Arnold Newman (1990-01-26)

Arnold Newman
Practice: Photography
Date of Lecture: 1990-01-26

Newman_Arnold_w01Igor Stravinsky, 1946 © Arnold Newman

Arnold Newman studied art at the University of Miami Beach (1936-1938) after which he worked as an assistant to portrait photographer Leon Perskie. In 1941 Newman moved to New York, and in 1946 he opened his own portrait studio. Newman developed the concept of ‘environmental portraiture,’ in which subjects are placed within their working or habitual settings in order to best highlight aspects of their character. His portraits of artists in particular reveal the personality of the subject without necessarily centering upon the facial features of the sitter. Celebrated examples of Newman’s working method include Piet Mondrian (1942) in his studio and Igor Stravinksy (1946) at the piano. Newman published his photographs in numerous magazines, including Harper’s Bazaar, Time, Life, Look and Fortune. His publication Faces, USA (1978) and The Great British (1979) served to compile his work documenting well-known personages culled from these respective locations.

Arnold Newman (2000) published by Taschen follows two previous retrospective publications, Artists: Portraits from Four Decades (1980) and Arnold Newman: Five Decades (1986). Taschen’s book is part of their lavish monograph series and was released as the catalog for Newman’s retrospective exhibition at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. The book showcases well-known images by Newman such as his portraits of John F. Kennedy, Harry Truman and Pablo Picasso. In 1999, the International Center of Photography in New York presented Newman with the Infinity Award for being a master of photography and held the exhibition Newman’s Gift: 60 Years of Photography, organized by the George Eastman House in Rochester.

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