924-2019)
Political Rally, Chicago
Gelatin silver print
35.1 x 23.7cm (13 13/16 x 9 5/16 in)


André Kertész (Hungarian, 1894-1985) 'Cellist' 1916


André Kertész (Hungarian, 1894-1985)
Gelatin silver print


André Kertész (Hungarian, 1894-1985) 'Violoniste ambulant, Abony' (Traveling violinist, Abony) 1921


André Kertész (Hungarian, 1894-1985)
Violoniste ambulant, Abony
Traveling violinist, Abony
Gelatin silver print


André Kertész (Hungarian, 1894-1985) 'Eiffel Tower, Summer Storm' 1927


André Kertész (Hungarian, 1894-1985)
Eiffel Tower, Summer Storm
Gelatin silver print


Platt D Babbitt. 'Niagara Falls from the American side' whole plate daguerreotype c.1855


Platt D Babbitt (American, 1822-1879)
Niagara Falls from the American side
c. 1855
Whole plate daguerreotype


Platt D. Babbitt. '[Scene at Niagara Falls]' c. 1855


Platt D Babbitt (American, 1822-1879)
[Scene at Niagara Falls]
c. 1855


Platt D. Babbitt. 'Niagara Falls', c. 1860


Platt D Babbitt (American, 1822-1879)
Niagara Falls
c. 1860


Henri Huet (French, 1927-1971)/AP ''Life' magazine photographer Larry Burrows (far left) struggles through elephant grass and the rotor wash of an American evacuation helicopter as he helps GIs carry a wounded soldier on a stretcher from the jungle to the chopper in Mimot, Cambodia' 4 May 1970


Henri Huet (French, 1927-1971)/AP
‘Life’ magazine photographer Larry Burrows (far left) struggles through elephant grass and the rotor wash of an American evacuation helicopter as he helps GIs carry a wounded soldier on a stretcher from the jungle to the chopper in Mimot, Cambodia
4 May 1970
Gelatin silver print


Henri Huet, French (1927-1971) 'The body of an American paratrooper killed in action in the jungle near the Cambodian border is raised up to an evacuation helicopter, Vietnam' 1966


Henri Huet (French, 1927-1971)
The body of an American paratrooper killed in action in the jungle near the Cambodian border is raised up to an evacuation helicopter, Vietnam
Gelatin silver print


James Barnor (Ghanian, b. 1929) 'E. K. Nyame, the legendary Ghanaian musician, photographed for a record cover, Accra' c. 1975


James Barnor (Ghanian, b. 1929)
E. K. Nyame, the legendary Ghanaian musician, photographed for a record cover, Accra
c. 1975
Gelatin silver print



Roger Scott (Australian, b. 1944)
Ghost train
Gelatin silver print


Diane Arbus. ‘The House of Horrors’ 1961


Diane Arbus (American, 1923-1971)
The House of Horrors
Gelatin silver print


Diane Arbus (American, 1923-1971) 'A child crying, N.J.' 1967


Diane Arbus (American, 1923-1971)
A child crying, N.J.
Gelatin silver print


Stephen Shore (American, b. 1947) 'Lookout Hotel, Ogunquit, Maine, July 16, 1974'


Stephen Shore (American, b. 1947)
Lookout Hotel, Ogunquit, Maine, July 16, 1974
Chromogenic colour print, printed 2013
17 × 21 3/4 in. (43.2 × 55.2cm)
The Museum of Modern Art, New York
Acquired through the generosity of an anonymous donor
© 2017 Stephen Shore


Gordon Parks (American, 1912-2006) 'Shooting Victim in Cook County Morgue, Chicago, Illinois' 1957


Gordon Parks (American, 1912-2006)
Shooting Victim in Cook County Morgue, Chicago, Illinois
Pigmented inkjet print, printed 2019
11 7/8 × 17 15/16″ (30.1 × 45.6cm)
The Museum of Modern Art, New York
The Family of Man Fund
© 2021 Gordon Parks Foundation


Robert H. Jackson (American, born 1934) 'FATAL BULLET HITS OSWALD. Jack Ruby fires bullet point blank into the body of Lee Harvey Oswald at Dallas Police Station. Oswald grimaces in agony' November 24, 1963


Robert H. Jackson (American, born 1934)
FATAL BULLET HITS OSWALD. Jack Ruby fires bullet point blank into the body of Lee Harvey Oswald at Dallas Police Station. Oswald grimaces in agony
November 24, 1963


Robert H. Jackson (American, b. 1934) 'Jack Ruby (52) shoots Lee Harvey Oswald (24) 24 November 1963' 1963


Robert H. Jackson (American, b. 1934)
Jack Ruby (52) shoots Lee Harvey Oswald (24)
24 November 1963



Originally published in the Dallas Times Herald, November 25, 1963. Cropped from the source image to the portion that was published in 1963. Winner of the 1964 Pulitzer Prize for Photography.


Unknown photographer. 'Survivors of the atomic bomb attack of Nagasaki walk through the destruction as fire rages in the background Aug. 9 1945'


Unknown photographer
Survivors of the atomic bomb attack of Nagasaki walk through the destruction as fire rages in the background Aug. 9 1945


John Williams (1933- 2016) 'Open Air Shower, Bronte Beach' 1964


John Williams (Australian, 1933-2016)
Open Air Shower, Bronte Beach
Gelatin silver print


Dorothea Lange (American, 1895-1965) 'Man Stepping from Cable Car, San Francisco' 1956


Dorothea Lange (American, 1895-1965)
Man Stepping from Cable Car, San Francisco
Gelatin silver print


Ansel Adams (American, 1902-1984) 'Upper Yosemite Fall' 1946


Ansel Adams (American, 1902-1984)
Upper Yosemite Fall
Gelatin silver print


Ansel Adams (American, 1902-1984) 'Nevada Fall Profile' 1946


Ansel Adams (American, 1902-1984)
Nevada Fall Profile
Gelatin silver print



Kaho Yu (Australian)
Untitled from the series Infinitesimal Residual Vibration of An Unknown Sound



Kaho Yu (Australian)
Untitled from the series Infinitesimal Residual Vibration of An Unknown Sound



The photographs in this series were taken during a period when I was feeling existentially bored. Instead of distracting myself with activities and accumulating new sensations, I decided to “look” at boredom, to study, and perhaps to understand it. The most natural strategy was to observe the immediate environments where my daily activities take place – train stations, cubicles, copy machines room, etc. I carried a medium format camera on a tripod and spent the odd hours wandering alone through those familiar spaces.

My “study” did not lead me to any revelation or answer. Instead, I found myself spending a lot of time waiting in a long silence, between the opening and the closing of the camera shutter.

Charles Babbage, a scientist in 1837, postulated that every voice and sound, once imparted on the air particles, does not dissipate but remains in the diffused movements of all the particles in the atmosphere. Thus, there might one day come a person equipped with the right mathematical knowledge of these motions who will be able to capture the infinitesimal vibrations and to trace back to their ultimate source.

Taking a long exposure, letting the light slowly accumulate an image on the celluloid surface, to me, is not unlike a sound seeker searching in the air particles, for the tiny residual movements that have been conveyed through the history of mankind, from the beginning of time.

Kaho Yu artist statement


… i listen to the wind that obliterates my traces




… i listen to the wind that obliterates my traces brings together a collection of early photographs related to music, a group of 78rpm recordings, and short excerpts from various literary sources that are contemporary with the sound and images. It is a somewhat intuitive gathering, culled from artist Steve Roden’s collection of thousands of vernacular photographs related to music, sound, and listening. The subjects range from the PT Barnum-esque Professor McRea – “Ontario’s Musical Wonder” (pictured with his complex sculptural one man band contraption) – to anonymous African-American guitar players and images of early phonographs. The images range from professional portraits to ethereal, accidental, double exposures – and include a range of photographic print processes, such as tintypes, ambrotypes, cdvs, cabinet cards, real photo postcards, albumen prints, and turn-of-the-century snapshots.

The two CDs display a variety of recordings, including one-off amateur recordings, regular commercial releases, and early sound effects records. there is no narrative structure to the book, but the collision of literary quotes (Hamsun, Lagarkvist, Wordsworth, Nabokov, etc.). Recordings and images conspire towards a consistent mood that is anchored by the book’s title, which binds such disparate things as an early recording of an American cowboy ballad, a poem by a Swedish Nobel laureate, a recording of crickets created artificially, and an image of an itinerant anonymous woman sitting in a field, playing a guitar. The book also contains an essay by Roden.

Text from the Dust to Digital website Nd [Online] Cited 23/07/2022. Published by Dust-to-Digital, 2011. The book is out of stock but available on website.


'... i listen to the wind that obliterates my traces' book cover (2011)


… i listen to the wind that obliterates my traces book cover (2011)



The J. Paul Getty Museum
1200 Getty Center Drive
Los Angeles, California 90049

Opening hours:
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The J. Paul Getty Museum website


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Exhibition: ‘Face to Face: Portraits of Artists’ at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Exhibition dates: 26th June – 14th October 2018


Arnold Newman (American, 1918-2006) 'Isamu Noguchi' c. 1941-1945


Arnold Newman (American, 1918-2006)
Isamu Noguchi
c. 1941-1945
Gelatin silver print
Image: 7 7/16 × 9 1/2 inches
Sheet: 7 15/16 × 10 inches
Mount (primary): 9 × 11 inches
Mount (secondary): 16 15/16 × 13 7/8 inches
Philadelphia Museum of Art: Gift of R. Sturgis and Marion B. F. Ingersoll, 1945



Isamu Noguchi (野口 勇 Noguchi Isamu, November 17, 1904-December 30, 1988) was a Japanese American artist and landscape architect whose artistic career spanned six decades, from the 1920s onward. Known for his sculpture and public works, Noguchi also designed stage sets for various Martha Graham productions, and several mass-produced lamps and furniture pieces, some of which are still manufactured and sold.

In 1947, Noguchi began a collaboration with the Herman Miller company, when he joined with George Nelson, Paul László and Charles Eames to produce a catalog containing what is often considered to be the most influential body of modern furniture ever produced, including the iconic Noguchi table which remains in production today. His work lives on around the world and at the Noguchi Museum in New York City. …

Upon his return to New York, Noguchi took a new studio in Greenwich Village. Throughout the 1940s, Noguchi’s sculpture drew from the ongoing surrealist movement; these works include not only various mixed-media constructions and landscape reliefs, but lunars – self-illuminating reliefs – and a series of biomorphic sculptures made of interlocking slabs. The most famous of these assembled-slab works, Kouros, was first shown in a September 1946 exhibition, helping to cement his place in the New York art scene.

Text from the Wikipedia website



No much to see here. A couple of interesting images but other than that the images are stylised and static, offering little insight into the “public personas of their creative subjects.” I have added biographical information to the posting to add some context to the photographs.

Dr Marcus Bunyan

Many thankx to the Philadelphia Museum of Art for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.


Billie Holiday with her pit bull. Jacob Lawrence in his Coast Guard uniform. Georgia O’Keeffe with her Model A Ford. See how photographers helped craft the public personas of their creative subjects in this stunning collection of rare photographs from the Museum’s collection. The exhibition features works by Dorothy Norman, Man Ray, Richard Avedon, Alice O’Malley, and many others who captured some of the most fascinating artists and performers of the past 150 years.



Arnold Newman (American, 1918-2006) 'Jacob Lawrence' 1944


Arnold Newman (American, 1918-2006)
Jacob Lawrence
Gelatin silver print
Image and sheet: 9 1/2 × 4 inches
Sheet: 16 9/16 × 13 11/16 inches
Philadelphia Museum of Art: Gift of R. Sturgis and Marion B. F. Ingersoll, 1945



Jacob Lawrence (September 7, 1917 – June 9, 2000) was an African-American painter known for his portrayal of African-American life. As well as a painter, storyteller, and interpreter, he was an educator. Lawrence referred to his style as “dynamic cubism”, though by his own account the primary influence was not so much French art as the shapes and colours of Harlem. He brought the African-American experience to life using blacks and browns juxtaposed with vivid colours. He also taught and spent 15 years as a professor at the University of Washington.

Lawrence is among the best-known 20th-century African-American painters. He was 25 years old when he gained national recognition with his 60-panel Migration Series, painted on cardboard. The series depicted the Great Migration of African-Americans from the rural South to the urban North. A part of this series was featured in a 1941 issue of Fortune. The collection is now held by two museums: the odd-numbered paintings are on exhibit in the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., and the even-numbered are on display at MoMA in New York. Lawrence’s works are in the permanent collections of numerous museums, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum, the Phillips Collection, Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum, and Reynolda House Museum of American Art. He is widely known for his modernist illustrations of everyday life as well as epic narratives of African American history and historical figures

Text from the Wikipedia website


Arnold Newman (1918-2006) 'Milton Avery' 1944


Arnold Newman (American, 1918-2006)
Milton Avery
Gelatin silver print
Image and sheet: 7 11/16 × 9 11/16 inches
Mount: 16 15/16 × 14 inches
Philadelphia Museum of Art: Gift of R. Sturgis and Marion B. F. Ingersoll, 1945



Milton Clark Avery (March 7, 1885 – January 3, 1965) was an American modern painter. Born in Altmar, New York, he moved to Connecticut in 1898 and later to New York City. According to painter Mark Rothko,

“What was Avery’s repertoire? His living room, Central Park, his wife Sally, his daughter March, the beaches and mountains where they summered; cows, fish heads, the flight of birds; his friends and whatever world strayed through his studio: a domestic, unheroic cast. But from these there have been fashioned great canvases, that far from the casual and transitory implications of the subjects, have always a gripping lyricism, and often achieve the permanence and monumentality of Egypt.”

Art critic Hilton Kramer said, “He was, without question, our greatest colourist… Among his European contemporaries, only Matisse – to whose art he owed much, of course – produced a greater achievement in this respect.”

Text from the Wikipedia website


Arnold Abner Newman (3 March 1918 – June 6, 2006) was an American photographer, noted for his “environmental portraits” of artists and politicians. He was also known for his carefully composed abstract still life images. …

Newman found his vision in the empathy he felt for artists and their work. Although he photographed many personalities – Marlene Dietrich, John F. Kennedy, Harry S. Truman, Piet Mondrian, Pablo Picasso, Arthur Miller, Marilyn Monroe, Ronald Reagan, Mickey Mantle, and Audrey Hepburn – he maintained that even if the subject is not known, or is already forgotten, the photograph itself must still excite and interest the viewer.

Newman is often credited with being the first photographer to use so-called environmental portraiture, in which the photographer places the subject in a carefully controlled setting to capture the essence of the individual’s life and work. Newman normally captured his subjects in their most familiar surroundings with representative visual elements showing their professions and personalities. A musician for instance might be photographed in their recording studio or on stage, a Senator or other politician in their office or a representative building. Using a large-format camera and tripod, he worked to record every detail of a scene.

“I didn’t just want to make a photograph with some things in the background,” Newman told American Photo magazine in an interview. “The surroundings had to add to the composition and the understanding of the person. No matter who the subject was, it had to be an interesting photograph. Just to simply do a portrait of a famous person doesn’t mean a thing.”

Text from the Wikipedia website



This summer, the Philadelphia Museum of Art presents a unique selection of photographic portraits of artists, from the French painter Henri Matisse to American writer Eudora Welty and the great jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald as well as many other figures in the world of the visual, literary, performing arts. Ranging in date from the late nineteenth century to the present, the compelling images in Face to Face reveal the expressive ways in which artists have used photography not only to portray their subjects but also to promote or shape their own celebrity. Many of the photographs in this exhibition represent artists whose work can be seen in Modern Times: American Art 1910-1950, on view concurrently at the Museum. Among these are portraits of Berenice Abbott, George Biddle, Arthur B. Carles, Jacob Lawrence, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Alfred Stieglitz.

Of special note are several groups of pictures of artists, such as Marcel Duchamp, Thomas Eakins, Frida Kahlo, O’Keeffe and Stieglitz, who skilfully crafted their public personae through photography. Stieglitz and O’Keeffe realised the power of photographs to shape their public reputation, and over time were the subjects of many portraits. By contrast, most of the images of Kahlo in the Museum’s collection are from a single session with her art dealer and friend Julien Levy, who produced what appears to be a collaborative and intimate exploration of her artistic identity. Another photograph from this same session, recently discovered, shows Levy’s future wife, Muriel Streeter, wearing some of Kahlo’s clothes, adding another dimension to this intriguing series.

Consisting of over one hundred works, the exhibition is centred around two groups of portraits by Arnold Newman and Carl Van Vechten that are foundational to the Museum’s photography collection. Newman’s portraits were featured in the Museum’s inaugural photography exhibition in 1945, titled Artists Look Like This. Among the subjects depicted are such well-known figures as cartoonist Saul Steinberg and painter Piet Mondrian, as well as illustrator Peggy Bacon and painter Robert Gwathmey. The sitters captured by Van Vechten – a novelist and artistic patron who photographed those he knew well – include Ella Fitzgerald and Zora Neale Hurston, Bessie Smith and Ethel Waters. Writer James Baldwin, sculptor Richmond Barthé and painter Aaron Douglas are also highlights of this group.

Peter Barberie, The Brodsky Curator of Photographs, Alfred Stieglitz Center, said: “We are delighted to share these portraits of some of the most creative people of the past century and to take this opportunity to explore an important aspect of our collection.”

Press release from the Philadelphia Museum of Art website


Carl Van Vechten (American, 1880-1964) 'Zora Neale Hurston' April 3, 1935


Carl Van Vechten (American, 1880-1964)
Zora Neale Hurston
April 3, 1935
Gelatin silver print
Image and sheet: 9 5/8 × 7 1/8 inches
Philadelphia Museum of Art: Gift of John Mark Lutz, 1965



Zora Neale Hurston (January 7, 1891 – January 28, 1960) was an influential author of African-American literature and anthropologist, who portrayed racial struggles in the early 20th century American South, and published research on Haitian voodoo. Of Hurston’s four novels and more than 50 published short stories, plays, and essays, her most popular is the 1937 novel Their Eyes Were Watching God.

Hurston was born in Notasulga, Alabama, and moved to Eatonville, Florida, with her family in 1894. Eatonville would become the setting for many of her stories and is now the site of the Zora! Festival, held each year in Hurston’s honour. In her early career, Hurston conducted anthropological and ethnographic research while attending Barnard College. While in New York she became a central figure of the Harlem Renaissance. Her short satires, drawing from the African-American experience and racial division, were published in anthologies such as The New Negro and Fire!! After moving back to Florida, Hurston published her literary anthropology on African-American folklore in North Florida, Mules and Men (1935) and her first three novels: Jonah’s Gourd Vine (1934); Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937); and Moses, Man of the Mountain (1939). Also published during this time was Tell My Horse: Voodoo and Life in Haiti and Jamaica (1938), documenting her research on rituals in Jamaica and Haiti.

Hurston’s works touched on the African-American experience and her struggles as an African-American woman. Her novels went relatively unrecognised by the literary world for decades, but interest revived after author Alice Walker published “In Search of Zora Neale Hurston” in the March 1975 issue of Ms. Magazine. Hurston’s manuscript Every Tongue Got to Confess (2001), a collection of folktales gathered in the 1920s, was published posthumously after being discovered in the Smithsonian archives. Her nonfiction book Barracoon was published posthumously in 2018.

Text from the Wikipedia website


Carl Van Vechten (American, 1880-1964) 'Ella Fitzgerald' January 19, 1940


Carl Van Vechten (American, 1880-1964)
Ella Fitzgerald
January 19, 1940
Gelatin silver print
Image and sheet: 9 15/16 × 7 15/16 inches
Philadelphia Museum of Art: Gift of John Mark Lutz, 1965



Carl Van Vechten (June 17, 1880 – December 21, 1964) was an American writer and artistic photographer who was a patron of the Harlem Renaissance and the literary executor of Gertrude Stein. He gained fame as a writer, and notoriety as well, for his novel Nigger Heaven. In his later years, he took up photography and took many portraits of notable people. Although he was married to women for most of his adult life, Van Vechten engaged in numerous homosexual affairs over his lifetime.

By the start of the 1930s and at age 50, Van Vechten was finished with writing and took up photography, using his apartment at 150 West 55th Street as a studio, where he photographed many notable persons.

Text from the Wikipedia website


Alfred Stieglitz (American, 1864-1946) 'Georgia O'Keeffe - After Return from New Mexico' 1929


Alfred Stieglitz (American, 1864-1946)
Georgia O’Keeffe – After Return from New Mexico
Gelatin silver print
Image/Sheet/Mount: 3 1/16 × 4 11/16 inches
Mount (secondary): 13 1/2 × 10 11/16 inches
125th Anniversary Acquisition
The Alfred Stieglitz Collection, purchased with the gift (by exchange) of Dr. and Mrs. Paul Todd Makler, the Lynne and Harold Honickman Fund for Photography, the Alice Newton Osborn Fund, and the Lola Downin Peck Fund, with funds contributed by Mr. and Mrs. John J. F. Sherrerd, Lynne and Harold Honickman, John J. Medveckis, and M. Todd Cooke, and gift of The Georgia O’Keeffe Foundation, 1997


Peter A. Juley & Son (American) 'Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo with Lucile and Arnold Blanch at Coyoacán' c. 1930


Peter A. Juley & Son (American)
Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo with Lucile and Arnold Blanch at Coyoacán
c. 1930
Gelatin silver print
Image and sheet: 9 1/2 x 7 1/2 inches
Philadelphia Museum of Art: Gift of Carl Zigrosser, 1975



Peter A. Juley & Son collection at The Smithsonian

The Juleys photographed the work of turn-of-the-century painters such as Childe Hassam, Thomas Eakins, and Albert Pinkham Ryder; ash can school artists such as Robert Henri and John Sloan; the avant-garde group associated with Alfred Stieglitz; regionalists of the 1930 and 1940s such as Thomas Hart Benton and Grant Wood; abstract expressionists such as Hans Hoffman and Robert Motherwell; and sculptors such as Daniel Chester French and William Zorach.

The Juley collection also holds some 4,700 photographic portraits of artists. These images capture some of the best-known artists of the twentieth century, including Thomas Hart Benton, Alexander Calder, Stuart Davis, Edward Hopper, Frida Kahlo, Jacob Lawrence, Barnett Newman, Diego Rivera, and Grant Wood. Many of the portraits depict artists at work in their studios or at home with their families and offer glimpses into the artistic and social climate of the period.

Group photography by the Juley firm records the histories of the National Academy of Design and Art Students League and documents important summer art colonies at Provincetown, Massachusetts; Woodstock, New York; Old Lyme, Connecticut; and Ogunquit, Maine. In addition to the negatives produced by the Juley’s, the firm also acquired valuable negatives from other fine arts photographers, including Myra Albert, A. B. Bogart, George C. Cox, Walter Russell, A. E. Sproul, and De Witt Ward, to broaden its holdings.

Text from The Smithsonian Institution website


Man Ray (American, 1890-1976) 'George Biddle Painting a Portrait of Man Ray' 1941


Man Ray (American, 1890-1976)
George Biddle Painting a Portrait of Man Ray
Gelatin silver print
Philadelphia Museum of Art
Gift of C. K. Williams, II, 2003
© Man Ray Trust / Arts Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris



George Biddle (January 24, 1885 – November 6, 1973) was an American painter, muralist and lithographer, best known for his social realism and combat art. A childhood friend of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, he played a major role in establishing the Federal Art Project (1935-1943), which employed artists under the Works Progress Administration. …

Some factors that contributed to Biddle’s artwork are the many art movements that he was involved in. Biddle was involved in “French Impressionism; the American Ashcan School; the School of Paris and Cubism during those early and exciting days when it first exploded on the world; Regionalism, the Mexican Mural Movement, and the New Deal Subsidy of Art”. He also was involved in the “post war currents of contemporary art”. Many of his works of art were contemporary. Another factor that contributed to Biddle’s artwork were his friendships with many great “painters, sculptors, and critics of the past generation and his life-long activity in behalf of fellow artists”. He borrowed many of the other artists’ styles and turned them into his own by using different techniques and images to get a different effect. Biddle believed that everyone’s life should be influenced by every “fact with which one comes in contact, until one ceases to grow or is, actually dead”. This is the reason why Biddle became such a successful American artist; he had his own style, and expressed real actual events.

Text from the Wikipedia website


Irving Penn (American, 1917-2009) 'Elsa Schiaparelli' 1948 (negative), c. 1948 (print)


Irving Penn (American, 1917-2009)
Elsa Schiaparelli
1948 (negative), c. 1948 (print)
Gelatin silver print
Image and sheet: 10 1/8 × 8 1/8 inches
Philadelphia Museum of Art: Gift of the artist, 2005



Elsa Schiaparelli (1890-1973) was an Italian fashion designer. Along with Coco Chanel, her greatest rival, she is regarded as one of the most prominent figures in fashion between the two World Wars. Starting with knitwear, Schiaparelli’s designs were heavily influenced by Surrealists like her collaborators Salvador Dalí and Jean Cocteau. Her clients included the heiress Daisy Fellowes and actress Mae West. Schiaparelli did not adapt to the changes in fashion following World War II and her couture house closed in 1954.

Text from the Wikipedia website


Sonia Katchian (American, born Lebanon, 1947) 'Muhammed Ali' 1974


Sonia Katchian (American born Lebanon, b. 1947)
Muhammed Ali
Gelatin silver print
Image: 11 7/8 x 8 inches
Sheet: 13 15/16 x 11 inches
Philadelphia Museum of Art: 125th Anniversary Acquisition. The Lynne and Harold Honickman Gift of the Julien Levy Collection, 2001



Sonia Katchian immigrated to the U.S. from Beirut, Lebanon, where she was born to Armenian parents. She is a Barnard College graduate. A New Yorker for 23 years, she was the first woman photographer hired by The N.Y. Post, was affiliated with Black Star photo agency, and was a founding member of the Soho Photo Gallery. She worked for W. Eugene Smith. In 1982 she established Photo Shuttle: Japan, moving her photo business to Tokyo, where she shuttled between NY and Tokyo for 12 years. She is currently based outside Chapel Hill, NC, where she produces fine-art portfolios, consults and shoots documentary and commercial projects – both still and video.


Dorothy Norman (American, 1905-1997) 'John Cage' 1970s


Dorothy Norman (American, 1905-1997)
John Cage
Gelatin silver print
2 15/16 × 2 3/4 inches (7.4 × 7cm)
Philadelphia Museum of Art
From the Collection of Dorothy Norman, 1984



Dorothy Norman (28 March 1905-12 April 1997) was an American photographer, writer, editor, arts patron and advocate for social change. …

Norman never worked as a professional photographer, instead capturing images of friends, loved ones and prominent figures in the arts and in politics. People she photographed include Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Thomas Mann (with his wife Katia, or Katy), John Cage, Marcel Duchamp, Bernard Berenson, Albert Einstein, Theodore Dreiser, Elia Kazan, Lewis Mumford and Sherwood Anderson. She also photographed special sites, special trees, special harbours, special churches and buildings. She detailed the interior of An American Place, Stieglitz’s last gallery. She created an extended portrait study of Stieglitz (he returned the favour by creating a similar study of Norman).

Norman’s photographic work is noted for its clarity of vision, masterful mix of light and shading, and professional-quality printing techniques. Norman chose provocative aphorisms by contemporary and historical writers, male and female, and from various cultures, to accompany the thematic groups of photographs in sections of MoMA’s world-touring exhibition The Family of Man for its curator Edward Steichen, a long-term associate of Alfred Stieglitz.

Text from the Wikipedia website


John Milton Cage Jr. (September 5, 1912 – August 12, 1992) was an American composer and music theorist. A pioneer of indeterminacy in music, electroacoustic music, and non-standard use of musical instruments, Cage was one of the leading figures of the post-war avant-garde. Critics have lauded him as one of the most influential composers of the 20th century. He was also instrumental in the development of modern dance, mostly through his association with choreographer Merce Cunningham, who was also Cage’s romantic partner for most of their lives.

Cage is perhaps best known for his 1952 composition 4’33”, which is performed in the absence of deliberate sound; musicians who present the work do nothing aside from being present for the duration specified by the title. The content of the composition is not “four minutes and 33 seconds of silence,” as is often assumed, but rather the sounds of the environment heard by the audience during performance. The work’s challenge to assumed definitions about musicianship and musical experience made it a popular and controversial topic both in musicology and the broader aesthetics of art and performance. Cage was also a pioneer of the prepared piano (a piano with its sound altered by objects placed between or on its strings or hammers), for which he wrote numerous dance-related works and a few concert pieces. The best known of these is Sonatas and Interludes (1946-1948).

Text from the Wikipedia website


Henry Horenstein (American, b. 1947) 'Mother Maybelle Carter, Lone Star Ranch, Reeds Ferry, NH' 1973


Henry Horenstein (American, b. 1947)
Mother Maybelle Carter, Lone Star Ranch, Reeds Ferry, NH
Gelatin silver print
9 × 5 15/16 inches (22.9 × 15.1cm)
Philadelphia Museum of Art
Purchased with funds contributed in memory of Judith Taylor, 2013



Henry Horenstein (born 1947, New Bedford, Massachusetts) is an American artist / photographer. He studied history at the University of Chicago and earned his BFA and MFA at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), where he is now professor of photography. He has worked as a professional photographer, teacher, and author since the early 1970s. A student of photographers / teachers Harry Callahan, Aaron Siskind, and Minor White, Horenstein is the author of over 30 books, including a series of instructional textbooks that have been used by hundreds of thousands of photography students over the past 40 years.

“Mother” Maybelle Carter (born Maybelle Addington; May 10, 1909 – October 23, 1978) was an American country musician. She is best known as a member of the historic Carter Family act in the 1920s and 1930s and also as a member of Mother Maybelle and the Carter Sisters.

Texts from the Wikipedia website



Philadelphia Museum of Art
26th Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Philadelphia, PA 19130

Opening hours:
Tuesday – Sunday: 10am – 5pm

Philadelphia Museum of Art website


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Exhibition: ‘Arnold Newman: Masterclass’ at the Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin

Exhibition dates: 12th February – 12th May 2013


Many thankx to the Harry Ransom Center for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.



Arnold Newman Masterclass


Installation view of the exhibition 'Arnold Newman: Masterclass' at the Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin

Installation view of the exhibition 'Arnold Newman: Masterclass' at the Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin


Installation views of Arnold Newman: Masterclass at the Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin
Photos by Pete Smith
Images courtesy of Harry Ransom Center


Arnold Newman. 'Dr. Edwin H. Land with group of Polaroid Employees, Polaroid warehouse in Needham, Mass.,' 1977


Arnold Newman (American, 1918-2006)
Dr. Edwin H. Land with group of Polaroid Employees, Polaroid warehouse in Needham, Mass.,
Gelatin silver print
© 1977 Arnold Newman / Getty Images


Arnold Newman. 'Truman Capote, writer, New York' 1977


Arnold Newman (American, 1918-2006)
Truman Capote, writer, New York
Gelatin silver print
© Arnold Newman / Getty Images



“The thing is, with Penn or Avedon, they control totally the situation in the studio, and I’m always taking a chance, wherever I go.”

“What’s the truth in a portrait? Who do you believe? Sometimes you cannot determine this in just one picture… The only way to determine whether you believe it or not is to look at my other pictures.”

“Form, feeling … structure and detail … technique and sensibility: it must all come together.”

Arnold Newman



Arnold Newman: Masterclass, the first posthumous retrospective of Arnold Newman (1918-2006), explores the career of one of the finest portrait photographers of the 20th century. The Harry Ransom Center, which holds the Arnold Newman archive, hosts the exhibition’s first U.S. showing February 12 – May 12, 2013.

The show, curated by FEP’s William Ewing, highlights 200 framed vintage prints covering Newman’s career, selected from the Arnold and Augusta Newman Foundation and the collections of major American museums and private collectors. Twenty-eight photographs from the Ransom Center’s Newman archive are featured in the exhibition.

“This retrospective is a real occasion for a reappraisal,” said Todd Brandow, founding director of FEP. “Newman was a great teacher, and he loved sharing his knowledge. It was these ‘lessons’ that led us to the concept of ‘Masterclass,’ the idea that, even posthumously, Newman could go on teaching all of us – whether connoisseurs or neophytes – a great deal.”

A bold modernist with a superb sense of compositional geometry, Newman, called the father of ‘environmental portraiture,’ is known for a crisp, spare style that placed his subjects in the context of their work environments. The exhibition includes work prints, prints with crop marks, rough prints with printing instructions and variants that reveal Newman’s process and attention to detail. “For me the professional studio is a sterile world,” said Newman in a 1991 interview. “I need to get out: Be with people where they’re at home. I can’t photograph ‘the soul,’ but I can show and tell you something fundamental about them.”

“Newman was never comfortable with the environmental term, and the backgrounds of Newman’s portraits would never be secondary aspects of his compositions,” said Ewing. “He had a masterful command of both sitter and setting.”

His subjects included world leaders, authors, artists, musicians and scientists – Pablo Picasso in his studio; Igor Stravinsky sitting at the piano; Truman Capote lounging on his sofa; and Otto Frank, father of Anne Frank, in the attic where his family hid from the Nazis for more than two years.

The exhibition takes stock of the entire range of Newman’s photographic art, showing many fine prints for the first time. The exhibition also includes Newman’s lesser-known and rarely exhibited still lifes, architectural studies, cityscapes and earliest portraits. While at the Ransom Center, the exhibition will be supplemented with holdings from the Center’s Newman archive, which contains all of Newman’s negatives, slides and colour transparencies, all of his original contact sheets and more than 2,000 prints, including examples of colour and collage work. The collection also includes Newman’s original sittings books, correspondence and business files, early sketchbooks and photographic albums.

Press release from the Harry Ransom Center website


Arnold Newman. 'Violin shop : patterns on table, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania' 1941


Arnold Newman (American, 1918-2006)
Violin shop: patterns on table, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Gelatin silver print
© 1941 Arnold Newman / Getty Images


Arnold Newman. 'Igor Stravinsky' 1945


Arnold Newman (American, 1918-2006)
Igor Stravinsky
Contact sheet of four negatives with Newman’s marks and cropping lines
Image courtesy of Harry Ransom Center



Cropping was also a practice Newman valued highly. His edges were determined with minute precision. Trained as a painter, Newman never had doubts about the virtues of cropping. His famed Stravinsky portrait would not have a fraction of its power without the stringent crop. As for printing, Newman was equally meticulous. He trusted few assistants, and those he did trust found that he would not accept a final print unless it was flawless in execution. (Wall text)

“Oh, people set up these nonsensical rules and regulations. You can’t crop, you can’t dodge your print, etc, etc., … But the great photographers that these people admire all did that!” (Wall text)


Arnold Newman. 'Twyla Tharp, dancer and filmmaker, New York' 1987


Arnold Newman (American, 1918-2006)
Twyla Tharp, dancer and filmmaker, New York
Gelatin silver print
© Arnold Newman / Getty Images




Many of Newman’s photographs show confident people, posing proudly before their accomplishments, directly engaging the viewer. But many betray a certain réticence – fragility, a hint of vulnerability, or doubt. Newman was aware that a successful artist’s career was not all roses – thorns were encountered along the path. He also regarded the act of portraiture was necessarily collaborative, or transactional; each side had their own kind of power – the sitter could resist the control of the photographer, the photographer could expose the sitter in an unflattering light. A successful portrait had to negotiate this psychological uncertainty. Sometimes Newman wanted to show supreme confidence as the mark of the man; at other times he wanted to show chinks in the armour.

“You show a certain kind of empathy with the subject – I don’t want to use the word ‘sympathy’, but you sort of let them know you’re on their side.” (Wall text)


Arnold Newman. 'Larry Rivers, painter, South Hampton, New York' 1975


Arnold Newman (American, 1918-2006)
Larry Rivers, painter, South Hampton, New York
Gelatin silver print
© 1975 Arnold Newman / Getty Images



During the second half of the 20th Century, there was no portrait photographer as productive, creative and successful as Arnold Newman. For almost seven decades Newman applied himself to his art and craft, never for a moment losing his zest for experimentation. His work was published in the most influential magazines of the day, and he was much interviewed, much quoted, and much respected. Several major solo exhibitions paid homage to his achievements during his lifetime, and his work can be found in many of the world’s most prestigious photography collections. No historical overview of portraiture would be complete without one or two Newman masterpieces, nor could any general history of the medium safely leave out his superb Stravinsky, Mondrian or Graham.

Surprisingly, many of Newman’s superb portraits have never been shown or published. This, his first posthumous retrospective, features a wide variety of such photographs. Moreover, it includes cityscapes, documentary photographs and still lifes that have rarely if even been exhibited. Even people already familiar with Newman’s work will find scores of unexpected images, rivalling the work the ‘icons’ they admire. Newman was never happy with the label, often applied, of ‘father of environmental portraiture’. He argued that his portraits were much more than simple records showing artists posing in their studios; there was a symbolic aspect too, and an emotional / psychological element, both fundamental to his approach. He asked critics to ignore all labels, and judge his portraits simply as they would any photographs.

Newman was also a great teacher, and he loved to share his knowledge and skills with aspiring photographers. As with all great artists, the pictures he made seem effortless, natural, but in fact they were the result of careful prior planning. Newman applied the same rigour to selecting the best of his ‘takes’, cropping them precisely, and then printing them with supreme skill. Highly self-critical, he admitted: “I was always my own worst art director.”

With Masterclass, we have endeavoured to give viewers some insights into Newman’s approach. Work prints, prints with crop marks, rough prints with printing instructions, and variants reveal Newman’s great attention to detail and careful consideration of every aspect of the photographic art.

William A. Ewing


Arnold Newman. 'Salvador Dalí, painter, New York' 1951


Arnold Newman (American, 1918-2006)
Salvador Dalí, painter, New York
Gelatin silver print
© Arnold Newman / Getty Images




One of Newman’s favourite strategies was to place the sitters in front of his or her own work. They seem to be saying: ‘Here is my work. This is what I do’. Architects pose beside buildings and models, a test pilot beside his jet, a photographer in front of his prints, a furniture designer in his chair, scientists in front of their equations… At first glance, the pictures appear natural, giving the impression that Newman had surprised his subjects at work, but in fact the set-ups were meticulous.

In the hands of a lesser talent, such a technique could have developed into a routine uniformity, but Newman’s curiosity and genuine interest in his subjects’ work guaranteed a freshness to his portraiture, year after year. To maintain freshness, Newman advised aspiring portrait photographers to do what he did: read up about the subject beforehand, know what he or she has achieved. You will then quickly spot which elements in the environment will be useful.


Arnold Newman. 'Notes on Artist's' [sic] series c. 1942


Arnold Newman (American, 1918-2006)
Notes on Artist’s [sic] series
c. 1942
Image courtesy of Harry Ransom Center


Newman writes about his encounters with artists in New York City, describing his first meeting with Alfred Stieglitz.


Arnold Newman. 'Alfred Stieglitz in his An American Place Gallery, 1944' 1944


Arnold Newman (American, 1918-2006)
Alfred Stieglitz in his An American Place Gallery, 1944
Contact print
Image courtesy of Harry Ransom Center




Newman preferred natural light, with ‘all its delightful, infinite varieties, indoors and out’. However, he felt that restricting oneself only to natural light had become a religion for many photographers, and artificial light was a taboo. Newman was pragmatic: if there wasn’t enough light to take the picture, he argued, it should be augmented; if it wasn’t the ‘right’ kind of light for the interpretation he desired, artificial lighting should be added. It was never a question of either/or. Newman often used spots and reflectors, but felt that strobes should be used only when absolutely necessary. Lighting effects in a Newman portrait are often subtle and sometimes dramatic. But they are always appropriate, and never excessive. (Wall text)


Arnold Newman. 'Pablo Picasso, painter, sculptor and printmaker, Vallauris, France' 1954


Arnold Newman (American, 1918-2006)
Pablo Picasso, painter, sculptor and printmaker, Vallauris, France
Gelatin silver print
© Arnold Newman / Getty Images




Newman might take 10, 20, 30 and in special cases even more than 50 individual photographs of a sitter, making minor adjustments each time. Sometimes the differences between the frames would be minuscule, though highly significant. We see this in two frames of Picasso: in Frame 54 (note that this one was used in several publications in error), we see that the artist seems distracted – his eyes are not focused, while his mouth is pinched, and his hand is placed awkwardly. In Frame 57, all these deficiencies have been corrected. (Wall text)


Arnold Newman. 'Piet Mondrian, painter, New York' 1942


Arnold Newman (American, 1918-2006)
Piet Mondrian, painter, New York
Gelatin silver print
© Arnold Newman / Getty Images




Newman never liked to work in a studio, preferring to see where and how his subjects worked and lived. Dance studios, home libraries, classrooms, offices, living rooms, gardens, the street, and even, on occasion, a vast urban panorama were settings he employed. Particularly close to painters in spirit, he was stimulated by the raw materials, the paintings or sculptures in progress, and even the general clutter he found in their studios. He liked the challenge of having to make quick decisions based on what he saw around him, and argued that this spontaneous approach was much harder – and riskier – than working in his own studio, where everything was familiar and tested. By focusing on a sitter’s habitat, Newman felt that he was providing more than a striking likeness – he was revealing personality and character not through physiognomy (the principle of classic portraiture) but through the things artists gathered around them.

“For me the professional studio is a sterile world. I need to get out; be with people where they’re at home. I can’t photograph ‘the soul’ but I can show tell you something fundamental about them.” (Wall text)


Arnold Newman. 'Alexander Calder, sculptor, New York' 1943


Arnold Newman (American, 1918-2006)
Alexander Calder, sculptor, New York
Gelatin silver print
© Arnold Newman / Getty Images


Arnold Newman. 'Palm Beach, Florida' 1986


Arnold Newman (American, 1918-2006)
Palm Beach, Florida
Gelatin silver print
© 1986 Arnold Newman / Getty Images




From his earliest days with the camera, Newman loved the geometry of space – with or without people. He never tired of photographing architecture that appealed to him. The linear and the curvilinear; contrasting blocks of black and white; ovals, triangles rectangles, strong diagonals… it was never just a question of making a pleasing background – like a kind of geometrically-patterned wallpaper – but rather the creation of a harmonious, dynamic whole in which the sitter was an integral part. It was Newman’s consummate skill that prevented the sitter from being merely an adjunct to the design.

“Successful portraiture is like a three-legged stool. Kick out one leg and the whole thing collapses. In other words, visual ideas combined with technological control combined with personal interpretation equals photography. Each must hold it’s own.” (Wall text)



The Harry Ransom Center
21st and Guadalupe Streets
Austin, Texas 78712
Phone: 512-471-8944

Exhibition galleries opening hours:
Tuesday – Friday 10am – 5pm
Saturday and Sunday Noon – 5pm
Closed Mondays

Library Reading/Viewing Rooms opening hours:
Monday – Saturday 9am – 5pm
Closed Sundays

Harry Ransom Center website


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Exhibition: ‘Acquisitions of Twentieth-Century Photography’ at the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Exhibition dates: 7th December 2010 – 14th February 2011


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



Lewis Hine. 'Don't Smoke, Visits Saloons' 1910


Lewis Hine (American, 1874-1940)
Don’t Smoke, Visits Saloons

Lewis Hine. May 1910. Wilmington, Delaware. “James Lequlla, newsboy, age 12. Selling newspapers 3 years. Average earnings 50 cents per week. Selling newspapers own choice. Earnings not needed at home. Don’t smoke. Visits saloons. Works 7 hours per day.”


Gordon Parks. 'Bessie Fontenelle and Little Richard in bed, Harlem New York' 1968


Gordon Parks (American, 1912-2006)
Bessie Fontenelle and Little Richard in bed, Harlem New York
Gelatin silver print


Helen Levitt. 'Squatting girl/spider girl, New York City' 1980


Helen Levitt (American, 1913-2009)
Squatting girl/spider girl, New York City



From 7 December, the Rijksmuseum will display a selection of 20th-century photographic works acquired in recent years with the support of Baker & McKenzie. The sponsorship from the renowned law firm has already allowed the museum to purchase more than thirty photographs, including works by László Moholy-Nagy, Bill Brandt, Robert Capa and Helen Levitt, as well as photography books by Man Ray and others. When it reopens in 2013, the Rijksmuseum will be the only museum in the Netherlands able to provide an overview of the history of photography in the Netherlands and abroad.

The most recent acquisition sponsored by Baker & McKenzie and the independent art fund Vereniging Rembrandt is a monumental photograph by Bauhaus photographer László Moholy-Nagy (1895-1946). The photograph from 1929 is a key work that marks the transition into modernity. From atop a high bridge, the Pont Transbordeur in Marseille, Moholy-Nagy pointed his camera straight down, where an almost abstract pattern of metal beams contrasted with the sailing boat passing under the bridge. Metal, bridges, machines, aeroplanes and cars formed the icons of a new era for Moholy-Nagy’s generation of artists. They were faced with advancing technology, an enormous increase in scale and mechanisation, and a faster pace of life.

The other photographs to be displayed represent a range of movements in the history of photography. Two photographs by Emil Otto Hoppé (1878-1972) will be displayed. They are both studies of form focusing first and foremost on composition, just as in the Moholy-Nagy work. It was in around 1920 that Hoppé photographed the play of light on cobblestones in New York, and the building of a metal construction in Philadelphia.

The documentary aspects of photography will also be highlighted, with magnificent portraits of a black mother and her child in a report about Harlem in the late 1960s (by Gordon Parks), and a portrait of two men in the southern ‘Cotton States’ of America during the Great Depression of the 1930s (by Peter Sekaer). As early as 1909, Lewis Hine used photography as a weapon in the struggle against injustice. Commissioned by the National Child Labour Committee he documented the child labour industry, in this case a small boy standing on the street selling newspapers.

During the 1930s, Bill Brandt published a (now famous) book on life in London at the time, from which came the photograph Sky lightens over the suburbs, which is both a study of form and documentary in nature. It shows a forest of glistening roofs, depicted in a melancholy yet realistic manner.

In 1942, Piet Mondrian was photographed in his studio by Arnold Newman, a session from which the Rijksmuseum has acquired a range of photographs. There are few portraits of Mondrian in Dutch collections, making this series particularly special.

A work by Helen Levitt is one of the few colour photographs included in the exhibition. Until the 1980s, colour photography was simply ‘not done’ and Levitt was one of the first to experiment with the method. The photograph of a girl searching for something underneath a green car is a marvellous example of composition in colour.

Press release from the Rijksmuseum website


Arnold Newman. 'Piet Mondrian, New York' 1942


Arnold Newman (American, 1918-2006)
Piet Mondrian, New York
Gelatin silver print


Emil Otto Hoppé. 'Steel construction, Philadelphia' 1926


Emil Otto Hoppé (German-born British, 1979-1942)
Steel construction, Philadelphia
Gelatin silver print


László Moholy-Nagy. 'View from Pont Transbordeur, Marseille' 1929


László Moholy-Nagy (Hungary, 1895-1946)
View from Pont Transbordeur, Marseille
Gelatin silver print



Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
Jan Luijkenstraat 1, Amsterdam

Opening hours:
Every day from 9.00 to 17.00

Rijksmuseum website


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Dr Marcus Bunyan

Dr Marcus Bunyan is an Australian artist and writer. His art work explores the boundaries of identity and place. He writes Art Blart, an art and cultural memory archive, which posts mainly photography exhibitions from around the world. He holds a Doctor of Philosophy from RMIT University, Melbourne, a Master of Arts (Fine Art Photography) from RMIT University, and a Master of Art Curatorship from the University of Melbourne.

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