The Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas, Austin, is the co-producer of the exhibition.
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Arnold Newman is unquestionably one of the finest portrait photographers of the twentieth century. Many of his studies of European and American luminaries in the arts, the sciences, politics and business have rightly been described as iconic. Martha Graham, Phillip Johnson, Marilyn Monroe, Grandma Moses, Salvador Dali, Arthur Miller, Max Ernst and Pablo Picasso are only a few of his celebrated sitters. A bold modernist with a superb sense of compositional geometry, Newman is known for a crisp, spare style which cleverly situates his subjects in context: one of his most famous studies, a portrait of Igor Stravinsky at the grand piano, is a geometric tour de force often compared with the rigor of a Mondrian (whom, incidentally, he also photographed brilliantly). Artists delighted in sitting for Newman, knowing that he would find a way to convey their sensibility in a forceful, yet always appropriate, fashion. Though Newman is righty celebrated today for his great portraiture, this has overshadowed his still lifes, architectural studies, and street scenes, though these compare well with his portraiture. Indeed, what is most interesting is the interplay of all these genres: to see Newman as only a portrait photographer is to have half the measure of the man. FEP’s exhibition will take stock of the entire range of Newman’s photographic art, showing many fine prints for the first time ever, along with contact sheets and work prints which show how he arrived at the final image. This rich and varied exhibition will surprise and delight even those who think they already have a comprehensive sense of this master photographer’s work.
A fully-illustrated catalogue is published by Thames & Hudson, London. The catalogue features articles by curator William A. Ewing, as well as by experts Arthur Ollman, David Coleman. With a preface by Todd Brandow and biographies of the artists by Corinne Currat.
Hardcover, 272 pages, with 210 illustrations