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Andre Kertesz
His Life and Work
Edited by Pierre Borhan
Essays by P ierre BOLhan, Laszlo Beke,
Dominique Baque, and Jane Livingston
Kertesz \Yas above all a consistentl y fin e photograph er. "

-New York Tim es Book Review

"This beautifully printed book ... treats us to some

of the most deservedly famous street scenes, portraits,
and landscapes ever produced by a single artist. "
-Entertainment Week(y

T his important monograph is the fi rst paperback

to present a complete overview of the work of
lhm garia n photograp her Andre Kertesz (189-t-1985 ).
one of the undi sputed masters of modem photography.
Originall y published in hardcover format in 1994,
it is now in a n affordable paperback edition. Author
Pierre Borhan covers three essent ia l periods of
Kertesz 's work: Hungary (1912-1925) , F rance
(1925-1936) , and the United States (1936-1985 ).
A full sect ion is devoted to his famous 'dist-ortions.,,
and another to his color works . Each section is
prefaced by a criti cal text \vritten by a n intern ational
specialist. T his stunning book is a work of reference
and a valu able source of information, but it is also a
dramatic and luxurious trib ute to one of the masters
of twentiet h-century photography.

'' His photographs- from the in t imate views of

Was hington Sq uare ... to an unexpectedly borney image
of t he Wo rl d Trade Ce nter seen through a ra inspangled window-abound with a forgiving lyricism. "
-Wall Street Journal

Pierre Borhan 's text delineates a ll the ups and clowns

of Kertesz s career with depth a nd precision . llowever,
the eloquence of the photographs attests most clearly
to the extraordinary legacy of their creator. "
-Camera & Darkroom

' Andre Kertesz is the first comprehensive look at the

photographer's spare and striking images of Hungary,
France, a nd New York. "

-Conde !Vast Traveler

Andre Kertesz offers an impress ive look back at

Kertesz's eight-decade career, which began in Hungary
before and during the First World War. "
-Washington Post Book World
350 duotonc and 15 color photograph s

Andre Kertesz
His Life and Work

Pi crrc Borh a n

Andre Kertesz
His Life and Work

Essa ys by

Pierre Borhan
Laszlo Beke
Dominique Baque
Ja ne Li vingston

;\ Bulfin ch Press Boo k

Li1 l Ic. Bro\vn and Compa ny
Bos ton l'\cw York l_,oncl on

TC'xt cop)'l'ight 199-t by Editi ons du Seuil

Photog raphs cop~rright 199-t b~, the mini stere de Ia Culture (A FDPP ). Fraucc
Eng li sh hans lation eO]Nri g ht 199-t by Little, Brmyn and Company ( lu c.)

All rights reserved. No part of thi s book may be reprodu ced i11 a 11 y fo rm or by auv
C' IC'etroni c or mechanical mean s. in c ludin g informati011 sto ra ge and retrieval systems.
without permission i11 writ in g from tlte publisher. exce pt hy a revie\\"n who may cpiOtC'
brief passages in a review.

First Edition. 199-t

First Paperback Printing. 2000

Artistic coordination: .\'oc l Bourcier

Picture research: Noel Bourcier. E ri c Pavilion, and Bruno Vereycken
Grap hic design: Dominique Mcrigard/Tntensite
8/ack-aud-u'lu"te prints: Yvon Le Marice
Co lor prints: Publimod Photo
Retouching: Elisabeth Boissnie. Catherine Claise
7h:lllslationji"OJn the French: S heil a C laser
Al l requests to introduce the photographs of Andre Kertesz mu st be add ressed to: Mi ss ion
du patrimoiue photographiquC'. Association fran<;aisc pour Ia diffu s ion clu patrimoinP
photographique. 19. rue Rcaumur. 75003 Paris, France.

ISB:\ 0-8212-26-+8-7 (pb) / ISBN 0-8212-21-tO-X ( he)

Library of Congress Cata log Card .\'umber 9-t-7259-t

Bulfinch Press is an imprint and trademark of Little, Brown a nd Companv ( Inc.)

l'lli NTICD l1\ ITALY


The DoubLe of a Life

by Pierre Borhan

The Hungarian Period (1894-1925)


A Plwtographerfi-om Birth
by Laszlo Beke


The French Period (1925 -1 936)


Paris, Kertesz: ELective Affinities

b~ Dominique Baque

Distortions (1933)


Playing Without Cheating

by Pierre B01han

The American Period (1936-1962)


A MutuaL Misunderstanding
by Jane Livingston

The International Period (1963-1985) 273

The DoubLe of a Life, Continued: in the
Firmament of Photography
by Pierre Borhan

The Color Photographs




Chrono logy






List of Illustrations




The Double of a Life

by Pierre Borhan

orn in Budapest on July 2, 1894, to a middle

class family, Andor Kertesz, called Bandi by
those close to him, would have had a troublefree adolescence if hi s father, Lip6t, had not died of
tuberculosis in 1908, leaving his mother, Ernesztin,
\vith three children (besides Andor there were Imre,
born in 1890., and Jeno , born in 1897). Fortunately,
Ernesztin's broth er, Lip6t Hoffmann, took care of
them as a fath er would, and watched over their upbringing (though without forcing them to strictly observe Jewi sh traditions), their education, and their
entry into adult life. It was he who had Andor hired
at the stock exchange in 1912., at the end of his busin ess studies. The young man had as little taste for
this career as he had had for school. Photograph ers
are rarely good at school work. To hi s classes, to the
office, Andor preferred the ethnographic museum,
the parks, the suburbs of Budapest. To th e urban
street lights, he preferred a rural marginality. Even
as a child be liked to ''k eep pigs with the boys and
geese with the girls " 1 in Szigetbecse and to fish and
bathe in the Danube near th e property of his uncle
and his aunt. "It is there that I becam e famili a r with
country life. " 2 In Szigetbecse, at a very young age,
h e saw his first illu strated magazin es, and he was instantly taken by the pictures. There is nothing like a
sudden attraction to shape or reshape a life, and at
that moment, young Andor became a photographer.
"It was, I think , th e moment of making a decision. " 3
In any case, it was the moment of revelation ., of the
first and definitive evidence; from th en on, still without a camera , he saw everything with the eye of the
future photographer. Kertesz did not enter into photography by accident. nor by default (because of
failing in painting or another arl istic domain ). H e
entered into it direcd y, naturally.

Once he had made a lilLi e money. Andor

bou g l1t himself an ICA 4.5 x 6 ern g lass-plate ca mera (ro " hich h e would soon add a Goertz Tenaxwhich would be srolcn from him in Paris in the
Luxend10 IIrg Gard ens) and spenl hi s free t im e pho-

Slccp i ng Boy, Budapest, 1912

tographing the peasants, the Gypsies, the landscapes of the puszta, the Hungarian plains. One of
his first photogr aphs, taken in 1912, is that of a
young man asleep in a restaurant, and already the
diagonals in composition, the rhythmic balance of
form s, the tonalities, the sense of a certain familiarity, a legibility, were present. Such success would
not have been th e sign of a vocation if it had not
been followed by more than seventy years of a delicately clear-sighted , concise, unique photography
and a dozen masterpieces . Kertesz's compl eted
body of work sugges ts a relurn to these Hun garian
origin s. With hindsight, the purchase of lh e ICA
carn e ra looks like a determin ed choice., one opposed to th e wi shes of hi s fa mil y, the choi ce of a
young man promi sed to a banking or bu sin ess cateer, of a young man who did not evolve in an artistic milieu but who , rapidly, would learn everything
on hi s own , from lhe techniqu e of shootin g lo the
craft of making prints. " It is the bes t edu ca tion ..'' 4
Trying, making a mistake, trying again-hi s intentionality, quickly fulfilled by lcchnical mastery,
was that of on e who has an inn ate se nse of vi sual
se lec tion.


Other recruit s did not leave for war in 1914

And it was not by accid ent that Andor


\1 e as a Jager.
Go rz. 1914
(Ph oto taken on the eve
of rec ruitm ent )

chose a light, easily handled camera , which he used

throughout the fighting, photographing life in the
trenches. "I was twenty years old when I went to the
front. I believe that my camera very much helped me
to survive. I took photos in Poland, on the Russian
front .... " 3
H e did th e same when., wounded in 1915, his
left hand temporarily HnH sable, he was nursed in a
military hospital and convalesced first in Budapest
and then in Esztr.rgom. Among the photographs
taken during this p<~riod is that of the swimmer underwater (th e only onr rr 1nnining of a small series
that was destroyed )., which , for Kert esz himself, prefigured the '' Distortion s" of 1933 . Photographs only
appear to those \vho are ca pable of taking them .
Once peace was reestab li shed., Andor returned,
against his own wishes, to th e stock exchange, to hi s
routine, and continued to tak e photographs during
his leisure time, without really becoming accustomed

Ka lm a n Krurnp a nd Ga lo Di cie r.
Two \X'ound cd Comra des.
l ~s zlr rgo m. 19 1:)

to thi s fa lse equilibrium. It was th en , in Dunaharasz ti in 1919. th at he photographed hi s broth er

Jeno in mid-leap and the refl ection of hi s face in the
wat er. llis brother also danced like a faun for him,
and Kertesz outlined his radi a nt silhouette-like a
Gree k athletc's-on the horizon . But his job kept
him from dedicating him self to hi s passion ., and he
suffered. l-Ie tri ed to abandon offi ce work in favor of
bee keep ing and agri cultura l work but had to give
up. th e co untry being wracked by po litical upheaval:
th e co mmunists disturbed hi s pla ns. H e did spend
five weeks one summer in Abon y, out in the country
a long the Tisza., and they remained a marvelous
memory; while the bees buzzed, his full-time photography submerged everything else. In memory of
Abony is The Wandering flio linisl (1921 ). The co untry sojourn ended, Andor return ed to th e exchange,
and , un satisfi ed, he dreamed of leavin g Hungarya dream given up , blocked by filial love for hi s
moth er.
Despite the death throes of th e breakup of
the empire, despite hi s profess ional di sappointments.
the photographs Kertesz took in Budapest and in the
surrounding countryside near the Danube in Szigctbecse and Esztergom., the la nd scapes and genre
sce nes such as those of his brothers a nd fri ends (in cluding those of his beloved., F lizabeth Saly, who also
worked at the stock market), a rc ma rked no more by
suffering tl1an they are b y rebellion. lt is as if hi s usc
of the ca mera calm ed all di ssatisfaction. all suffering.
all desire for insurrection. Whether fighting in Albani a or Rumania, Andor did not view the war as a
monstrosity., nor as a determinin g historic episode in
th e destiny of his country., but rather as a collective

ll aircrll al iiH'
C:onntltsl'l' lll ll orll l'.

i><l rilill\\ .

]I) 17


adventure of men who each lived it individuall y without fe eling happi er or unhappi er th ere than rl srwhcrc, \\Tithout being heroes or victims. Kertesz did
not ca re for war myth s, for individual exmnp lcs of
courage and sacrifi ce, and did not concern him se lf
with th e spectacu lar chara cter of fighting , killing,
and des truction. Many photograph ers, who were not
them se lves soldiers, would late r, in the course of wars
to coru c, take photograph s of such atrocities-some
in orde r to make a living, others for political or moral
rea so ns. To the example of Kertesz, Larry Burrows,
Don McGullin , and James Nachtwey will be the
collnl cr-examples. In Paris Kert esz will help Hobert
Capa a nd will eve n say to Lois Crcc nJield 6 that Capa
\va s hi s " littl e child ," photographed the war as if the
State was effaced by I hose who defend ed it, and as if
it s abs urdity were swept away by the humanity the
m en broug ht to it. It was obviou s, in the co urse of
these cru cia l years. I hat Kertesz was never interested
in hi story, nor in th e events that s haped it, nor even
in th e "great meu " -that he would never be a photojournalist, not even in the manner of Bill Brandt in
London in the 193 0s, or of H en ri Cart ier-Bresso n in
lndi a , in 19-+7, upon the death of Gandhi . Ke rt esz
did 11 01 think to testify to the world , or to address a
them e. During th e war, Kertesz s howed e,rid encc o f
an immutabl e frat ernity which nothing cou ld di sturb, and he had a lready shown him self to be hos tile
to grandiloquence. " What 1 fe el, l do,"" he repeated
man y lintes. The human scale would always remain
his sca le of reference, beyond any co ncern \~ith icl eolog~' As Tlilton Kramer recaJlecl in hi s introdu cto ry
text to flungarian Jllelllories. 7 John Szarko wski
showed himself to be perspi caciou s when he said th a t
it wa s "not the epi c but the lyri c I ruth" that motivated Kertesz, dr at Kertesz retained. Th e photographs taken by Kertesz during th e war arc th ose
of a perso na l journal composed of images, not those
of a report for th e press. They con ta in nothin g so rdid
a nd nothin g grandiose. lle wa s ingenuous , whi ch wa s
innat e.
All of Kert esz's Hungarian photog raph s a re a
clrrouical of hi s life: tir e affective clement is prirnordial in thrm . Are th ose lovers, e rnbraci ng agai nst tir e
rri g lrt , facing the Danube in 1920., not he a nd E lizaIJCtlr ( I li s brothers. th e hand s of hi s mother-the
tlrrcad is autobiographicaL Th e sig ned prese nce of
the arti ~ l. berond tlr a t of the amateur., soon i111poscd
itself in Pari s., wh ere it became in co nt estab le. But Iri s
wav of ~eei u g the world . of digg ing into his ow n ex-

Lajos J\Jilhalik
" ith a Ce ll o,
l ~ sz t r rgo rn . 1 CJ 16

perie11 ce, wa s ~rl read~, very per so na l in an age when

wh a t Andor him se lf called the academ ic "sa lon photog raph. , reign ed aud " hen most photog raph s \Yere
cha racte rized bv s wreten ed mannerism s. If he offered proof of swee tness, he avoided the path eti c,
a 11d above all he did not tak e lea ve of realitv. Oue
co uld even sa ~ that he \Yas igno rant of pi ctorialism
and it s vaporo us effects. In fa ct, he did know of it,
but he rejected it. Even the prospect of an honorary
medal did not make him agree to make bromoil
print s. 'One has hi s self lodged in his belly,"' said Picasso to Teri a de: the dogmas embraced by th e partisans of the Photo-Secession \Yere not espoused by
Kertesz .
Andor wa s, nonetheless , far from b eing un cult ured: he \Yas infu sed with Hungarian values and
was embarking on an educat ion that already co nstitut ed a foundation for someone who 'vantcd to inscribe himself in I he fascinatin g world of exp ress ion.
Ke rtesz was, from the beginnin g, marked by th e aes th eti c and in s pi reel b~~ th e th emes of ' "l~lun ga rian
rea li sm," which elevated the representation of popular life, of pea sa nt life in parti cular, and national
traditions "throu g h pastoral or folkloric scenes ."' 8
Does n't " Kertesz" mean "gard ener," as Mi ch el Frizot
pointed out? lt was not so mu ch the urban landsca pes of Budapes t that interes ted him as those of
the millenia! ea rth. 1t was th e people of th e so il who
moved him the most and of whom he mad e portrait s-not th e empl oyees of the stock excha nge or
the personalit ~, o f th e city. not even Endrc Ady.
" hose poctr~' he loved. or Bela Bartok. sen sitive like
Kertesz to the reso nances of Ma g ~'ar folklore. lli s
ta stes did not , however, keep Kert esz fror11 beco ming
familiar himsc l f with Western cul ture, es pcciaJl~,


l .J'sri~;. .J unr ~(J. 19 ~.)

( eovr r)

French culture, througlt hi s rea din g of such books

and magaz ines as Hus::,ar/ik Szaza d (Twentieth Centwy). J\~yllga t (West ), and Ma (Toda._y) , headed by
Lajos Kassak. At the sa me lim e, he became aware of
a scl10o l of photograph y th a t wa s weiJ developed in
France, wh ere th e salon s and associ a I ions were \vcll
a ll end ed, a nd \vh ere large nation a l a nd internation a l
ex hibition s were organized , such as the one in 1910
that p rese nted more than two thou sa nd prints9 and
in which twelve countries pa rti cipated. In Paris
Kert esz es tablish ed him se lf still more, in terms of
form , as an innovator, but, in le nns of background ,
he was a co nservative definitiv ely attached to the ancestral values of hi s country. In the 1980s l would
see him with tears in his eyes, leafing throu gh and
commenting on Hungarian Memories. His attachment to nature, to the ea rl h and to those who farm
it, was sensual and emotional ral he r than politi cal. It
was not because Kertesz photographed peasants
rather than poor people or beggars, that he made
claims. H e did not dramatize their suffering; he
treated them with compassion, as a brother. Andor
Kertesz showed sympathy, not revolutionary fervor,
and he n ever changed, eve n in the most somber
hours of his New York life. The operators of I he
group "Travail" had aims fill ed with demands; not
Kert esz. Tic integ rated soc ial rea liti es without ha-

:vi c. .lcno, a nd Our ,\1 o th c r.

Szigetbccsr, e. 192:3


Me, Jcno., Budapest.


l ~ liwlwth


alllll ,
1 9~

ranguing the crowd or inciting it to aggression: h e

never made photograph s with a message. H e was
suspicious of all politicization: "We inhabit the earth
poetically.''-what Hi:ilderlin thought, also goes for


In Hungar~T, Kertesz ahead y saw some of his

photographs reproduced in magazines, notably in
Erdekes Ujsag (the iss ue of Ma rch 25, 1917, and the
cover of the iss ue of June 26 , 1925 ), which accorded an important place to illustrations and
which covered local life (from the navigation of the
Danube to the biography of Ady ) as well as European cultural activities. Sandra Phillips is correct in
writing that in 1900, twenty-one newspapers were
published each day in Budapest. Assuredly, Kertesz
found some of his points of referen ce in the press; it
wa s one of hi s sources of inspiration, along with certain poems, certain paintings by Lajos Tihanyi and
Gyula Zilzer, and the artistic sensibility of Elizabeth. who made beautiful embroideries. But Budapest was not enough for Kertesz, \vho \vas ready
to change languages and to confront his own "mystical rectitude.'' 1 0 with the ideas and mentalities
which had already confronted one another in
France. Andor left for Paris in September of 1925,
leaving his mother, lmre, ]e no , and Elizabeth, who
would join him as soon as h e had established himself. Fie had saved money in ord er to be able to live
for one or two years in France and to begin to make
him self known . Je no , hi s younger brother, left
shortly afterward for Argentina. Also in 1925, his
uncl e Lipot J-Joffmaon di ed. Going to Paris was., for
Kertesz, the equivalent of a declaration of intent; it
would soon evolve into a declaration of love. To
obey oneself sometim es requires force of willwhich Andor Kertesz had . Goodbye to routine;
hello , life: Andor had confidence in himself.
The dismantling of the Austro-llungarian empire was less of a determining factor for Kertesz in
making the decision to emigrate than it was for others-Fran<;ois Kollar (who became Czechoslovakian) or Emer"ic Feher (who becam e Yugoslavian ),
for example, or even perhaps Brassa"i (who became
Rumanian ). The changes to the borders did not
change Kertesz's nationality. The Hungarian s going
into exile were so numerous that Admiral Miklos
Horthy., an anti-Semite., inaugurated a dictatorship .
Ergy Landau left in 1923., Robert Capa in 1931 .
Kertesz wanted to leave Budapest even before the

political situation deteriorated . By 1925 his mother

could no longer hold him, finally admitting that
Andor's destiny would necessitate their separation
and hi s removal to a city of liberty, of intellectual effervescence, of creative rivalry-to Paris , a homeland
for those who no longer had one. Paris, capital of the
arts, attracted everyone : from George HoyningenHuene to Philippe Halsman, from Germaine Krull to
Alexey Brodovitch, from David Seymour to Horst P.
Horst, from Lisette Model to Jaroslav Rossler., from
Florence Henri to lzis, from Berenice Abbott to Man
Ray, and other artists , painters, sculptors., writers,
filmmakers., musician s. Lucien Aigner and Paul Almasy, other Hungarians, also chose Paris, whereas
Laszlo Moholy-l'lagy opted for Vienna and then
Berlin. During this period, Dada and the Surrealists
were flying in the face of accepted beliefs, axioms ,
and artistic values. Pierre Loeb, in 1925, exhibited
Picasso, Klee, de Chirico, Arp , Ernst, Miro., and
Masson. ls it important that the upheaval of the credos of civilization and the exploration of the subconscious do not really interest Kertesz as a
photographer? But it is important that artists , as a
group and separately, be stimulated, inspired, and
able to dedicate themselves to creating. In January
1926, the newspaper Le Matin published a series of
twelve articles entitled "Paris: T-:Tospital of the
World. " Let no one be mi staken: thi s "hospital " took
in not the dying but rather young people who had
nothing to lose and everything to gain. The xenophobes were out of luck.
The photographers who came to Paris in the
1920s would not all stay indefinitely ; New York soon
attracted some of the specialists in fashion and a d-

Square Jolivet,
Paris. 1927

Cafe du Dome. Paris, 1925

vert1smg photography, and a second world war

broke out shortly thereafter, making more departures necessary, especially to the United States. But
the foreigners, including those who did establi sh
th emse lves permanently in Pari s. li ved long enough
in Atget's city to participate actively, feverishly, in its
life and to celebrate the avant-garde. In what other
era was there so much eviden ce of creativity in so
short a time? It was, thanks to cosmopolitanism , to
the blending of cultures, id eas, and imaginations,
that the artistic expansion in gen eral, and the photogra phi c expansion in particular, were able to take
place and make Paris the cit-y of mod ernity par exce ll ence. And it is there, where " the algebra is in the
trees,"' as Aragon says in Fire ofJoy, that the photographers were like painters: if some join ed schools, or
movements, oth ers distinguished I hem selves through
excessively original perso nalities and a readiness to
res ist those who refused to judge th em as such .
Kertesz was, by instinct. b~' nature. one of the latter;
leav in g Budapest allowed him to expand and to affirm himself \Vith determination. Eve n if. for him ,
modernity did not constitute a va lue in and of itself,
h e was at ease with "th e new spirit," provided h e
could preserve hi s mastery of what he appreciated
and the rectitude of his gaze.
The photographers who , like Kert esz, established th em selves in Paris around 1925 \vere not attracted by a school or a glor ious photographic figure.
Alfred Stieglitz was in New York; the Bauhaus, in
Weimar, then in Dessau. The cit-y where the birth of
photography was announced owed its artistry to

painters and poets. not to p hotograp hers. In 1925.

th e still-livin g Eugene Atget was far from being recog nized as a master. and onl y Jacques-Henri Larti gue. who did not knmv how unique his obsession
was , looked from time to tirne at the photographs
th a t he had been taking sin ce 1he beginning of th e
century in order to '"preserve hi s amazem ent ..,, In the
first years of the 1920s, so me Pa ri sian st udios. such
as tha t of the Manuel brothers. continued to practice
th e a rt of portraiture without questionin g the aes th etic tradition appreciated by the bourgeoisie; pictoria li sm was not dead, and youn g French people
bega n to make them selves kn own , such as Emma nu el Sougez and Dani el Masclet. But they were
not revo lu tionaries who wished to consign the experiments of Marville or Nada r to oblivion or to cut
them up into little pieces. Certa in painters and writers co uld well ask themselves if it was not necessary
to ' burn the Louvre," bu1 the Andre Breton of photogra phy would not be French. Fortunately, the arri val of foreigners put an end to the ambient
herm eticism and allowed for a vivifyin g opening, a
saluta ry explosion. lt is signifi cant that in 1928 in

Se lf- Port rail. Pa ri s. 1927

Paris. c. 1926

Two Gi rl s. Pari s. 1926

the first indepe nd ent sa lon of photography. the

.. Salon de LEsca li er," a pa rt from th e horn ages to
Nada r a nd Atgel. Lamc Albin-Cuillot was th e onl~
Frcnclr a rti st a11roug th e seven foreigners repre sent ed., in cludin g Kertesz.


'What arc you loo king for th en ?'' Cu stavr

Moreau asked ll cnri Mat issc one dav. who a nswe red.
''Somctlring \vhi ch is not i11 the Louvre. but whi ch is
there''-and he pointed to the barges on the Sein e.
Kertesz. like Mati sse, wa 111 cd to draw from hi s own
cxpcricllcc, to lr avc his own met lr od so II rat the
whole would arnouut to rn ore than the :;urn of it s
parts. li e could sec Paris o n]~- \Yith his 0\Yll interior
li ght. 11
The first photographs taken by Andre Kertesz
i11 Paris (now Ir e was .. A11drF ' and would rernain so)
were tlr osc of a tourist who. dcparti11 g from Montparlla ss<' wh e re he staved .. traveled from :~otre-Damc to
th<' E iffcl Tower. from tlr !' Place de Ia Co nco rd e to
Montmartre. \Vitlr out a llowing him self to be overm,ed by thr g ra ndiose 111 onum clll ality of a city
irnprcg11 a1cd willr hi story. The~- arc th ose of a pedes1ria11 wh o look s for mela11clrolic a tmosphere, \Yho
dnlli<'s 011 the bn11ks of tire Sein e. i11 the ga rd ens of
the Tuikri<'s. i11 rh c squ a res \vlrcrc IJC find s some
co rnp n 11~- Tlrat Kertesz us<'d camera s \\itlr plates
rrrrtil 1tXZ8. ,,hen he bou glil hi s first Lcica (,,ith an
l ~ lrn e r .).) rnm lc11s). and afrc rward . is barelr noticed:
lri .~ ~ lrol s ,,crl' 11atural. r!'a li stic. a 11d poeti c ... 1 look
plrotos ,,itlr th!' l ~eica b!'fore tire irl\en tioll of tile
l,eica . lw ,,ould sm la1cr. 1:z Kert esz 111med 011t to be
.~ olitarY. ,,irlr "" affinit~ to s olitar~- people. llr pho -

tograph cd througlr a wi11d O\V. slrooli11 g dmnr\\'arcl: he

photogra ph ed roo fs. shadows.. d rca rny 11octu rna I
ambia11 ccs. witlroutthc Mo11ii11 Hou ge or proslitut rs.
,,ith ollt Monrr Bijou or nvrlrrs. lie was 11 01.
ho,,cvc r., unh a pp~ : he k11cw how to find Iri s fri c11ds.
llu11 ga rian s a 11d a rti sts. i11 the Cafe du Dorn c., at tlr cir
horn rs. in tlr cir studios, i11 th eir modest apa rtme111 s.
or a t lir e Jl otrl des Tcrrasscs. llr kn ew tir e sculptor
lstva 11 Bci:itlry (it \Yas at Iri s lrorr sr that tir e ph otogra ph Sa ~rric Dancer wa s rn adr , with the clranni11g
llun ga riau da 11 cc r Ma gda Fi:irst11 cr. in a nr oru cnt of
good !rumor <:urd lau glrtrr), .Jose plr Csakv (whose cubist sculpture Ire lllllclr apprecia ted), C~ rrla Zilzcr
(,,ho lwd bcc11 a friend in llu11 gary a 11d who11r
Kert esz would r ll counl cr aga in ill Nc ,, York ). KolosVar~'- th e dea f-rnnt e paint er Laj os Tihar1yi , and Paul
Anna , Michel Sc uplror. Andre Llr olc. ]call Lun,;a l.
Oss ip Zadkillc. a nd Pi ct Monclrian ... Wirat attracts
him to th em is al once th eir a uda city, tlr cir beauty.
a nd their work. . . li e reve red the art a nd tir e
id eali srn of tlr osc ,vlr o practiced both i11 a ll tb cir
form s_.. l :l ln 19:30 Kert esz ca uglrt Cald er pl ayi ng circns with a bit of \vire, cut-up wood. ruhbcr. alld
dotlr. Acclimatized to Paris. he co uld b~, th cll wander
it with out being a visit or. reco rding the a nim ation of
the streets in Iri s most lively ph otographs. in whi ch
signs a nd posters and oth er urba 11 fumi slrin gs that
compl ete the sce ne arc inscribed. By the choice of Iris
subj ec ts, hi s framing .. a nd hi s capacity to co nvey hi s
perceptions, Iri s sentiment s in all th eir purit y, Kert esz
gave to ama teur photography som e of it s noblest
cba rac teri stics. withont makin g a rt photograph y of
it. No t only did Ir e feel close to th e "man of tir e streets
of modest. mea ns .. , I+ 1he insignili canl worker. tire
man11 a ll aborer, the idl er. but he did not betray then1.
tran sform tb crn , or integ rat e them into a t yp~Jogy of

C hild , 19:3:3

Brassai. Paris. 19:)6

a soc iologica l nature. li e wa s ev id enily closer lo

Eugr ne Atgct th an to August Sa nder or 10 Irvin g
Pcrrn. Like Ma rcel Bovi s., Kerteszs affiniti es took him
tO th e nea ma rkets, cirCII Ses. fa irs. and Stree t perforlllances. Bovis. who arrived from .\ice. di scovered an
intim a te., ni g httim e Paris th a t had nothing 10 do with
Fra ncis Ca rcos teasing one. and a daytime .. popul a r
Pari s whose ga iety re nccted a tenuous mixture of joy
and sadness . These leisure activities and entertainm ents were naturally those of Kertesz, more so than
the theater (he did not master the Fren ch language
and never spoke it perfectly ), horse races., auto races,
and fashionable sports (tennis, skiing, yachting) that
Lartigue appreciated, or the balls and cabarets that
are conducive to strong emotion s and forbidden pleasures, which Brassai appreciated. More than the other
photographer s, Kertesz had incontestable, familia]
links with Le Paysan de Paris (The Peasant of
Paris ), written in 1925 by Louis Aragon , whose hero
moved about from a cafe to a park to a public garden . and \vho responded to the qu esl ions that
haunted him : '" . .. th e knmvleclgc that com es from
reaso n, can it be opposed for one instanl lo sensory
knowledge? Without a doubt vulga r peopl e \Yho only
refer lo lhe seco nd kind and di sparage th e first account for th e di sdain into whi ch , little b y little, a ll
thai co mes fro111 the senses has fall en. But when th e
most knowl edgea bl e of m en have taught me tha i
light is a vibration and have ca lculated th e length
of a wave, whatever th e fruits of their reason a bl e
labors, they \\ill not h ave taken into account \Yh al
mail ers to m e in light, wl1at my eyes teaclr rne about
it , what mak es me different from a blind ma n. and
\Yha l is materi a l for a miracle a nd not th e object of
reaso n.

.\1 a uri cr Tabard. 1928

Otlrcr objects in Kert esz 's len s: children. Was

h e moved by their spontan eity ? Amused by th eir
games? Would h e have liked to have som e of
hi s own? Did he mi ss his own cl1ildhood? H e h a d
recently married Rosa Klein (Rogi Andre) , a nd would
be until hi s death as secretive a bout thi s short- li ved
marriage as he was about hi s Jack of paternity. If
any life can be reduced only to itself, it is not for a ll
that transparent. Kertesz's certainly troubled emotional life bet\veen 1925 and 1931 would rem a in
shrouded. never to be elucicla1cd. H e \VOuld a lways
avo id sp ea king of it-perhaps in order not to hurt
E li zabeth. Tn an~' case, his photograph of children
were that mu ch more remarkable in thai he avoided
cari cature a ltoge th e r: he mad e of th em neil her
ado rable a ngels nor little cl emons. nor did he try to
analyze th em psychologically anymore th an he did
a dults. Hi s first book . t."''?f"ants (1933) , \Yas clecli ca tcd
to the me mor ~ of hi s mother and to Elizabeth . In
hi s prefatory text to that affecting work . Jaboune
(.Jea n No ha in ) said that Kert esz 's children could 1101
h elp but move th e vi ewer.
ln Pari s, Kert esz rem a in ed un ass umin g . l11
T-hrn gary he had loved peasa nts. Cyps ies. chilclrc11.
a 11 d his family ; in F rance he loved th e street people.
th e bums. the children., hi s emigrr co r11pa 1rio1s.
a rti sts and a rti san s. withou1 need of" a11en lo1 es ahotrl
th e m. Ancl lr e loYecl Pari s- so rnu ch thai Ir e <tclri<' \Td



perfect visual encounters without difficulty and was

able to find what he was looking for, perhaps without knowing it: traces and proj ections of himself, in
the most propitious city for his art. Paris was a legendary city, certainly, and one where the expression
of emotion was well established. Paris, city of th e
heart. Pari s moved Kertesz, and Kertesz made Paris
his own. Th e adoption was mutual, and nothing
\vould destroy it, especially wh en Elizabeth, despite
the opposition of her family, came in 193 1 to find
the m an of her life and renew their love. They would
never again be apart. Kertesz would remain on e of
the great photographers of Pari s along with Charles
Marville, Eugen e Atget, Brassai, H enri CartierBresson, lzis, Willy Ronis, Robert Doi sneau , ReneJacqu es, and Ralph Gib son. H e would prove to be,
more than in Hungary, at once a photograph er of his
tim e and timeless. During this Fren ch period, th e
symbiosis in Kertesz's work of modernity, reali sm ,
a nd humanist subjectivity fun ctioned at its best. H e
was not an impeccably m ast erful technician, nor the
most daring; he was the poet of a n ew practice, a
combined, sensitive expression of pl ace and of the
self, truly modest but profound. I-Iis first photographs taken in Hungary had held his life together.
Exile changed him little: he remained an amateur in
his soul. H e also loved France for that: even if he
must, in order to live, take commissions and ord ers,
he felt independent. Although he kn ew a few photographers. such as .\1aurice Tabard , Berenice Abbott, an d Germaine Krull, although he sometimes
got toge ther with Man Ray, he spent more tim e with
artists and artisans. His photographer colleagues did
not socialize much among them scl ves and often hid
their discoveries from each other. Ilse Bing and
Denise Colomb (who photographed postwar artists
np until the end of the 1960s) tes tified to Man Ray "'s
refusal to tell them how a solarization was made.
Fortunately, the absence of a true photographic
community did not keep certain practitioners from
h a ving 'stud ents."'' Ergy Landau, for example,
ta ught h er compatriots Nora Dumas and Ylla, and
Kert esz passed on his kno" ~10w to Brassai: and Rogi
Andre. Brassa[ himself rep c.. ted in his homage in th e
magazin e Camera , in April 1963: ' I was not yet a
photograph er. and I did not even dream of photogra pll\-. whi c h 1 kuew nothing of and even perhaps disdained at th e time. when., toward 1926, T met Andre
Krrt rsz. A ch ee rful meeting. . . . becau se it wa s
fro111 lookin g a t hi s phot os and listening to him talk
niHJIIt ilwm that J would d iscover how 'this m achin-





l'u , October 3, 1928


lit. Sept ember 3. 1930

(bac k cove r)

li.t, Press card , 1935




_______ _

L ' HOMMt!








f/u , Carl o Rim , Aug ust 6, 1930

(cover )

ery without a mind or a soul,' this 'teclmical fact,'

had enrich ed t he means of expression at the service
of mankind. My prejudices were over. I fell into the
trap of photography. But the bird-catcher had his
reasons. " Later, many other photographers recognized Kertesz's influence. Henri Cartier-Bresson,
who happily crossed borders in taking his first shots
in France, in Spain, in Italy, and in Mexico at the begimling of the 1930s, would not be the least of them:
"We all owe him a great deal," he said. Would he not
also speak of a "Euclidean spark " in Kertesz? Of
how one co uld be an amateur and a master at the
same time? Josef Koudelka also placed himself in
this line of descent.
At the 1929 "International Ausstellung von
Film unci Foto " in Stuttgart, the "French" representation, selected by Christian Zervos and Gustave
Stotz, was principally composed of foreigners , predominantly nonacademic photographers: Eugene
Atget, George Hoyningen-Huene, Andre Kertesz,
Germaine Krull, Florence Henri, Man Ray, and Ergy
Landau. These are the very photographers who were
the instigators (along with some others, including
Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Martin Munk:icsi, Herbert
Bayer, Franvois Kollar, Paul Outerbridge, Albert
H.enger-Patzsch, and Maurice Tabard) of the Nouvelle Vision, whose shoots would each year spring up
again, from 1930 onward, in the annual issue of Arts
et metiers graphiques-in which almost no room
would be given to art photography.

lit. Ma rch 12. 1930

The need for photographs for illustration, reporting, fashion, and publicity increased rapidly despite the economic crisis; magazines su ch as fit
(1928) and Art et Medecine (1930) were created.
Kertesz gladly divided his time bet>veen his commissioned work and his strictly personal photography,


that which allowed bim to revea l him self sitt ccrelv

and to reveal wh a t be chose of t li e world. Jl c \\"as
am ong th e photogra phic illu strat ors aud repo rt ers of
the 19 20s \Yho were present at the incepti on of the
new illu strated magazin es. wh ose photog ra pliic
essa ys correspond ed to a n ew wa~' of discuss in g real ity. who did not pretend to an impartial truth. Th eir
parti cularity res id ed in their a ptitude for choos ing
fragments and deta ils to which th e previ o us ge ner ati o ns were blind. fo r findin g new sign s a nd symbols in urban life., significant of it s evolution , a nd in
their success in imposing th em. Th e streng th of
Kertesz, Tabmd., Roger P arry. Krull. Kolla r. a nd
Brassai inaugm a ted a n ew my1h o l og~- which was
qui ckl y adopted by Florent Fcls. Wa ld ema r Geo rge.
Philippe Soupault, Pierre Mac Orlan, a nd Walt er
Benj amin.


When h e wo rked for the French or Ge rm a n

press, not only did Kertesz m ake a livin g. but,
curious and with an op en mind , h e often found
hum an interest in his r eportin g des tined fo r th e
public a t large, su ch a s a pi ece on the ln stitut de
France, or another on the Colonial Expos ition of
193 1. flu , Art el AfecLecine, a nd La Fran ce a
ta bLe were good outl ets for him , as were th e Miincehner ILLustrierle Presse, Uf-TU, Neueste !ZLilstrierte,
Die Dame, and Der Querschnifl. And if Kertesz collaborated well with Lucien Vogel, h e al so ha d

Di ;, IOrt io11 11 0 .

10. 19:3:3

a good and e ffec tive rappo r1 with Ste fan Lo ran!.

wh o pl a?ecl a major role in Germ any in th e e,oluti o n of th e illu strated press. Al so of llun ga ri a n
o ri g in. l_,ora nt tn odcrnized ico nog ra phy in a decisive way. wa ntin g it to be as info rnla ti,c as it ''"a s
ent erta inin g.
Lu cien Voge l's liL , of whi ch Al cxa ttdC'J" Liberma tt was th e a rti sti c director. too l th e current cultu red. politica l. a nd social clim a te into acco unt by
illu stra ting it lavisltlv. The Sttbj ects addressed b~
Kert esz in ht were extremely va ri ed, from fo rests in
Pa ri s to editor Carl o Rim see n in a di stortin g tnirror.
from life in th e Abbcv of the Gra nd e Tra ppe to biO\Yllg lass work (reporting clon e in Da w11 ). f'rom Bourgog nc ( vincya rd s., caves, th e hospices of Bea u ti C) to
Co lette. Ma ri e La urencin , a m! the Com tesse de
.\'oa illcs. Hi s hum or was mos t notable in th e portra it .. be m a de of Mi ss Fran ce. in " hi ch the fea turesmo uth., ears, eyes- are rearran ged photog raphi call~
and whi ch wa s cnt itl ed Th e Triwnph of Fellltllille
Beaul) : Wha t he brought to th e b eautiful monthly
magazine A rt et /11/edecine (19.30-36) was ecl ecti c: reports on the Savo ie. th e Ilc de France. Co rsica. and
Lyon s; and p ortra its of YlaUJicc !Yi acterlin ck as well as
peo pl e of a som ewh at more cph cnJCral celebrit y. Jean
Coctcau, Fran cis Carco, Andre Ma uroi s. a nd several
members of th e Academic Fran <;:a ise signed th e texts.
Andre Kert esz. Germaine Krull , Fran<;: ois Koll a r. Man
Hay, Ernmanu el So ugez, and Lawc Albin -C uillot
signed th e ph otog raph s. Ea ch iss ue of th e magazin e
was dedi cated to th e m edi cal co rps and co nsecrated
prim arily to a provi11ce.
Until hi s departure from Pari s in 1936 ,
Ke rtesz also wo rked or coll a borated with Vogue
(fashion ). PLaisir de France (h ouses and cas tl es. interi or design ), VoiLa, Regards, Les A nnaLes, Va rieles,
Bijiu ; and oth er s. It was for L e S owire th a t he did
hi s se ries of di stortion s (abo ut two hundred ) in
1933 . Made on 9 x 12 em glass plates with a Linhof
camera , at the requ est of Qu ercll e, who directed that
di stracting weekl y, that "girli e magazin e. " th e Dislorlions, publi shed in the issue of March 2, 1933 ,
we re accompa ni ed by a text by Aim e-Paul Ba ran cy:
Fenetre ouvert e sur L'au-deLa (Window Open onto
Lhe Beyond). It wa s enough for Kertesz. in ord er to
sec beyond , to usc distortin g mirrors from a n a mu se ment park and two models. So me of the Distortions
were reprodlr ccd in iss ue No . 3 7 of Arts et 111etiers
g raphiques September 15 , 1933 ), but no o ne could

ph o tos as h e \\ish ed after they ha d been publi s hed.

So me ph o to-essays we re, m o reover, a brid ged in
seve ra l m agazin es. s uc h as th e o ne do uc in 1928 011
,\1 a rsh allxa utey in hi s ch a t ea u Thor cy o r the o ne on
th e l andsc~ pcs ~f Ma uri ce Ba n cs in tl~c Vosges . 16

Oa th IJolls o f
Judith C riarc/:5,
Puris. 1933

gu ess th en di a l th e,- w01 dd t a ke th eir pl ace in 11 1C

hi s t o r~ o f ph o tog raph y. A book project witl1 fift~ o f
th e m was publi shed. In regard to the Di storti o ns,
Kc rt rsz wo uld co nfide: .. One ca n g ive ,vh a t expl a nati o ns o ne wi s hes of thi s work: a II I ca 11 sa ,. is th a t
ma kin g the m was very excitin g. ,e ry a m~t s ing ... J.>
Th e de fo rma ti o ns g ive th e illu s io n o f be iiJ g a pa lace
o f 111 i rro rs. in which t lw co nto rt ed re fl ec ti on s o f
J\'a jin ska ya \ 'c rackb a tz a ll(! ~ a di a Kas in c. ve rit a bl e
a na nw rph oscs , co nfront the specta tor with whitn s ical pe rcepti o ns o f rea lit y. The,- a rc aud ac io us in th e
libe rti es th e, ta ke in rega rd to a na tomy a nd bca ut v
a nd to a ph o tog ra phic he rit age th a t \Yas ra th e r p oo r
in fa nt as tic c le me nts. Le So urire a lso puhli s hed
th e se ri es .. Fct is hcs .. (do lls in c hiffo n p osed pm \'OCa ti vc l~) tl1a t is a uom a lo 11 s in Kc rt eszs " o rk . \Yhicli
is fo r th e mos t part without pe rvcr sitv. Neith e r
g ro tesqu e no r o bscen e. the Di s to rti o ns a rc. r a th e r.
j o ~ o u s a nd ecsta ti c fi g ures at pl a ~-. H th e body g rimaces. if it is stre tched. kno tt ed., dis.j o iiit cd , if it
sprea ds out so ftl~-. if it is e viscera ted ., mutil a ted , it is
no t beca use o f suffcr iti g. as in th e first C ru c ifixion s
pa itit cd by Fran cis Baco u in th e same ~- ca r. Kertesz
ha d ii O reaso n t o b e ho rri fl ed , exasp er a ted. or repul sed . :\o m e ta ph~s i ca l a n xict~ g na wed a t him . ll c
Live d ha ppily in Ylontpa rn assc . lt is the wo rks of Pi casso a nd Moo re t.o \v hi c h the Di stortions a rc closest.
Kertrsz so ld few prints: muse um s a nd collectors ra re ly b o ught pho t og raph~' a nd th e e ra o f specula ti o n l1ad n o t yet arri ved. But he easily pl aced hi s
pi ctures \Yith editor s- in -chief and artisti c d irectors.
" ith '"hom hi s re la tio nships w er e more coo per a ti ve
th a n confli ct- ridd e n. Wh en h e co ll aborated with th e
press. Kertesz \Yas neve r on sa lmT li e usu a lh
\York eel with o ut a co nt m e t and could re use hi s

The fac t o f wo rking o n commi ss io n did no t

kee p Kert esz from say in g to Jean Vid a l: .. J a m . .. a n
a ma te ur, a nd I inte nd to re111 a in an am a te ur for th e
res t o f m~- life . . . . T he ph o tograph gets its b ea ut y
fro m the ver y truth with whic h it is st a mped. Thi s is
wh y l g uarcl .m yself aga inst a ny kind o f profess io na l
. " (L'fntmn sigeanl, April
tri c ker y or virtuos it)' .
1. 193 0). It seem s th a t for Ke rt esz th e pro fess io na l
ph o togr a ph e r was so meon e " ho u sed ani fl ee to
11 1as k thin gs. to twi s t th e fac ts, to tri c k peopl e, at
leas t a rtis t i ca ll~ JJe kii C\Y. th o ugh. th a t som e a mate it rs we re t cchni ca l virtu osos , tha t o ther s used
tri c kc r~'.1 a nd that so n1 c profess io na ls were h o nest
a nd loyal to reality: a Ma ui chcist viewpoint rcass u reel him. T lllls th e re is no po int. e ith e r in ag rcc ing
with him or i11 contes tin g his po int of v iew. Th e prill c ipl c a dva nt age o f hi s p ositi o n was that it le ft
Ke rt esz a t peace \vith him se lf. o n the pa th th a t li a d
imposed it se lf on him a nd fro m which he would not
kn o w how to depart wit hout feeling like a h ere ti c .
E-: ve n th e Di stortio ns a re n o t manipul a ti on s bu t,
ra t he r., pure a nd simpl e re fl ec t io ns, s ugges ting th a t
piiOt ograpli~' in its purity can be self-s uffi c ient.
Kertesz \\as (i rst a n obse rver wh o rcmai ned a t
a di sta n ce a 11d . a s Jca 11 -C iaud c Lc mag ny empha s izes
iu hi s text Andre Ke rtesz, Yl as tcr of Modera ti o n ...
.. Th e dista nce K ertesz ta k es is certa inl y tha t o f

Legs. Ida Ht1b e nstPi11 BaHc1. 19:.W


S<' ttplto r, c. 1930


the seer and not of llw voyc u r." 17 ln almost a II

cases h e forwent an y excha nge with those whorn be
photographed. H e did not sec k to schematize or systematize the world , to prove that this world confo rm ed to his vision. llis see in g doubl ed his vision:
it found the sOLJ in form , in mat1er. This see in g
was total, thus equally ph otographic. Jean- C la ud e
Lcmagny saw thi s perfectly: "In his aptitud e fo r
adap ting to all forms of appea ra nce, without ever
polluting them eith er with ove rl y personal intention s, or with borrowed aesthetics, Kertesz is truly
' llomo photographi cus.' This was a lso reflected in
hi s suprem e faculty of see ing acco rding to th e gray
scale to which all photography returns. No more
th an that of any a rti st, hi s universe was not the real,
but this universe ne ith e r opposed uor imposed itself
on the real. It was tbc perfect translation in the lan g uage of photographic grays." 18
In the period during which Erich Salomon
photographed (m ost often clandestinely) p olitical
fi g ures as they spoke, George H oyningen-Huene h ad
Agneta Fischer, Bettina Jones, and Lee Mill er pose in
bcachwear; Horst wen t from Coco Ch ane! to
Luchino Visconti; Bill Brandt began his magisterial
coll ection of a rtist portraits wi1h an intense Ezra
Pound (1928); Edward Weston establish ed himse lf
as th e master of the nud e, working not only wi1h hi s
so n Neil (1925) but also with 1h c dancer Berth a

WarcleU. who;;e IJOcly was lirr11 a nd muscl ed (1927);

a nd Hocltc henko made J\l at ako ,ski th e s ~ mb o l o f
revo luti on a t a ll leve ls. It wa s to Paul St ra JJd a nd
Mantt el Alvarez Bravo th at Ker1csz was closest.
Strand photographed Caspc\ Co lorado. a nd New
Mexico with the sa me soul witlt which Kertesz photographed the Savoie, Corsica , o r Tourai ne, widt Rebecca as hi ;; E li zabeth: a nd th e peasauts, fi she rm en,
a nd workers were as simpl y noble for Kertesz as for
Stra nd . Ne ith er took hi s a rti st friclld s (S ti cg li1z or
Momlrian ) for sac red JII OJJ Stcrs. And in 1929 Kerlcsz
a nd Alvarez Bravo a tt Swercd each othe r bv each
pho tograp hin g wooden horses huddl ed on a .s leig h.
Shop windows. pos ters, signs, sh adows of 1ree trunks
a nd foliage , balu strades, public sleepers., pa inted
manneq uin s, passe rsby, sl reet children, st ray dogs,
won1en 's ges1urcs like sign s 10 dreamers: the sam e
things caught the a tt enti on of both the Hun gari a n
and th e Mexican , who lt ad simil ar affec1ions and rela ted s1yles. It was a lso th e grand era of th e Mexi ca n
muralist painters Ri vera, Orozco, and Siq uci ros. In
Fra nce. Henri Mat issc and Fern and Leger were the
111 as ters of mural art.
As much as publication in the press, it wa s
sh ows and books th a t made Kertesz known. ln
1927, the yea r of the publication of L'Espril des
j"or111es (Spirit of F'or111s) by E lic Faure, Jan Sliv in sky
organized the fi rst so lo show (thirt-y-one p hotographs presented wi I h Icia Thai's abstractions) of
the one who on thi s occas io n Paul Dermee dubbed
" brother seer. n The evenin g of the opening at th e
galler y Au Sacrc du p rintemps, " works of the n ew
spirit"" was said in va ri ous lang uages (nota bl y in th e
presence of Michel Se uph or, Adolf Loos, Pi et Mon-

Woode n florses, Pa ri s, 1929

PH0 '10 - K ltTE S Z



IT l(J ::'Iii

Fre re voynn t


du t2 au 22 Mars



5, Rue du Chercbe-Midl

Invitation Ca rd for dtf' l ~ xl tibitiotl or ,\ndrf. Krri PSZ

nt tit<' ga ii Pn Att tlalTP du printrntps.
Pari s. 19'1.7

PosiPr for Kertesz's 1-': xhibition

at th e ga ll rrv Au Sacre clu printcmps,
Pari s. 1927

Paul Denn er.

Prampolini, and Seuphor.
P a ri s, 1927

Call er) Au Sacre

du printc111ps.
Pari s. 1927

drian, and Tristan Tzara), and it was not by chance

that Paul Derm ee dedicated a poem to Kertesz-he
too was captivat ed by th e lyrical beauty of these personal sta tements. The sam e year, in the German
magazin e Tageschronik df'r K!lnsl (Daily ChronicLe
of Art ), Kertesz was recognized as representing th e
"m ysticism of the rea l.'' Among th e other exhibit ions, beyo ud those at . "Salon de l'Escalier," "Film
uud Foto'" (S tuttga rt, 1929), '' Fotografie der Gegenwart'' (Essen, 1929), 'Das Lichtbild" (Muni ch,
1930), " Foreign Adverti sin g Photog raphy" (New
York. 1930). and "Mod ern European Photography '
(Juli en Levy Ca ll ery, New York, 1932), one mu st
note Kert esz's pa rti cipation in the seco nd Salon de
I'Araignce, in 1930, whi ch that year Carlo Rim
made int o an un common, eclectic. memorabl e eve nt.
One mu st note as well. Kertesz's presence in the bi g
slt ow presented in 1936 at th e Musce des Art s Dccoratifs. in whi ch co nt emporary photography wa s

shown alongside earlier photography. At Julien Levy,

the minimum sale price of each proof was fixed at
twenty dollars.
Kertesz 's first book, Enfants (Children, 1933 ),
was followed the next year by Paris, dedicateJ to his
brothers Imre and Jeno and with a text by Pi erre
Mac Orlan, b y Nos Amies les betes (Our Friends the
Animals) with a text by Jaboune in 1936, and les
Cathedmles du vin (The Cathedrals of Wine) \Vith a
text by Pierre Hamp in 1937. In 1934 a selection
of hi s " intuitive and meditative'" photographs of publi c gardens, boulevards., and cafes were used
to illustrate the section on the Parisian years in
Cyorgy Boloni's biography of Endre Ady. Kertesz 's
first books, without being of great bibli.opl1ilic importance in the hi story of publi shing. co nfirm ed hi s repLii ation. Bette r than th e books. th e se lect ions made
for th e slto\\s ensnred liis tliJCotltesta hl e sta turr.





&lt1 805 bc:k~ nntund~ihrt.


M.ul.e ~AJJc-r~ l'acn, -vei'SI Ibc:n mit M.ukc

.LoltQfnocie". Vonitig in d .. n FJdagc:sds~il.en.

A b b i I clung en :r: u 0 i c n s t c n


Publicity for Bru ckmann. 1 929


Andre Kertesz arrived from Hun gary with a n

indelible heritage and , according to Nietzsche's for mula, with the "contemplative instincts of hi s
childhood. " Kertesz was confirmed in France as a
man more of vision than of spectacle. Contrary to
what was said and wriu.en, he did not use ju st a nything as a subject. His universe was in fact precisely limited; many aspec ts of the world. many
facts and events, were of no interest to him as a
photographer, and one can safely say that he wa s
not at all attracted to fa shion, adverti sing, or in dustrial photography. Despite the dominant arti sti c
c urrents , Kertesz went neither all the way to abstraction nor toward an unbridled surreali sm. If
sometimes he keenly perceived the surreal in th e
real, he kept it subtle. Some of his 'vork conlained
elements of surrealism (in found objects, fortuitou s
encounters, minor incidents, the humorou s traits of
popular culture), but he refused to emphasize
them. I Iis art, respecting the integrity of the m edium of photography, consisted of conjoining his
aptitudes for seizing the soul and for purifying
form s. Tt is that harmonious conjunction that characterized him and made him " very French. " Less
conceptual, less experimental than the Germ an
photographers, Kertesz h ad an elegance and a
" personal touch" that they did not, and a sense of
th e subtext, of the indexical, of mystery, that

Ameri can photographers did not yet have. li e

kn e'v how to find in realitr a part of hi s und e finable poetry, and he often reil.erai ed. P holog rap h~
must be realistic.' I lis angled shots were naltLrali stic. and they h elped him 10 decode the world. 10
s urprise it, to und erstand il , lo Jove i1 as a wilness.
whet her th ev were shots taken from his window or
from a ti er ~fthe E iffel To\\ er. If for him. as for Albert Renger-Patzsc h. Ot:e If/eft ist Schon (Th e
WorLd is Beaut?Jit!), il wa s not cold , it was nol a
terrain reserved for philosophers a nd scientists who
simplifi ed it too mu ch b~, elimina ling a greal pari
of its ri chness., of il s vo luptu ousness . Keri esz. who
had no desire to dev il a li ze lh e world. paid a lm ost
no atte ntion to th e rn ac hi11 es. lhe lools. and lh e apparatuses of the new techn ology on which some of
hi s colleagues focused., and he rnad e no solariza 1ions. photomontages, or photogra ms. For him .
mod ernity lay in vis ion; iI did not res I in th e mecha ni cal or in th e soa rin g of indu s lr~, nor in plasli c
inter ventions or labo rato ry opera1ions. Howeve r.
Kertesz had lea rn ed to 111 aster any incliuati on 10 effu sion. The famou s C/w:, Monclrian pe rfec ll~ refl ects the inn er spirit of lh e paini er. Kerl esz 111rn ed
a vi ew of the studio inl o a ma gisterial personalized
Mondrian. slru cl uredlike a painting. sig ned by I he
ha t. COUJJtersig ned b~' I he a rtifi cial flmver. The portrait of th e painter wilh lh e bias nose., wi1h th e
asy111metrical mu sta che. is a lso of an exemplar~ sobriet~' The extreme ly \olubl e still life taken i11
Fern a nd Lege rs studio. Tlt e Fork (mad e spontan eo usly at th e end of a 111eal ), Meudon, Sa l) Tic Dan cer captured at an ep iph anous n1oment. a nd tl1 e
view of the Pont des Arl s I hrongh the clock of 1he
lnstitut de Fran ce a li es l lh at Kerl esz co uld lelltporarily forget hi s roman li cism. There, he re fiLL ed

Pi ct .\londrian. 1926

his s ubj ec ti vit~ throu g h a mo re form a l treatm e nt

of surfaces and volum es; th ere. o ne mu st ce rta inl y
sec th e influe nce o f Con structivism and C ubi s r,-;.
Ke rt esz gave proof o f a rti sti c inno vatio n with o ut
be in g eso teri c. For him . do in g documenta ry p hotog ra ph y was 11 01 in contra di c ti on t o hi s bein g a u
a rti st. Rea lity depend s on tb e tools th a t describ e it
and o n th e on e wh o m anipula tes th em. Th e la ng uage o f Kertesz is univer sal.
A c lrroni c ler of the ban a l. of th e qu otidi a n.
,,here rea lit v a nd fi cti on a rc indi stin g ui sh a bl e,
Kert esz becam e a sing ula r ph otogr a ph er to \v hom
the visibJc. in whiclr lh e in visibl e app ear s, is a ppa rentl y offered in a ll simpli city: co uld o ne ca pture it
witlr a 11 eco nom~r of means grea ter th a n his? II is not
s urp ri sing tha t his facilit~, hi s ca ndo r. co uld dera il
more th a 11 o ne hi st ori an. more th an o11 e criti c. th a t
som etimes a clisturbi11 g aud acity. such as t ha i of the
Disto rtions .. is mixed in ., a nd a ll th e more tha t he

never tra nsfo rm ed him se lf into a n intellectu al cap abl e of interpreting hi s own ph otog raphs. Such qui eti sm is conf usiug a t a t irn e of lireworks of all kinds.
It is no t sur p risin g eith er tha t th e artists in Paris
\YCre the first to re\'eal an d to a ppreciate hi s ori ginalit y. Th e one they accep ted a mong them selves was
n ot onl y a ph otographer in th e fulln ess of his maturit y, but a co mpa tri ot \vlr o indisput ably push ed his
ow11 limits: th ey int egrated him so mu ch the more as
bi s photogr ap hy he lped th em (at least some of th em )
in t lteir O\\'n creative gesture.
Tn 1930 Kertesz tra ,eled to l-1ungar y to see his
fa mil y again. E liza beth., her cert ainties confirmed,
jo in ed him in P ari s in 193 1. Aftenvard. she accomp a rLied him o ft en in his travels. and he m et less and
less \Yith his friend s: art ists. wri ter s. journali sts. and
n oted [ig ures in th e press and in publi shin g. For
Andre. hi s m a rriage with Rogi Andre ha d been nothin g but a fo il~' 1-:l e m arri ed E lizab et h on Jun e 17 ,
1933. th e year of the death in Budap est of hi s
beloved mother, Em esztin. and the year of the ri se of
T-Titler in Germa n y. of th e start of th e gro wing .\'az i
pe ril , and of the decline of Kertesz 's publicati on in
Ge rman nev,spap e rs. P olitical a nx iety was thus
add ed progress ively to the diminution of com missions: Ke rtesz was less i n dem a nd b y magazines who
we re loo kin g for m ore and m ore topical subj ec t ma tter. In 1935 lit published t he article "The Heel Army
at Work .'' and in 1936 .. Th e Defen se of th e Republic
in Spain .' Th e S lav isk r affair was on ever yo ne's
lip s. Kertesz was so mewhat out. of step with thi s na tiona li st context. hi s ph otogra phic essar s too ne utra l
fo r th e parti san s of eith er sid e. Kertesz learn ed too
la te of th e favo rabl e respo nse b~' t he French authoriti es to hi s r equ es t fo r n a turali zation : h e h a d ju st decid ed to accept Ern ey Prin ces offer to \YOrk for the
Ke ~ston e age n c ~7 in Ne" York . ''A so rt of sabba tical
yea r... E lizabe th ha d ag reed, and the step s \vere
ta ken. They emb arked on th e SS Washington for
~!Janha tt a n just. as Char li e C ha plin 's Mo dem Times
a ppeared on 1h e bi g screen . Th ey pl anned to r eturn
to Pa ri s wi t hin a year or t\\o. a nd Kertesz left mos t
of his negati ves in F ran ce.

Ce ll o Stu ck

[n Fran ce. Kertesz 's pl easure matched hi s a m bit ion. Tle \Yas blessed in P ari s " ith a p rescience in
rega rd to hi s destin~- as a ph otogra ph er and to hi s
developm ent. whiclr ab a nd o uecl him as soon as he
left for .\e"' York . llc Ji,ecl th ere irr n os talg ia fo r
Mo rrtp a rn asse . fo r the qu a ~s of th e Se irr e a rrd th e



lovers, for Notre-Dame and pigeons. The apolitical

person who left Europe in 1936 uncfer pressure
probably spared himself vexations, though he would
know others, less violent, but still sorely trying for a
photographer attached to his passions. It was different penury that he would suffer in the United
States-lack of an artistic community- and one that
would keep him from fulfilling his own need for poetry. New York, despite its parks, small squares,
vagrants, was not a magical, fascinating city for
Kertesz. He lacked friends there and was denied frequent and varied tender photographic responses.
Too isolated with Elizabeth, he was not able to adapt
to the city of business, nor to discover many points
on which to fix his romanticism. Kertesz had had
hope of finding new outlets, his professional life having become more difficult for him in Paris. Alexandre Garai and Erney Prince had given him hope of a
revival of inspiration and substantial financial success, which shimmered before him. But hope did not
last. Other "Artists in Exile," to borrow the title of a
show organized by Pierre Matisse, also had difficulty
in adapting to the international center of the avantgarde, which New York was becoming. Max Ernst
alluded to the absence of cafe life, to isolation, and
to solitude. Andre Breton threw himself feverishly at
the linguistic barrier and lost his power, even his
aura, in this metropolis that was deaf to his dictates
and indifferent to his magnetism. Some isolated
themselves far from New York. Fernand Leger was
one of the rare ones who was stimulated by this

E li zabeth allCI a Friend ,

:VIontmartre, Paris, 1931

"melodramatic country." Note that the majority of

the exiles who came from France during the war
eventually returned , whereas t hose who came from
Germany, Austria, and Central Europe remained in
Am erica permanently. Chagall, Zadkine, Matta,
Saint-John Perse, and Levi-Strauss did not hesitate
to return, once the war was over, to the "affectionate
streets" dear to Leon-Pau l Fargue, the neighborhoods dear to Rene-Jacques , to Doisneau , to Roni s,
where the night, according to Elu ard , promised
"confiding looks to the dawn. " Perhaps because he
destested being considered an enemy during the war,
Kertesz was one of the few who came from France to
ask for American citizenship .
Shortly after Kertesz's arrival, Beaumont
Newhall, the director of the department of photography at the Museum of Modern Art, who was preparing the show "Photography 1839-1937," asked him
for some prints. Kertesz proposed the Distortions.
Newhall wanted to reframe one of them so that the
pubic hair couldn't be seen. For the photographer,
"cutting the woman's sex" was to mutilate her, and
also to mutilate the picture. Nevertheless, he accepted, and the Distortion was shown; but he was disillusioned, vexed, and he never forgave Newhall.
"This was my Welcome to America. " He was again
affected when Alfred Stieglitz reacted without enthusiasm to a group of Distortions, and when an editor
declined to publish them. Thus commenced, from the
beginning of his stay in New York, the "absolute
tragedy" to which he would unceasingly allude until
his death. 19 The question will remain unanswered:
was Kertesz from the outset misunderstood and rejected in the United States, or did he refuse to accept
certain rules that were in force to the point of excluding himself from the professional milieu of photography? The book Distortions was not published until
1976. Kertesz had no better success in publishing a
book on New York, which he had completed in 1939,
and was bewildered when Erney Prince, his boss at
Keystone, asked him to work in the studio rather than
assigning him reporting as had been their prior agreement: "Days, weeks, months passed, and they continued to make me do commercial work, which I cared
nothing about. " 20 He went from one disillusionment
to another without being able to return to Paris, first
for lack of money, then because of the war.
At the time of Kertesz 's arrival in New
York, very few photographers were independent;

El evat ed Train Platform, the Bowery. 1937

the most daring work was for Conde Nast, for

William Randolph H earst, for H enry Luce, or for th e
government, under the rubric of one or the other of
the various programs inaugurated following the catastrophic stock market crash of 1929. Living at the
Hotel Beaux-Arts at 3 07 East 44th Street, Andre
and Elizabeth were out of their element and surprised by the persistent economic crisis., by the number of unemployed , by the number of beggars.
Kertesz took far fewer personal photographs than he
had on his arrival in Paris. Discovering the city was
more trying; h e did not succeed in finding points of
reference at once (su ch points make it possible for a
city to become one's own ), and he got on well with
very few of those he met. Photographing articles for
a big publishing house evidently did not excite him.
He forced himself to visualize the crushing city, but
his anxiety was detrimental to his creativity, even
when children and old people were always faithful to
the impromptu meetings he set up in the streets and
the squares. Whereas Berenice Abbott, on her return
to New York in 1929, concentrated on th e evolving
architecture of the city whose transformation she
" docum ented," Kertesz preferred the relationship of
the city and certain of its inhabitants: his sense of
form co ntinued to be enriched by th e impact of emotion . lf he invariably avoided making hi s prese nce
felt through ta king frontal views. he was nevertheless closer to Walker Evans than to Bereni ce Abbott.

Evans, like Kertesz, was con cern ed with the human

co ndition., and like him was as far removed from
Wes lonian distillation as from Weegee's intimacy
\vith drama or accident. The Kerteszian New York is
\vithout hubbub , without citizens who confront and
jostl e one another, without tension.
The 6rst issue of Life, created b y Luce, a ppeared on November 23, 1936. Look and Coronet
followed , also conceived on the model of European
magazines: the most a ppealing part was th e illustrations. Kertesz did not profit from this editorial boon.
He did not want nor was he able to change his way
of photographing, nor did he want to accept only offers that did not require him to make too many concessions. Intransigent, he did not know how to resign
himself to submitting to the disobliging editors rea dy
to use his photographs in any way they liked . Even
Margaret Bourke-White, th e first photographer of
Life, did not succeed in imposing on the magazin e
staff complete respect either for her framing or for
her rights. Look did not hesitate to be sensationa li st.
Am erican editors took many more liberti es with 1he
shots than would European editors such as Lu cien
Vogel or Stefan Lorant, who were espec ia lly ca rr ful
of personalization in their editing. Thus can one rxpl a in the paradox: the illu strated Amrri ca n m agazin es of the new era of journalism did 1101 comprlr
with one another for the servi ces of th e pionrer rr -


.\ <'" . York . 1939

cc ntlv. co me to live in dJ cir citv.

. It wa s in thi s co ntcx t
th a t the European old ln as tcJ_.,. of photograph~~, as
Ke rtesz abeacl~~ was. found himse lf breaking hi s
('O Jilrart. Stubborn , he enCO IIJJt erccl seriou s difficulti es in [i nding hi s place on t li e oth er sid e of the i\ tla nti c. The fru strati ons bega n. But he did not bend.
nor did he refra in fron1 di sdaining th e photographers-eve n th ose mos t so 11 ght a ft er by d1 c prcss,,hosc techniqu e he co nsid e red mute a nd in a cl ecp1 a 1e
for ex pressin g eve n th e leas t se nsation.
After Erney Prin ce-'s depart urc from Keystone
i11 th e spring of 19.37, Kert esz began to look for
" ork rl sc where: ' Studio photography does not suit
111 r. IJc needed to find ot her outl ets. Jt was th e n
flwt A l exe ~ Brodovitcli . a rti sti c director of llarp er :~
/Ja:::;aw sin ce 193 -t. so ught him out a nd asked liin1
to ph otograph in Sa ks Fifth Avenue department
store aftcr dosing. The art icJc " as published in April
1937 with the tide ' 5: 30-Thc Cm tain Fall s. :2t
This success ful pliot orssay rcvcalcd th e hidd en activit ics of a giga nti c. l1icra rchi cal s ocict~. Ke rt esz
used hi s capac ities of obse rva ti on as " ell as bis aptitud e for sy1JtiJrsizing a co mplex s ubj ect in an essay
that wa s co u1prchrn sibl c to c vcr~o nc a nd in \\'lii cli
t li e co1np<:uty prrsid cnt was i11cludcd along " ith a
C'lcaJJin g l ad ~. Tlic sa me ~ ca r. Brodov itch lwei hi111
pli orograp h th e cliilclrcll of th e ,,ea lthy Luddington
f'tunih i11 ll avc rforcl. Kr rt esz C'O lnpleted th e ass ignJIJ(' JJI " itli hi s immut a bl e pati e nce a nd his inn a te
sr' JI SC' of tli c natura l. llr acccptcd oth er con1nrissions.
JJotallh f'roJn Toll'// a ud Co uult)~ c ss rutiaJJ~ for rea~o n s or Slll'\'i\a l. and thu s produced \\ork that in I'IJI(ic<l portraits of personalities a t th e hea rt or
I'OJil< 'lllp oraJY life. I li s situ a ti OJI i111pro,ed . .\le henlC'd
1:. \!. dw . arti~ric dirrctor of i (Jgu e, ass igned him
l'a -, 11 ioJJ pllOt Of! rapli s iII 1CJ:38. hut Knt esz k 11(' \\ ' li e

.~('\\ '

\urk ll arb or. 19:)9

did not h ave the parti c ul ar tale nt of those wh o shone

i11 that domain (like hi s co mpatriot "'1artin 1\lunkacsi,
th a t master of di stin g ui shed gaiety ) and th at l1 c
" ould 11cver h ave it . I low to riva l E twin Blumenfeld .
ll orst P. Horsr. or Cec il Bea ton wh en one loved neith er artificial effe cts nor a rtful so phisti ca ti on. neith e r pageantry nor gla n10ur ? Brodovitch was partial
to startling effects: Ke rt esz 's tirst concern, howeve r,
" as not ori g in a lit~' a t a ny cos t. And he had oth er
thrill s than tl10sc of, un de r th e fires of illusion. performing the fea ts of Ed wa rd Steichen in th e th ea ter
of elega nce . Kertesz. a stra nge r to the sa lons of hi g h
soc iety. hired a n age nt. " 'ick .\1iller. \Yho found editors and other cli ents for l1illl . l...~~j'e thus invit ed him
to do a p iece 011 th e rivers a nd qua~' S of Manhatt a n
th a t Ke rtesz ca ll ed .. Th e Tu gboa t. .. e' en th ough it
in clud ed. beyo nd sim p ly pac kets a nd the ha ulin g of
ca rgo. all port ac ti viti es a nd a ll types of cra ft.
Kert esz inves ted him se lf in thi s report age: he " aJJt ccl
th e readers \\'h o \\'ere used to 1110 re dramatic subj ec ts
to appreciate th e suhtl ctr of hi s co ntributi on. and he
did not hes it ate to JI SC th e \\Til -k nown Ju edium of
1.41' to ac hi e' c hi s end s. li e used a dirigible to sl1 oo t

the port ami th e embarkation point s from above.

and even imm e rse d him se lf in the bcUy of a boat. llc
in sisted on see in g ever ytiJing from far away and up
closc. fron1 outs id e a nd insid e. as he never h a d in
Fra nce. 1 fe rc ma in ed a n inte rpre te r. a se ns iti ve na rra tor. watchin g to m ak e s ure nothing esca ped him .
H e did not " a nt to co ntent him se lf with me re impressions: he \Yalltcd to m as ter his s ubj ect, th e \Yatc rfront. and to ta ke hi s place iu . the hi story of
do c um e nt a r~ photograp h~' : h e wa nted hi s images to
appear in L([e. flc mi sse d nothin g. not th e human
asp ec t. uor th e cconon1ic aspec t. nor th e a rchitectural a spect- but hi s essay would s till n eve r be publi s hed in L([e. Th e m agaz in es re fu sa l de moralized
him even more becau se he \Yas reproac hed for sa ~
in g too tnuch in his photograph s, a reproach that
he uiiCi crstood as a criti cism o f his co ndu c t. a nd
whic h he ucvc r forgot. li e also told him se lf tha t th e
Am e ri ca n news editors wanted nothin g but a necdotal. iudeed trivial. photogra ph s 'vitho ttl a sou l.
\Ye ll 111 a de but deprived of th e s ma ll es t ass umpti on .
To photograph e rs with strong a nd con centrated p e rsona liti es, th e ~ prefe rred those who took hundreds
o f s ho ts and le t ed itors c hoose fro m the lot. Overl y
me ta pltorica l photograp hs und c r111i11 ed th e ir unnu ancc d approac hes. wh e reas for Ke rtesz. e vc r~r thin g
,,as s ubtle. frag il e. tran s itor~' On th e subj ect of th e
phot og raph e rs who bent to the orders of editors and
dircc to rs. h e la te r confid ed to Ja nos BodnAr: 'Among
the exce ptions. l ~ u gcnc S mith is re markabl e; h e ph otog ra ph ed in my s tyle . li e sin ce re !~ adm itted to me
that I ha d in f111 c nccd hi s career. li e worked for Life
and na lura ll y th e ~ threw him out. .. Smith s conflicts
\Yith L([e \Ycrc fo r Ke rtesz a ddition a l confirm a tion of
hi s cc rtaintics. Ker t esz had hi s own point of view
just as Smith a nd David so n h ad th e irs. a nd , stubborn. he nc,e r gave up. I low cou ld he give up tryin g
to und e rst and and to lllak e himself und e rstood
throu g h photog raphy when it wa s hi s base la ng uage? Even mo re so because sin ce leav in g llun gan
Ke rtesz h a d ha d diffi c ulty expressing him self vcrball~' : he spoke Engli sh no b e tt e r than he spoke
F re nc h. a nd he did not h ave to m a ke the e ffort in hi s
clolll es ti c life: he li ved with a Hun garian . Ph otogr a phy was for !tim more than a vis ual lan g uage-it
was th e mea ns of communication par exceLle nce.
a nd sayin g n o nwre with it or thro ugh it. was to be
co mpl e te ly s il e nt. For Ke rtesz, photograph y a nd life
we re a lways intrin sica ll y conn ec ted. H e was definitive ly pers uaded to cea se \YOrking with th e illustrated popula r magaz in es when Look, in its October

25. 1938. iss ue., publi s hed ph o tos b~' him in an articl e entitl ed '" A Fire ma n Goes to Schoo l. .,. crediting
th e m t.o E r11 cy Prin ce. This ap propriati o n of co urse
sh ocked him . Coro nel, whi ch p ubli sh ed photogr ap hs
in full p ages, without c ha ng in g their meanin g by
cropping th e m. would have co nstit.utcd a poss ib le
ou tl e t. for Kcrt.esz. but Coro nel did not co mmission
pbotographc rs. In 1937 Arnold Ging ri c h wrote in a n
editorial t.h a t. he was mo re and Ill ore co nvinced th a t.
"t he best photog raph s ta lk for th em selves. sp ea kin g
in a langua ge of their own. ' It was unfo rtun ate th a t.
G in g ri ch found his ' best p ho tog rap h s in alrcad~r
cxi arc hi ves. and did not have t. hc m taken by a
pro fessional lookin g fo r payrn c nt. In th e course of
the sam e yea r. as a n i nd ep e ndc n l. Kertesz produ ced
Poughkeepsie, a view o[ th e Ba uhau s styl e sta ti o n.
A nn and I entiLalo1; in spired b ~ S urrea li s m. and Lost
CLoud, Cibsoniau b e fo re Gibso n . Also in 1937. th e
ne w Bauhau s school., tiJC New Bauhau s Am e ri ca n
School of Design. direc ted b~r Laszlo MohoJy-Nagy,
ope ned its doors in C hi cago. On .June 8. 19+. Mohol y-Nagy wrote t.o Ke rtesz to invite him to t each
ph o tography startin g t.h e followin g Sep tember. an
offer t.hat ho nored him but whi ch h e dec lin ed. be in g
u o more a th eoretic ia n than a pedagog ue. ln a n~'
case , in 1937. Kertesz the un c lassifi a bl c. as des iro us
as he \\'aS to get out o f t.he pro fession a l miasma in
" hich he lang uish ed , did not. nwvc in a ny fi e ld.

.\l clancholi c Tulip.

~ r w York, 19:3 9

artistic or journalistic. He worked in the following

years for !-louse and Garden, flogll e, and Town and
Counlly, while aJso drawing on hi s archi ves for
Coronet and carrying out commi ssion s for vari ous
clients. In 1939 Melancholic 'lldip-reflected in a
mirror-sununruized, eloquently a nd to perfection ,
the state of his soul. The politi cal situation in Eu rope
continued to impede Kertesz 's return: thus he had to
force himself if not to Americanize at least to find his
cues in Manhattan, where he had installed himself in
Greenwich Village. But he encountered new discomfitures: in November 1940 (the year of photographer
Lewis Hine's death ),- Coronet published a special
portfolio of its " most memorable photographs"-in
which none of Kertesz's work appeared. Kertesz then
made the decision to k eep his distance and to terminate a ll relations with Arnold Gingrich, Coronet's
editor. In June 1941 , an entire issue of Vogue was
dedicated to the art of photography in honor of
Conde Nast. Kertesz was absent from the roster of
sixteen photographers selected, even though his photographs had illustrated more than thirty articles in


llornirrg Slrip ..

( :<' lllra l Park. 19-H

11ogue a nd Ilouse and Cardell betwee n 1936 and

19-tO. Even such phologra piiCrs as Hoger Sc lr a ll a nd
Ceo rge Karge r we re included . 1hough I h e ~ were far
frorn masters of lir e genre. Finall~, as ca rri ers of
I Jun ga ri a n pass porl s. he a ndl ~ li za beth were co nsidered suspect and forbidd en to plro1ograph a rlvllring
thai had to do wilh nation a l secttril y. Kerl rsz look
t he injunction literally. H e wanled problems wi1h th e
au lh oriti es eve n less, now th a t El izabet h l1 ad sla rl ed
a profitable cos meti cs busin ess, Cosmi a La boratori es, with a Hun gari a n friend , Frank Tamas. (E:Jizabeth left her sh are of the company to Ta mas in her
will of December 20, 1971. ) Fo r three years Kertesz
worked for no m agazines, and hi s photographs were
rarely reproduced in the press. H e survived, completely independent. John Adam Knight, however,
asserted in the New York Post on Dem ember 3 1,
1942, in regard to the forty-fifth issue of The Co mplete Plwtographe1; in which there was a photograph by Kertesz: "The day Kertesz arrived was a
great day for American photography, an even greater
day than is at present recognized by editors, critics,
and museum curators. Having no aptitude for selfpromotion, he [Kertesz] is only discovered slowly.
Nevertheless, it is almost certain that, in the years to
come, his work will be as appreciated and admired
as that of Hill, Atget, Stieglitz, Steichen, Weston,
Strand, and Hine. " There could be no more laudatory pronouncement, and it gave passing comfort to
Kertesz , a witness to the success of George Platt
Lynes, Martin Munkacsi, Andreas Feininger, Alred
Eisenstaedt, and others. Kertesz was finally naturalized on February 3 , 1944, after Elizabeth , who had
become an Ameri can citizen on the 20th of January.
From then on, be attempted once again to find a
place in the press, no matter how arduou s th e competition between the photographers already on the
market, such as Walker Evans, Irving Penn , and
Richard Avedon . Although he received a few commissions from Fortune, he was not included in the
genealogical tree of photographers created by M. F.
Agha (who had left Vogue) and reproduced in th e
November 1944 iss ue of Ilwp er 's Bazaar-sixtythree names and not his! Kertesz was not a mon g
these peers , th ese innovators, th ese true and strong
personalities . But Marie-J eanne Eisner h ad good reason to write in Minicam Photography in 1944:
"Kertesz is not a man of th e past, in spite of hi s hi sto ri ca l importan ce. He is one of our great photographers, still in our midst, very much a live. Yet,
stran gely enou gh, Kertesz is so mething of a ' forgot-

Ameri can Vi scose Corporation , 1942-1 945

ten man here irr America. This is regrettabl e, and it

is an unjustice. Whateve r the reaso ns, let us rediscover Kertesz- it will be worthwhil e ..,, Kertesz, humanisti cally and artistically closer to Stieglitz and
Steichen than to the "f.64 group " and the flowers of
the new gen eration, \vas decidedl y unable to assert
bim se l f; he relinquish ed nothing to anyone, but admitted that h e was no longer a star. He missed Hungary and France. Homing Ship is an emotional,
metaphoric la ndscape: will the husband and wife return to Europe? He felt a little too old and ask ed
himself if Paris had forgo tten him ; besides, Cosmia
Laboratories was a prosperous bu siness. His photographs were once again those of a man withdrawn
into him self, when Wolfgang Fyler, the artistic director of House and Carden., gave him a co mmission
for the Christmas iss ue, which inaugurated a long
In 1945 Kertesz produced a large photoessay
on the factori es of the textile research department of
the American Viscose Corporation. The company
published an abundantly illustrated brochme with
the photographs, which recalled those of La France
TravaiLLe by Franc;ois Kollar. Hope was reborn for
Kertesz, especially with the publication of Day of
Paris, laid out by Alexey Brodovitch and publish ed
by J. J. Augustin. Illustrated with photographs extracted from a small selection made wh en he left
Paris, this book, according to Elliot Paul, "represents
not Paris, the political capital of France, not Paris at
work , or Paris at play. . .. The fi gures that arrest his
[Kertesz's] eye are walking. No one is doing anything
useful , there are no large crowds. " 22 The point of
view, the critic remarked, is that of a touri st, who
wat ches th e French apprec ia ting life with out sham e.
Kertesz's obse rva tion is '' purely philosophi c." Th e

photographer used this book to remind himself of

good memori es of old friends and to present him self
to th e decision makers in the world of publishing. At
th e beginnin g of 1946, the new artistic director of
Ilouse and Carden, Alexander Liberman, offered
birn an exclusive contract, which Kertesz accepted,
ready to lead a double photographic life without trying to reconcile the two polarities. The pay was satisfactory (a min imum incom e of $10,000 a year) , and
it was well established that all negatives would be returned to their author si,x months after the frrst publication of the corresponding photographs. This
co ntract strained Kertesz's principles: it gave away
hi s editorial freedom and reduced the potential for
other illustration photographs. Kertesz was required
to provide Conde Nas t with the number of photographs requested b y the editors, and they had to
comply with the guidelines determined by House and
Garden. Given the type of magazine it was, the diversity of subj ects was inevitably reduced. On the other
hand, Kertesz gained the opportmrity to travel and to
enter the homes of important families and celebrities .
In 1948 he was sent to Great Britain to photograph
old co tmtry homes, and be passed through Budapest
and Paris. For :fifteen years, House and Carden. monopolized hjrn: as th e professional that he was (which
did not displ ease hi s amateur side), he applied himself to photographin g gardens, interiors, furniture,
and decorative objec ts 'vith the greatest care, and
thus worked steadily. I lis sense of light allied itself efficaciously to his appreciation of space. More than
three thousand of his shots were reprodu ced in the
magazine between 1945 and 1962-a considerable

ll ~cs

II \1.1.\1 \Ilk. IIOt SE \u.:l

- pnl\muli\ t' illtlt..; rnru

~nminl! ruruil~

/louse and Carden.

October 1957 (co vrr )


Lo11g Island, c. 19-t5

:3 0

number \vh en comp a red to those of his colleag ues

un der contrac t to oth er publi cati ons. From th e begin nin g Kertesz had a reput a tio n a t Co nd e Nast form a ni acal preoccupa tion with de ta il and for his demands
in rela tion to lighting and th e pl acem ent of obj ects.
Brook e Astor, \vho la ter co nfirm ed this. \vorked o ft e n
with him , p atie ntl y endurin g hi s moo ds and a pprec ia tin g th e pe rfecti oni sm th at wo uld h ave irrita ted so
m a n~' other s. In h er auto biog ra ph~ As tor pointed out
tha t Ken esz "rejoiced in wha tever hi s came ra co uld
catch ." Kertesz, h ere as else wh ere. h ad the taste and
th e ta le nt to e nh a nce th e objec ts. T hus, from 19-t6.
I lanse and Carden (a t th e hea rt of th e Cond e \ as t
g ro up ) m onopolized him ., a nd his profess iona li s nt
neve r weaken ed . Th e ph otog rapher, who h a d "no
real fri endr:2.') in the cit y a nd who \Yas assuredl y not
as in spired by New Yo rk as h e was bv P aris, wo ul d
late r co mplain of h av ing was ted much time and e ne rgy. TTe con tinu ed to ma ter p erspective, t o pla ~
" ith an gles and di agn ona ls, to practi ce im provin g a
co ntext and ridding him se lf of encumberin g deta il s.
but he was shooting a t Winthrop Rock efeller's a nd a t
th e fashion design er Ma inboc hcr's-rather th an a t
Za dkine's and Mondrian 's. lie still appreciat ed 1he
boo ks, set in a row or pl aced on th e corner of a table,
tb a t more than an~1: hin g pe rso na li ze d a place, but
th ey were n o longer th ose o f hi s fri end s. imbued with
pe rso nal affection . th a t he too k care t o pl ace in th e
pic ture. T h ey we re th ose o f unknown authors, u sed

only as sym b o ls. T he differe nce Ia , in th e cli sta ncr.

lik e the distan ce br t"re 11 res pect a nd 10\e. Durin g
th e ~rears spent a t /louse and Garden. Kert esz's pe rson a l \Yorks " 'ere re l a ti vr l~ rar r. T h e plwt ogr a piiC'r
ha d no finan cial worri es. a nd h e did su ccee d in g ivin g
mea ning to each int agr : th c p11blishcrs of th e ntagazine and th e own e rs o f th e ap a rt111 e nts th a t he ph otograph ed we re sa ti s fi ed (as mu ch \Yi t h hi s \Ya ~ of
loo kin g at archit ecture as \\ith th e " armth he
b ro ug ht t o th e int e ri o rs co ncc iYed m ore oft c11 th a n
uot by p rofess iona l deco ra tors) : bu t h e n ever count r cl
thi s com mi ss ioned ,,o rk as pa rt o f hi s oeu\Te. in co ntras t to the wo rk he l1 a d do ne prev i o u s !~ in P a ri s. li e
rcse ut ecl the loss o f l1i s pl10t og ra phi c indi vid ua lity.
lie was di so ri ented ., as seve ra l o f hi s per son a l ph otograph s of th e tim e indi ca te, from Th e Lion and t!te
Shadow (19-t 2) to Bm ken Bench (1962) and Disap pearing Act (195.'3). li e was p erfectl~ con scious th a t
a lth oug h h e rem a in cd fa ithful to his cra ft. lt c o ft e n
lac ked th e m ost a rti s ti c e ffec t- th e magic b~ whi c h a
ph otograph b ecom es a rt. \rh e n a \Yarmth of persO II a lity circul a ted in a house., Ke rtesz felt it. found it.
e nte red into a rela ti ons hip ,,ith it. and \Yas a bl e to
produ ce a miracle . B111 in a n inte rior design er's roo m.,
he co uld exercise onl y hi s vi s ual iutdlige nce, l1i s tec hni cal know- how. li e did 11 01 c bau gc in a pro fo u11d
sen se: h e a da pted , a nd in the lon g run. it " as ha rd to
li ve with: his sentim e nt a lity was no longer all owed to
r nte r his ph otogra ph s.
ln December 19:37 Ke rt esz ha d hi s first .\r w
York sh ow. in PJJ 1u agaz in c's ga ll er y. ln .\l a rc h. he
lwei a lrea d\' pa ni cip a tcd , a lo ng ,,itiJ fi\'c oiiiC'r
ph otograph e rs., in '"Ph otog ra ph, 1839-1937" a t th e
Mu se um o f Mod e rn Art , wh c re 'Ame ri ca n Ph otogra ph s" b~ Wa lk e r l ~ va n s wo uld be sho,,n i11
1938 . But P,VI ga ll e r~ \\'aS a so lo slw'' acco mp a ni cd
b, a catalog ue. Tn th e sa me year, Kertesz pa rti c ipa ted in "Pi on ee rs o f .\l ode rn F re nch Ph o togra ph~ ..
a t Julien L e n a nd. in 19-t 1. in "Im age of Free dom ...
a nother group sh ow a t .\'lo\1 A. ''"h ere h e \Yas pl ace d
a mong mos tly a ma te urs. a fac t tha t did n ot displ ease
him . lie h a d a so lo show a 1 the Ar t Institut e o f
Chicago in 19-t6 th a t co nsisted of thirLv-s ix ph otographs, the m aj o rit~ o f whi ch were ta k e n from
Dc~r of Paris. Eve n I ho ug lt I he revie\\s in th e press
\\'ere few, the s how was a di scre te in stitu tiona l recognition . H e h a d to \\'a it 11ntil 1962 to see hi s ph otogra phs sh mn 1 in p ubli c aga in. a t th e Uni ve rs itr o f
L o ng Isla nd ., a nd th e n in 1963 . a t th e IY Vl os tra Bi e nn ale Inte rn az iona le de lla Fotografia in Veni er.

i nl eriors a nd 1hc objrrl s l ha l thi s l uxu ri o us magaz i nc

publi shed . BuL by res ig nin g him se lf. lh e lru e Kertesz
co uld no l()llge r find hin1 se lf' and ended pe rh aps 1)\
no lo nge r e \e n look ing .. . . '

,,here h r rece ived a go ld ln rdal, at th e BibliotlJ cqu c

.\ a tion a lr in Pa ri s. a nd a l Ylodcrn Age S tudio in
.\e\Y York. Thu s th e a lm os 1 co mplc1 c indifferen ce
las lcd liflrr'' ~ca rs , durin g \\'hich tim e Kc rl esz dc volccl hin1 sc lf lO llouse and Garden and occa siona Ll v
10 hi s O\\n work. Kertesz ,,as not eve n includ ed iu
l ~ cl\\a rd S tri c hr ns sho\\. TI1 c Fam ih of Vla n"' in
19.).5 (thou g h llw ch oicr of photograph e rs was cerl a inl~ dcha1ablc from a n a rtis tic point o f viC\\' ). 11
was imm cd ia l e ly followin g Alex Libcrm a n 's rcjccl ion of a n ove rl y movin g pholocssay al Co le Po rte r's.
a nd a proj ec t un dertaken a l lhc end of 196 1, that
Ke rtesz brokr hi s contra c l wiLh Conde Sas t a nd
slopped workin g for !louse and Gwdrn. Reli eved.
lib e rated. h e wa s finall~' a bl e to g ive frcr rr ign to hi s
'" sc nlime nlal photography. " li e was s ixl y-c ighl ~ears
o le!. ye t he rra ppea red mag nifi centlY o n d1e interna li onal sce ne. wid1 shmvs in Ve ni ce a nd in P a ris. ln
Calllera, in April 1963 , 13rassa'i clubbed him a "true
creator o f th e im age " and 'one of the g rea tes t pholog raph c rs o f o ur time .. ' 2 + 13rassa1 \Vas so rry that
Kc n csz's na me and \vork were unknown to th e new
ge ne ratio n. a nd h e related:
" Wh e n I saw him again, a few yea rs ago, h e
was waitin g for m e on 1bc quay of th e port in New
York . His first word s were [ am dead . ll is a dead
ma n yo u arc see ing again . ... The reaso n was give n
in the simpli cil y of 1he facls. Tran splanted w a world
ra ther unfavorable to hi s nature and hav in g to face
up to th e necess ities of hi s new existen ce. Ke rtesz was
unable to find hi s tru e path. b ut onl v. a nd lnu ch la t er.
finan cial s uccess. Workin g fo r the n1 agaz in e Honse
ond Gcudrn, for year s he con scicnl io usly phologra phcd. wid1 a ll hi s profess ion al maste ry, th e ri c h

Jn 196-t John Sza rk owski. th e nrw c ura1 or a l

MoiVIi\. ,,ho lwei ju st inlrod uercl Jacqu cs- ll cnri La rtigu e (bo rn in lb e same yra r as Kc rl esz) to Ame ri ra ns. presr nl cd . in lurn. a so lo s ho w o f Kertesz's
work arco nq nu 1i cd hy a ca la log uc co nl a ining six1yfour phowg ra pl1s. Kcrl esz's red i sco ver~ ,,as followed
ra piclh IJ\' accolades. and lh c sale o f co ll ec tible p rinl s
prog rr ss ive l~ increased . l hanks a Iso to .\ico las
Du croL. ,,lw served as a 11 agcn1. From th e n 011.
Ke rtesz prrp a rrd his books with th e adv ice an d he lp
of EJizabelh. tiiJliJ her dea lh in 1977 a fl er long suffering infli cted by ca nce r. ln 1962. s h o ril~ af1r r
breaking hi s co ntract a 11d rrcovering from an ope ration. Ke rtesz had go ne lo Argen1 in a to sec hi s
brother. Thi s trip m a rk cd l be end of th e th ircl pe ri od
a nd cb e beg innin g of th e folllth in th e ca reer of lh c
p ioneer of "la lkin g pi c turrs'' who would now unite
hi s fcrvo r to It is resentm c11 L
Whil e waitin g to be recognized , Kr rl esz''s preferred m o lifs in the strcc ls of New York , a lo ng wl1i ch
he \Ya 11 dc recl 1hrough o ut the 1950s. remain ed
th e co ns tru r ti vist juxt a pos iti o n of th e b uildin gs. thr
eclec ti c urb an furniture. the passe rs lw. a nd the
people n1 o re or less a t th e mar giu s wh o had th e tim e
to sit on publi c b en ch es. Th ese were th e same p eopl e
Louis Fa urc r photogra ph cd-Fau rc r a lso b ad no
las tc for g lo rifying a n Ame ri can socic ly deprived of
all innoce nce , compla cc nL sa ti s fi ed with its compassionless syslc m of sa nction s., a nd \Vas as llltl c b as for-

.l oh11 Sza rkm,ski .

~\;r \\

York . 11)(>:1

Wa shingron Square, 195 -t


bidden to publish anything but hi s fa sh_ion photogra phs. The fate of th e Swiss Rob ert Frank, who
immigrated in 1050 and was integrat ed despite
everything, wa s hardly more desirable. It wa s in
France that Frank's Th e Americans wa s published in
1958; th e American critics were severe when the
book wa s publi sh ed in the United States by Grove
Press. After Kert esz and Elizabeth moved , on October 12, 1952, into an apartment on the tvvelfth floor
of a building at Two Fifth Avenue that looked out on
Washington Square Park, Kert esz observed in all
seasons the life of the n eighborhood from his windows. From th ere (with a telephoto lens) he took his
bes t shots, in which his architectural sense was marvelously complem ented b y his i1mate capacity for
COlllplicitous observation. There he exercised unlimited patience, waiting for just what would make the
photograph unique, Kerteszian-as he knew how to
ca pture, at just the right mom ent, the flash th at
tra rrscend ed sight and released vision, illuminating
life. This new apartment and th e sq uare at the foot
of lir e building linally offered him a personal anchor.
lie renewed hi s acquaintance with th e m as terpi ece
during th e wint er o f 195-t thanks to a Wa shington

t;quare covered in snow, in which a distant silh ouette, anonymous, solitary, indispensable, was
the "specialty" of the photographer, his signature.
This shot proved that although routine had weaken ed his flame, it had not put it out altogether. The
inner conflict did not subdue him; the pressures of
Conde Nast did not totally "contaminate" him, to
borrow Walker Evans 's express ion. The artist in him
remained vital and motivated, even if, for a long
time, his artistic intensity was weak er. Since when ?
Weston Nae.f2 5 believed it was since 1933, the
year of his mother's death and of his marriage to
Elizabeth. Others believe it was since 1936, when
he left Paris and his artistic h om e. Ke1tesz was
sincere when he accused America of having
robbed him of his true talent, but wa s he not perh a ps mi staken? H e would again show eviden ce of
crea tivity, after en ding his co llaboration with House
and Carden, in 1962. Then he bega n to reassert
hi s ind epend ence, regaining his co nfidence through
two success ive large shows and. in 1963, recovering
the negatives he left in France in 1936, which
he had thou ght were lost forever. America alone cannot be blamed.

1. Audre KPrt es::, ,IJagrarors::.agou, intcrvie" \\'ith Janos

Bodn a r.

22. Elli ot Pa ul. "A \ food from th e Dim Past,'' Saturday Retieu oJL iterature (\by 19. 19-+5).

2. Ibid.

:23 . Kertes::., Gaillard. page 7 1.

:3. Ibid.

2-t . "Mo n Ami Andre Kertesz b)' Brassal. Camera, Ap ril


-+. KPrfes::,. Ga ill a rd . page 12.

.). 1ludre KPrtes::. .1/apyarors::.agou. op. cil.
6. Cl!augPs. ,\pril 1975 .
7. 1/uup:arian ,1/Pmories. page x.
8 . "Les ph otogra ph es cl' ori gin e ctra ngc re ac t ifs en Fran ce
entre 19 19 et 1936 .. (Ph orograpl1 ers of' foreign ori gin ac ti ve
in Fra lll'C bct\\cc n 1919 a nd 19:36): nta stcrs th es is in art
hi slory :, A1111i e- La urc \Va navc rbecq: L'niversily of ParisSo rbonn e. 1990: page 8-t .
9. Ibid .. page 8 1.
I 0. ll enri \ 'a n Li er. 1/istoire plioto{{mpl!ique de Ia plwtogmphie (Ph otograp hi c lli sto ry of Ph o 1 og ra pb~'). les
Caliiers de Ia plwtographie, 1992.
11 . "ll enri \l a ti ssr on \llodcrni sn1 a nd Tra dilion ,'' Th e Stu dio, IX . 110 ..) 0 . .VI av 1935 .
1:2. KPrt es::,. Gaill a rd. page 22.
1:). / ln dre f...'ertes::,. 11w Fm nce: Sa ndra Philli ps. "A ndre
Kert r,z. 1111 louri slc a Pa ris: 192.)-:27 ... page :25. T ht> tex ts
ll\ Sa udra Phillip ~ iu Audre f...'ert es;:;, ma Fm nce a re extrac ts
fro111 "The Ph olographi r \\ .o rk of ,\u d rr Kert esz in Fra nce.
19:2.)- :)6 : ,\ Criti ca l Essm a ud Cata logue .. ilws is: the Cit,
L'ui\'(' r, il\' of i\c,, York . 198;).
1-t . Ibid .. p. :26.

1.). Kert es::,. Ga ill a rd. page -tO .

H> . lu regard lo th e rela ti on;, hi p bct\\een ,\n d rc Ke rtesz a nd
th e pre:;s. ;,er 1h r unpublis hed st ud v by [ li sabelh Daumas:
.. ,\ndrr 1\:ert rsz a nd Commi ss ioned P h o t og ra ph~- f'rom 1925
to 19:36 ... ;\li ss ion du Pa trimoin e Photog ra ph iqu e. 1990.
17. ;lndre A:ert es::,. 111a Fmn ce: Jea u- C: Ia ude Lemagll\.
,\udrr Kert esz maitre de Ia mes urc... page 108.

18 . Ibid .. pa ge 112.
19. f...'ert es::.. Ga illard . pagP .)8.
:20. lul el'\iew \\'iil1 Ja nos Bodn a r.
2 1. 1/wpPr s /3a::,a w : '\o. :269-t. "5 ::30-The Curl a in Fall s...
" ii11 1hirt ee u pholographs bv And re Kcrlcsz.

2.5 . Andre Kertes::, of Paris aiiCI Neu Yo rk, Weston '\ae L

"The .\l a kin g of an Ameri ca n Photogra ph er."' page 121 .

The Hungarian Period

A Pho tographer from Birth

by Laszlo Bcke

ud re Kertesz sa id a ll his life th a t he was

"born a ph o tog ra ph e r, but he neverth e less
evolved durin g th e co urse of hi s ca reer-a nd
hi s evo lut ion was la rgely influ e nced b y his surroun d ings . On e of t'he obj ectives o f o ur study is t o sh o w
ho w his birthplace., the c ultura l b ack gr oun d o f
hi s youth in Hungary, and., la ter, the m em ori es
o f his p as t and his Hungaria n a ttachments m arked
his work . Our second o bj ective is a bit more complex. We would like to unders ta nd the m eaning of
Kertesz's certainty of h aving a n innate photogr aphi c
vis io n . Kertesz often raised this question ., reiter ating
th at he composed unceasingly. even with ou t a ca m e ra. But the dista n ce be tween the verbal a nd t he vis ua l co m p licates the an a lys is.


Kertesz sp ok e ueith e r Fre nch nor E n gli sh co rrec tl y. It was in Hun ga ri a n th at he expressed hirn se lf
c lea rest (at tim es e ve n s ho win g evid e nce o f a lite ra ry
ex igen cy). 1-J e e nj oyed reco untin g a necdo tes a nd
wo uld re la t e t he same event o ver a nd ove r. F ro m tir e
. he wo uld sa, lo
' beg inning of [m y] caree r.
Kri sztin a P ass ulh (art hi sto ri a n, wh o " as fo r a whil e
a c ura to r a t th e .Vlusre d ' Art :vl ode rn e de Ia Vill e de
Pa ri s a nd is nO\Y c lta ir.of th e a rt hi sto ry de pa rtm e nt
a l th e Univers i t~' o f Bud a pes t ): " m y interes t in p hotog ra ph y began in 1899. I was b a re l~ s ix years o ld. I
lr a d go ne to Szigetbecse, to m y un c le's. Oue d ay I
f' lirnbecl up to the a tti c. wh e re I bega n 10 nu11ur age

l:,;z tr rgo lll. ril e To\\


Cc rll er. I hill gi.l l'\'. 19 17

a ro und , and T fo un d o ld magazines. lik e die Carl enlaube, with lots o f ph o togra ph s. . . ln s tin c ti ve l~' I
fe lL the desire 10 La ke ph o tos o ne day. L ate r T dec id ed , wh en l ha clrrro r1 ev. I ha l J wo uld buy a ca me ra
Meanwhil e.
a nd I wo uld do wh a t I wa 111 ed 10 .
" he n so me thin g he ld rn y a 11 e111i ou . 1 would hold o n
lo th e m emor~', sa ~ i11 g to rn~ self: OK. lat e r. wh c11 I
have a came ra ., I will ta ke a p ic ture of it. . ln stin cti\'e lv I began to co mpose: I lea rn ed to pe rce ive th e
mo me nt . . . up until th e d a ~ ,,h en I took Sleeping
Bar. " ho was o ne o f my a nnv b ud clies. l Tn a no th e r
inter view h e reca ll ed: .. 1 IIIU SI have b een six ~ ca rs
o ld when I di sco ve red i11 m y a u11t's a ttic o ld ne wspa per s and illu stra ted rn agaz in es. I eve n re ru e rnbc r
th e Iit le o f o ne o f th ese newsp ap e rs: die Carlenlaube . . . . T re111 e rnbe r c lea rl y th a t. even by th a t
lim e. I ha d the fee lin g th a i o ne da , I too wo ul d
rn a ybe do so me thin g like thi s.
Then I pe rce i\'ed th e eve nts a ro und me in a spo nta neo us o r reOec ti vc rn a nner. sa ~ in g 10 myself that late r. " hc11 I
ha d a ca me ra . I wo uld ta ke thi s a nd tl1a1 a nd ., a lrn os t
ill SI inct i vel~. r co rn pose d ph o tog ra ph s.
T lw
c ho ice of th e len g th o f ll w pose. th e compos iti o 11 , llw
lll Otli Clll o f th e s ho t we re I rulv in m v nature. But I
lra ill ecl m\sc lf' thi s " a v. a lso. ob vio uslv. with o ut

Ke rt esz spe11t t he First \X'o rlcl \~ a r as a so ldier

a 11cl a rn a te ur ph oiogra ph er a 11d- wi1h o r " ith o ut ~~

cam era- IH' did not stop co rnposin g. I li s rr otehooks

a bound irr rr ol at ions I ha 1 co uld be desnipl ions of
ph otogra phs. In go in g to l"emberg ( Lw(J ,,) irr 19 1:).
Ir e rr otcr L "Thu s I \Yas a hlc 10 see a ft er arr cxpl os iou
il l(' rneta lli c roa d ami tir e wa go rr s. hrll'lrl. dcs lro, ed.
A rrrunhn o r hul'lll Hrt ss ia n \\ Hgotr s we re Oil th e ern ha rrkrrH'Ill ulong " ith lir e debris fmrrr lir e brid ge th at
lr ad expl oded: th e se rn a plr orc. eunTd irr th e Ji ght o f'
th e sun . " lridr had a lrea< h- sc i behind lir e ernb a nk rn e n1. ga ve th crn an in co n;prehensibl e signaL .. .':l
a nd "We lrad begun th e rn a rclr at cl a wrr. All of' a sud de rr I sa \\ a spl endid im age : a qu a rtered lwtl a li on a t
da d!L'ea k. In a fogg ~ la rrd seape. wiilr sleepin g.
dreamirr g so ldi ers-drea min g ci,il drea ms bchirrd
tir e !r ea ps ... -+ A note frorn hi s jourrr a l of April :3.
1915. rea ds. "In th e cvcrrirr g. llooked a l tlw peopl e
lw nt oYer tlr cir bask ets irr a fl ooding of lir e Wrs\Yi ca
a rrd J \\as deligl1t ed wi 1h 1he silh orr ell e of a ca r
wlri ch \\'as refl ec ted in th e " a ter a nd da rke ned. a nd
shimm ered irr lir e settin g of th e sun bclrirrd the da rn
rr ear th e fl oo ded zon e. lca virr g gold du st belriud it. ln
th e wa ter. irr the calm wa ter of th e beg inning of
sprin g. a t du sk ... only so rn e fi sh surfacirr g lr ere a nd
th ere produ ced \\Tinkl es. undul a ti orr s th a t co uld
onl y e mbelli sh th e fl a t surface . Slow!~- a bsorbed , th e
cl a rk shadow of th e ca r " !ric h spun a l full speed \vas
infinitely m~ s l erious.,..)
Fo r Ke rtesz .. co mpos ition impli ed. a bove a ll .
th e ord erin g of form s. a rrd so metim es a lso int eg rating a tm os ph eri c conditi ons. Ju the ph otog raph e ntitled Th e Su>i11g (1917) ., t\\o chil dren cha tter, form ing a light spot in front aga inst t he da rl background
in \Yhich cvc rvthing is cl ctcrrnined b~- I he tracing of
parallels and so me conve rge nt lines . .. , co nsciously
took this picture from th e point of view of th e com -

Soldi er arrd Bull.

llrrn ga ry. 19 17

The S\\irr g. llrrngan. 191 7

position. It was importa nt to me lo do it. '' 6 'Why did

lt ak e i I? I saw there so mething th a t see med interes tiu g and J etern alized il. Ob vio usl~r., I wa ited for th e
most fa vora bl e moment. I was there, th ey had 110
idea wh a t I was doin g. cs p eci all~, in 1917-1 pla ye d.
I talked lo th em-th e favo ra bl e momenl ani vccl . I
took it. And ir1 effect, I sec now tha i from the point
of view of co mpositi on, it is rn odcnr .''' In th e ph otograph. only one clement tes tifi es to th e "favo ra bl e
moment : th e little girl liftin g her foo l. In oth er ph otogra ph s. th e appropri a te moment is th e key element
of the co mpos iti on. For exampl e. th e train traversin g
th e background in Meudon (1928) or lir e silhouell c
a pproac hin g th e street- th ey a rc signifi cant. Tn hi s
(i rst peri od. th e lea ps b ~- a number of I he fi g ures recall th a t Kert esz too k advant age of e ,e r~ occas ion 10
do sport s. In general. e ve r~r thin g th a t lra s lo do with
movem cn 1- leapi ng. poo l scenes. racrs- rspeci a Ih
interes ted him then . It is thu s na tura l that he opt ed.
very earl y. for insta nt a neo us ph otogra phy with or
\Yith out a n a ut oma ti c release mec ha ui srn . No tr again
the sin gul a r rol e of bird s in hi s work: tire~ often o<c up y th r kr y places in hi ~ fi rld of vision or create cl -

,VIv Brotht'r a ,; kan1,;.

0Jinaharasz ti , llun gary, 1919

em ents with narrative valu e. \Vc have understood

rather late that his photographs of birds were not the
work of chance. Upon his visit to Budapest in 1984,
Kertesz wa nt ed to take a shot of an outdoor statue
and asked his companion to hold hi s arm out until a
bird appeared in the image. ft didn"'t work, and after
a quarter of an hour he gave up 8


Autonomous formal values, degrees of intensit y of black and white, in stantaneous photography-Kertesz could not study th ese tn his
predecessors. Through their work on facia l expression , the most important professional photograph ers, masters like Aladar Szekely, Denes H6nai,
J6zscf Pecsi, tried to break th e bourgeois photographic habits of the portraiti sts of the end of the
century. As for the amateurs, numerous and \vell orga ni zed, they worked to diversify their thematic
choices: landscapes, nudes, genre scenes, still lifes.
But a ll of them, concerned with making reference to
th e high a rts, were inclined to use the eraser, platinum , bromide, bromoil, and other "noble methods "
to ac hieve "pi ctorial," indistinct and vaporous effects-which Kertesz rejected from the beginning.
This antagonism persisted into the 1920s: Kertesz
would have taken a silver medal in the competition
of th e National Association of Amateur Hungarian
Photographers in 1922 if he had been willing to
show photographs prepared with bromoil. Because
he refu sed, he received only a simpl e nomination.9 A
tendency close to Kertesz's own was represented by
cer tain photographers of the First World War, such
as Rudolf Balogh , hi s eld er b y fifteen years, and I van
Vyd a rcny, hi s elder by seven years. Both contribut ed , between th e t\vo world wars, to th e c reation
of a '" Magya r style " : sun-fillrd I lun garian land~ capc s. villa gr scrnes in which tl1e pictoriali sm of

"noble methods" wa s replaced by the produ ct of

"softening" lenses . Appa rentl y Kertesz did not know
the work of the photographers Janos Miilln er or
Gyula Jelfy, who during the Hepubli c of Counsels
had tried to create Tlun ga rian photo-essa?s. We also
do not know if he kn ew Karoly Escher, who was
born in 1890 and who , betwee u the two world wars,
becmne one of the key figures i11 reporting with a social emphasis and even of politi ca ll y engaged " sociophotograph?. " At this time, Kertesz wa s already the
mature creator \vho , with hi s lyrical vision and his
original compositions. would inscribe his name in
the hi stor~7 of photograph? with the invention of
what is knowu as "literary reportage. '
fn 1912 Kertesz rook his first photographs (a
young neighbor and her family) assisted by his
younger brother. Journal entry, June 21 , 1912: "We
tried to make prints from the plate and we succeeded. Tt is captured well. The photo is small, but
sharp enough . I can look at it for a long time and I
am very h appy. " 10 All that followed up until and
during the war-a bo y asleep beneath his newspaper, lovers, fri end s playing sports together, soldiers
resting, Gypsy children , a blind musician, onlookers
in front of a circus tent-consisted of genre scenes
taken with sensitivity, but withou t any trace of social
critique. In 1916 Kertesz parti cipated in the satirical
magazine Borsszem Janko's competition with a selfportrait in which he was delousing himself. The following year he sent a view of peasants arguing and
another of village children leafing through a storybook to the Erdekes Ujsag competition. In 1918
Kertesz photographed "the revolution of the Queen

Margarets a nd the street events of the He public of

Cou nsels, \Yhi ch wa s declared .\!larch 21 , 1919. 11
Thi s does not necessarily mean that he \\as enthu siastic: 'I \Yas a leftisi. like eve 1T normal human
bein g. absolutely lefti st. . . . as a high school student a socialist. but I was not the activist type-[
was on[~, in sympathy with them-then I sa\\ what
had occurred during the commune. . . . I rea d
and heard t bat my friend s ,,ere executed for nothing. th at is to say for the simpl e pleasure of killin g .
.Vlv friends were inn ocents wh o had never clone
anv harm to anyone. And they were leftists like
me. What happened \vas terrible: co mpulsory
parades. . .
I wa s employed at the time. Obviously. it was ob li gato ry to march; the president of
the stock exchange office had to march \Vith us. 1
have a photo that [ took on May 1; I re1nember it
well. 12
At th e beginnin g of th e 1920s, Kertesz \vas
unemployed. Not only did he separate himself more
and more from the values and expectations of hi s
fmnily-a 'proper" job appealed to him less and
less-but in finding \\ork hi s Je\\ish origins were
also a problem .13 l-Ie had once worked a fe\Y \veeks
as a beekeeper; as hi s photo-essays were later to testifv. traditional trad es attracted him. Th en he decided to beco me a professional photograph er. Entry
in his notebook , May 23 , 1922: ''Angelo has offered
to teach me photography. That Twill b ecome a photographer.'' Entry Ma~' 3 0, 1922: 'I notifi ed Angelo
that I accept hi s offer. H e ha s pushed back the beginn ing of th e lesson s from September to October,
" ben h e will have work .'' Entr~' June 19, 1922: 'I
went to Pomaz with Angelo to take photographs.
E ntry June 23 , 1922: ''Photos cleclicatecl in a nau seating style on Angelo 's part. That does not please
me.'' Entry July 8, 1922: "At midday. at Angelo's.
He rese rves a cold welcome, purposely directs th e
co uversa tion in a way to disco urage n1e from photography. Vi sibly his own pride is hurt, beca use 1 did
not accept his advances as he had hoped. T was
afraid of his celebrity. Later, he warmed up again. "
Entr~- July 11 , 1922: 'At a clairvoyant's. I should
not li sten to Angelo; h e is a h~r pocrite , this coex isten ce will never succeed. It is on t be traces of an old
gentl eman tha t I will find my future .. \Ybich \Yill be
beautiful. I should leave. " Ent ry July 2-t , 1922: I
went to say goodbye to Angelo. J-Ie goes to
Pari s .. .. " 1-t Kertesz himse lf did not leave for
Pari s until three more years had passed. F[owevc r.,

M~ illother 's Ilands.

Biidapcst, Hunga rv. 1919

a n anecdote sho\\s Angelo's influen ce: in 1925,

Kertesz put aside- and would keep all his life-Ange lo's photo-essay entitled La Rue de La Pai.'r
Pest-les 2-f heures de La m e f'aci (Peace Street in
Pest- Th e 2-f Hours of fa ci S treet ). 15 Angelo, 'vhose
real nam e was Pal Funk , was the same age as
Kertesz and was , among the professional photographers, a representative of the 'soft style'' popular
between the two world wars. Kertesz, who preferred
sirnplicity and the abso lute absence of artifice, evidently could not completely co mply with Angelo's
instructions. Kertesz had no real need of a teacher,
a nd he could discuss photography with a number of
fri end s and relati ons. His friend Maximilian Winterstein found himself after the war in the new Czechoslovakia as a profess ional photographer; Erzsi
Romer, anoth er fri end , at first an amateur, later
ope ned a studio in Budapes t. His co usin H6zs i
Klopfer regularly ask ed in her letters for advice on
printing techniques. His friend Sandor B01oss own ed
a valu able camera. Especiall y important to him were
hi s two broth ers, lmre and Jeno. Jeno emigrated in
1925 to Buenos Aires, where he continued to take
photographs. Writing from Argentina, Jeno predi cted th e evolution of his brother: ' AJas , I have not
see n any of your rece nt photograph s. Th e Kemslo ck
S tudio is still in your old s t~le. Th e photo of
Madame Nemes lea ning on her clbmv.. \\'ith th e ot her
woman, was conceived in the spirit of Angelo . With
th e " oman behind the cafe ta ble, you ha , e already
met Pechy. The first truly ori ginal-photo that I sa \~
of yours was Zil:::er and Noe. But it is only an attempt. With the Creek engineer. you begin to beco me Andre Kertesz. For me. the big surprise ca 111C


fro m two photos of C unvor Berg . Th ere., you a rc already a di s tin ct charac ter-it is no longer the appara tu s tha t ph otograp hs but th e lens th at d ra ws as
yo u want it to. Espec ially in th e three -quart er po rtrait. I don't eve11 kn ow ho\Y yo u did it. It is not per fccd y clear, but it is a lso neith e r disagreea bly cl ark
nor so ft in desig n: it is stron g in co ntras ts. Th e techniqu e is impecca b le. a nd. as fo r d1 e co mpos iti o n. 1
don t recog ni ze yo u. \Vhen \Ye parted. ~o u " ere
g rop i11 g. un consc ious. with littl e o ri g in alit y a nd lots
of intuit io n. ll ere I speak only o f portrait s. Apparentl y. yo u needed thi s ~car where ~~ o u foug ht to ea rn
a li vin g. to b eco me a ut ono mou s a nd consciou s." 16
Even if we don 't kn ow a ll th e photog rap hs
cited. this leue r t eac hes us mu c h a bout t he ex ige nc ies o f th e peri od . Kertesz ha d certain!~ ph otog ra ph ed th roug ho ut th e war-from Hun ga ry to
Ga li cia. from Albania to Rum a ni a-but sim ply regis terin g events did 11 01 co unt as a 1n1 e p erform a nce:
th e tru e photog raph er, the one wh o wo uld co me to
li ve hi s craft., o ug ht to m ak e a rti sti c renderi ngs. A
littl e tim e still ha d to pass be fore I he pub Iic ,,o Ldcl
rea li ze that a n ew genre ha d bee n bor11: p hotojo urna li s m . It \vas in Pari s that Kert esz beca m e a photoessav ist.

~:': Ii za b e th .

Dunaharasz li, Hungar), 1920

What spiritual baggage did Kertesz take with

him to Paris? Baggage similar to t hat of th e average
perso n. Born in a petit bourgeo is famil y, with a
dip lom a from a bu sin ess sch oo l. he thereafter \Yas
c hi e fl~, self-ta ug ht . Though a tru e 'Bucl apestia n'' (at
th e tum of th e century, th e Hun ga ri an capita l was a
very dy nami c E uropean m etropoli s with a m etro., a
tra m\\a ~' a telep hone system ., and a number of thea ters a nd cafes ) li e often went to the co un t r~ As a
hi g h sc hool stud ent., everythin g interes ted him . H e
a tt end ed sportin g competiti OJJ S (soccer. boxing,
ru gby ). parti cipated in atlJlcl ics, played th e flute
well. a nd ca mpo eel parodies of popular so ngs . lie
wa s a g reat love r of th e thea ter. rn the gra nd halls
of Buda pest -Ne mzeti Szinhaz. Magyar Szi'nhaz ,
Vigsz inh az-be saw plays b~r Bernard Sha w and
Ma uri ce '\llaete rlin ck and those o f fashion a bl e Hunga ri a n a uthors s uch as Lajos ll a tvam , Lajos B1r6,
Dezso Szomorv, a nd Ferenc ll erczeg. Hi s rea d ing testifi ed to th e sa me ec lecticism: Sa nd or Brody. whose
nove l Dada is a n exa mpl e of la te- nin eteenth-ce ntury
na llll'a li sm. Ceza Ca rd onvi. a 111ho r of a hi stori cal
best-sell er on th e wa r against th e Turks. a nd Istvan
Ba rso nr \Yh ose huntin g stories were very popu la r. lle
ce rt a inl y rea d Th e Guys ji'Oin Pal S treel b y Feren c
Moln a r., a cult book that moved genera l ions of

E mil .\'ovot n~, the des igner Ma rcel Vc rl es. Cy ul a

Zi lzer (with whom he \Yilll eavc fo r P a ri s a nd wh om
he will later encounter in New Yo rk )., lmre Czurnpf',
lmre .\'agy. a nd. above all, Vi lmos Aba-.\ ovak a nd
ls tva n SzonYi.

\J r. Di,irr g irrt o dw
Swirnirrg Pool.

Buclaprsl. I 917

children. a nd !/You PIPase, Teache1; by th e sa tiri cphi loso phical a uthor Frigyes Karinthy. a novel fo r
hi g h sch ool s tud ents whi ch m ade on e lite ralJ~- la ug h
out lo ud.
Jo urna l entry. Ap ril 15 . 1922: Gamine. bv
Pierre Weber in H elt a is translat ion. lt is th e first
Fren ch com edy that J have see n. It pleased me. Of'
pla\'S for th e th eater. J still cann ot formu late critiqu es. ,,hi ch is not the case for objects and works of
a rt. In th a t domain. a nd to my g reates t pl eas ure. l
have bee n able to do so for quite a wh il e. J 7 It is from
thi s peri od o nward th a t th e first testim oni es to
Kertcszs int e res t in th e fine art s da te. At thi s time. he
bought a reproduction o f' the paintin g llone_pnoon by
Bih a ri a nd ''T rll to Mikl os \'ada szs show (th ese were
t\\"O mediocre painters from that period). More significant ly. be k ept an iss ue (No. 5) o f' the first year of th e
magazine D/s::,[tomiiues::,et (Decorative Arts). dating
fro m 19 1-., wlti ch prese nted the works of Ka rol~' Kos.,
all author of a g reat var iety of creative works. Koss
prin c ip allitera r~- work. the epic poem Th e Death of
Attda (19 09 ). was also kept by Kertesz among hi s
treas ures. Kos des ign ed and constru cted bu iIdings in
a new style.
Ia Hungari an ," based on th e popu la r
art of Tran sylvania. In the early 1920s, Kertesz often
wenL to the decorative arts museum and to its library
with Erzsi Saly (Elizabeth ), hi s future wife, who embroidered and studied dra\\ing with Almos Jaschik
(another representative of the secession a nd symbo lism). To get an idea of the importan ce of thi s wom a n
in Kertesz's life., we h ave only to examine t he double
(self-) portrait tak en in 193 1. There we see Elizabeth
with h er face audaciou sly cut in two, her lover's
(Kertesz's) right hand resting on her should er. In
Hungar y, many of his friend s were arti s ts: the pain ter

What strikes one. in thi s s mall li st. is the absence of rep resentatives from th e Hun ga ri an ava lltga rde. str i e tJ~- speaking. Kert esz ce r1 a i11ly kn ew
oth er arti sts-his b rot her's lett er. cited above . i nd icates that he photog raphed 1 he studio of Karolr
Ke rn s tock. th e hea d of the g roup of pa intrrs .. The
C ro up of E ig ht .. -bu l he had to wait until Pari s to
wo rk with llu ngarian progress ives.
Whe reas ''T IJC C ro up of Eight" we re parti cula rl y und e r th e influ ence of Ceza nne and tl lC Fauves,
the activ ists., painte rs. and wri I ers gat he red aro u ncl
Lajos Kassa k m oved toward Co nstru e! ivism a nd
Da da ism. Ma ny amo 11 g them participated ac tive ly in
th e politics o f the Comm un e of 19 19. paintin g
posters. for example., and creating th e decorat io ns
for 1he J\1a~' 1 parad e. Kassa!< openlv op posed one of
th e communi st directors, Bela Kun., and refused to
put hi s art a t th e se rvi ce of th e polit ical en ds o f th e
proleta rian dictatorshi p . Neve rtheless, a ft e r the failure of th e Hepublic o f Co un se ls., Kassa k. like o lh er
members of th e gro up. ha d to emigra te. a nd m oved
to Venice. ( Kertesz photographed him with his wife.
Jo la tL The elate of thi s magn ifi cent photograph is
unknown.) Laszlo .VI o h ol~' -Nag y went. via Vien na . to
Ge rmany.. wh ere he participa ted a lon g wi 1h m a n~' o f
hi s compa tri ot s in th e founding of th e Bauh a us:,
Lajos Tihany i chose Paris.


\X'ith \11\' A rti st l' riencb . I h11rgar Y. I 9:2:3


Trio, Hac kcve, llunga ry, 1923

When, in 1925, Andre-still Andor-Kertesz

arrived in the French capital, he found himself at
once in the milieu of the ''Hunga ri a n colony" : he frequented the Cafe du Dome, the mee ting place for
Ilon garians in Pa ri s. It is almost impossibl e to reconst ru ct perfectJ, th e li st oft hose with whom he es tabli shed ties during his more liran ten years in
Pa ri s. 1s but the li st includes ma ny artists: Rudolf
Diener-Denes, painter; Vera Braun , painter; Ma rcel
Vertes. designer; Cyula Zilzer; Id a Thai ; and the
painters Vilmos Aba-Novak, Bertalan P6r, and Jeno
Barcsay on their wa ~' tlu-ough Pari s in 1927; as well
as Zsigmond Kolos-V ar y, whom Kertesz photographed behind th e folkloric balconies of the rnarionet t ist Ceza Blatt rrer and Fererrc Reich ental from
Pozso rr y (Bratislava). One of hi s best friend s wa s th e
deaf-mute painter Lajos Tihanyi , of \Yhom he made
tire srrrpri siu g portrait in which thick smok e spiHs
frorn Tihan~' i 's mouth like ectoplaslll or an illu stra-

tion of Duchamp 's 'inji-wnince' theory. Other

friend s of Kerteszs should al so be noted: the design er and woman of letters Anna Leszna i., one of
the pioneers of modern tapestry and model for several portraits; Noerni Ferenczy; the architects Erno
Cold finger and Pierre V ag6 , and sculptors Joseph
Csaky and Etienne Beothy, in whose stud io Kertesz
photographed the famous Dancer in 1926. Kertesz
reca ll ed his model for this photograph thu s: "She
wa s call ed Magda Forstner, a very good dancer. She
dan ced in Budapest at the Vigao and wa s alrea dy famous when she decided to leave for Pari s, \Yhere \Ye
ran into each ot he r. 'Magda,' l sa id to her, 'come to
Beothy's studio tomorrow; I would like to take some
photographs of you. ' She came. We talked of eve rything and notlring, J asked her if she had a n~' id eas
about the pose. Above all no emba rrassment. A few
minutes after the first photograph, she sa id she had
an id ea. She threw herself on the couch, and r took it

a l once. I saw I ha l it was perfect, th a t the re was no

need for a noth er ta ke. t 9 With her bodv. th e dance r
gave a n in ge ni ous int erpreta ti on o f Bci:ith y"s sculp tures. Bci:i thy 's " ifc, Anna. was a lso a fri end of
Kcrt cszs first wife. Rog i An d re (Rozsa Kl ein ). herse lf a ph otogra ph er a nd stud ent of Lisette ModeL
Among 1 he llu ngaria n film ma kers. Kertesz
kn ew Vin cent a nd Alexander Korda; a mong the mu sicia ns. Fcri Roth and Pa ul Anna: a mong the writers, San dor Mara i and Cyi:irg~' Bi:ili:ini. Sand or Ma ra i,
a t the time a correspo ndent for a llun gari a n dail y,
as ked him for a ph otograp h of a n au tomobil e.
Bi:i li:ini as ked him to photograph places- streets and
n eighborh oods-th a t Endre Ady. th e grea t l Iunga ria n poet and un conditi on a l lover of Paris., had frequented at th e beginning of the ccntury. 20 Anoth er
im portant event in regard t o Hungari an literature
occurred in 1927, wh en, at th e opening of Kertesz's
sh ow with lela Th al in the galler y Au Sacre d u
pr in tem ps, Ferenc H ont and the poet Attila Jozscf
read some of th eir poems.

It is diffic ult to enume ra te a ll the ph otograp hers of Hun garian ori gin who lived in or passed
through Paris, or were in correspond ence with
Kertesz. 21 T he most importa nt were Brassal (Cy ul a
I-lalasz) , Robert Capa (Endre Fri edmann ), Lu.cicn
Aigner, E meric Feher, and- in a larger senseStefan Lorant, the editor of i'Vfiinchener lllllslrierte
an d other illustrated m agazin es. A number of Hungarian wo men were successful photograp hers in

Boys Rca di11g.

Esztergom, Hu11gary, 1915

Paris as well: Ergy Landau, llka Revai, Jutka Miklos, Yll a, Eva Besn yo, Rosie Ney, and even Madame
Karolyi, " th e red Co untess," wife of the exiled president of th e Republic, who wanted to open a joint
studio with Kcrt esz. 22
A separate place should be reserved fo r Laszlo
Moh oly-Nagy, whose aud acious tilt shots and unusual framin gs arc not unrelated to certain photograph s b y Kertesz. Kertesz 's interest in distorting
mirrors, automobile headli ghts , a nd the crystal balls
of cla irvoyants \vas nol unrelated to the interes ts of
the m embers of th e Bauha us. One sh ould also note
th at th e seri es ''Distortions" had a parall el in Hungary: th e cari catu re of Istvan So koropatk ai Szabo
mad e in 1926 by Martin Munkacsi. Mo h oly-Nagy
som etimes sa id of Kertesz that of the two of t hem ,
Kertesz was the tru e photog rapher. They had much
respect" for each other- to th e poin t th a t in 1944
Mo holy-Nagy tried to persuade Kertesz to beco me a
professor at th e New Bauh a us in Chicago.
Th e foll owing observation conce rn s not Moholy-Nagy but an oth er Co nstru cti vist. th e pa inter
Piet Mondri a n, and attests to th e su b ll e iro ny of
Kertesz 's ph otograp hs: In t he masterp iece entitled
C!tez Mo ndrian (1926) , we see a tulip in a vase , b ut
whoeve r kn ows Mondrian 's work kn ow tha i the
tulip is only an art ifi cial fl ower pa inted wbite.:n A
compl ete sum r11ar y of Mo nclrian 's rela ti onslti p witlr
wom en is co ndensed in thi s radi a ntly pure p hotograph .
Your p hotog ra phs speak loo rmr clr . a rr edi tor of l4e magaz in e orr ce sa id to Kerl {sz . \\ 'e o rrl~
need d oc urrr c' nl a r~r ph otos. Our editm \\Till's t lw


tex ts . The photograp he r rrp li ed. "I can't he lp il. Ill\'

photos speak: 1 ca n't to uc lt t he ca me ra \Yith o ut rxpress in g m \self.":Z-t
Moholy-Nagy. t hr co tt ~ t nt c t tvisL would nevrr
have beeu able 10 spea k of hi s own pho1ograph s thi s
way. because h r prefe rred int perso nal. r.. ohjec ti ve"
p roductiv ity to s ub jective se lf- ex press ion. lie a lso
was a llungaria n inn o,ato r in photograp hy. but it
was in Germam that he became familiar \Yith thi s
new art, in cont ras t to Ke rtrsz. wh o had e la bo ra trd
hi s artistic vision in llun ga ry. ' Ke rt esz was in tllC'
lu c ky position of ma kin g photog rap hy itself a u integ ra l part of his g ro wth as a 111 an ... wrote Jlilt o n
Kram er in Hllngarian Me111ories. 2"> This subj ec tivr
vision was formed in th e p hotog rap hs of 1hc llun garian p eriod, and , co nd e ns in g untold stori es in thr
captured moments, it undeniablv mad e Ke rtesz a n
1rig in a l in the \vorlcl of p ho tography.

1. Pa ss ulil Kri ,;zl in :l .. !Jes::.elgetes !1ndre Kerths::.el u !I! usee

d"Arl 11 /odeme de Ia I i'lle de Pari:;- ban. 19S:2. Oktober :!.5-en
(lni erl'ierr uith !1ndre A:erles::. a/ th e .l!useu11r of .l!odem ilrl
o,/ th e Ci~r o,/ Paris. ()('Iober :!.5. 1952). L np11bli shrd Lvp r d
tran scription. T hr ori g in a l ta pr is a t th e Andre Kert esz 11111 SC' IInl in Sz igc tbccsr. \rr thank .\l111 c Pass uth f'or ha,ing
made th is documen t an1 il a bl r to li S.
2. !1ndre Kerl es::. Jllaf!..')'arors::.agon. intcrvi C\\' with .J a ii OS



3. Journ a l. 1915. gift f'rom Kertesz (Mi ss ion du Patrimo in e

Photographi q 11 e).

-+ . Ib id .

.5. !bi d.
6. I fungarian Memories, page 190.
7. Pass uth .. op. cit.
8. Borbely Ka roly, Tz nap Andre Kertesz tarsasagciban
(Ten Days in th e Co mpany of Andre Kertesz) in : !1 ndn;
Kert esz Magyarorsuigo n, op. cit. page 5 .

9. L<'ltl~ r f'rorn Dr. Fejervarv, secretarv general of .\1AOSZ

(\!at ional Associat ion of Amateu r Hungari an Photograpll('n;) to Andre Kert esz. elated Sep tember 11. 1922. with
srtbSI'IJ II I!lll II OLes br Andre Kertesz. Kertesz's gift (Mission
drt J>a trirnoin e Photograph iq ue).

10 . .l o11rnal. 1912. Gift from Kertesz (Mission du Patri rnoin e Ph otograp hi q 11 e) .

11 . Kertesz was. in fac t, a witn ess to the disso h11i on of the
Austro -llun ga rian mona rchv and the difficulty in es tab li shing a n autonomou s ll11n ga r~' Lr t's not e the most im portant
rvr nt s: At the beginning of th r First World Wa r. a soc ia l a nd
reo nom ic crisis that l)('ea n1 r rnorc a nd more scri o11 s look
hold of' th e ,,holr co untrv. and on October 31. 19'18. "th r
revolution of th e Q11 cr n Marga rets" broke out. whi ch led to
t hr lrft isI oppos iti on f'orrn ed of ind epr nclP nt s grouped

arorrncl th e C:or11rl ~11ihaly K6ro1Yi~ radical ho11rgeois and social clcm ona ls., laking power. AfiPr th e declara1io11 of llw
llu11ga ria11 Hepublic. Karol~ i became its preside111. Tbough
lhP Il l' \\. go,enun enl ccrla inh tried to carry on a dialogue
with thP nalio11al minoriti es lo sufrguard thr territorial in lrgrit~ of th e co u111 ry. it coulclnol slop lhr aclva ncr of Czech
a 11d Hum a ni a n a rmi es, supporl rd lw the i\llia11ce. The pro Alliance a11d paciri st orientation of il s morT rx1c rnul poli1ics
proving i11effccliw. the presid r 111 of the Hcpublic. more and
nr ore embaliiC'cl. gave 1he seal of power over lo the social
democrats fu sed with the comrnu11 ists on !\larch 21. 1919.
The Hcp ubli r of Counsel s was proclaim('(!. a11d a ne" revolution of the Bol shevik type bega11. As for K6. ro l~ i , a ft er hi s
deci sion he chose exil e (Kertesz ran into him i11 Paris and
wok his photograph on seve ra l occasions) . T he kr~ rigurc of
dr c ne" regime became the communist Bela Kun. comm issioner of the people in cha rge of external politics. The Llungaria n ' commune'' lasted 133 days. until Augu st 1, 1919.
On Augusl 4., 1919. the Rumania11 annv ent e red BudapPSI.
While the different governm ents were succeedi ng each other
in the cap ital. the repression of counterrevo luti ona ries was
being directed by Admira l Il orthy. " ho had himself dPclared
regent of L-Lungarv on Ylarch 1. 1920. Three monl hs l ater~ on
Jun e -. the treaty of Trianon was signed. a de jure confirmation of what was a lready de facto : two third s of llungarv's
territory \\as taken from it. a nd one out of three llungarians
found himself outside his count ry of origiu.

1 .). !t a::.i Elet, from .Janu a ry -Ito 10, 1925. page H. Cifl
of Kertesz (Mission du Palrirnoinc Pholograplriqne).

12. Passu tlr. op. cit.

22 . Sec 11 0te 11.

1:3. \'ot e th e co mplcxit~ of a na lyzing the stalu s of Jews in

thi s period in llunga rT. On I he one hand. a nti -Semiti sm was.,
from till' lwg inning. one of the key clements of the counterrevo lution a rv icleolog~ a nd propaganda. For the simple fact
dr at. thanks 10 cer1ain particularities of llunga ri a n society,
lir e role of .J ew ish i11tcll ect ua ls was imporl a nl in lhe bourgrois- cl emor ruli c revolution a nd decisive i11 th e Bolshevik
re\'ol uti on. Jews " rrP dcsig11 a1ed as scapegoat ;; a 11d on nuIIH'rous occas ions brcamc victims of rcprrss ion a nd auocili rs. Thr rl ow of I lunga ri a n rcfugrrs i1110 detached
lcrritorics-hllndrrcls of 1housa11ds of qualiried prople-only
se rved to agg rava iP the si1u a1 ion. This is what led lo Inc
.. 11urnerous claus us .. law (1920). particularh- prejudi cial toward th e lowe r a 11d rniddl c .J ewi sh bourgeoisie'. a Ia,, enacted
10 limit the uumber of places and toc introduce quotas in
lri glrer ed uca l ion. 011 the other Ir an d., Lire rcp rrse lltat i,es of
tire capital eco r10mic a lly Sllpporlccl the npw regim e despi1c
a nti -Se mili srn. As for Kertesz (hi s family-rnerchanls. small
were suspicious of a ll politics.
la ndhold e rs. emp loyees
hul 1hc~ n1ain1 a i11 ed relati ons \\ith certain politicians from
lir e 1920s. such as \lini stc r of Fina11ces Lorantl lcgecliis a nd
1lrr Librral Vilnros \ ' ~zson~ i ) . hr did not speak of I Iri s problcllr. \'evc rlirf'lrss. lr is nolchook s Icsti fy Io a grru 1 sp nsiI ivi 1,.
i11 1lris rega rd: duri11g tire war II(' 11o1cd tire a nli-Se rniti srn of
011e of hi~ h11ddics., ~ ncl in 1920 lr r rrma rkPd in relation 10
ar1 pmplo~ er. 1 ;,r 11 sP tlwt it i;, lilY Je\\ish side llral disturb;,
lrilll. ..

23 . Michel Seup hor cited by Sandra Phillips in Andre

Kerles::, of Paris and New York, op. cit. page :3 1.

1-t. Various diaries from ]<)22. Cift of Kn11'-sz (M iss ion du

PatrirnoirH' Plr olognrphiqu P).

16. LPiler fro11r Jcno Kert esz lo And re Kertesz da1ed ~o

,embcr 1.3. 1926. Gift of Kertesz (\1iss ion du Patrimoine
Plrotograplrique ).
17. Journal. 1912. op. cil.
18. Sandra Phillips has s runrn a rized the llunga rian irrflu rncc in KPnrszs wo rk in detail in Andre Kertes::. of Paris and
Nell' l'ork (Tirr Art in st itute of C hi cago. lir e ~'l el ropolil an
,Vluseurn of i\rl. ThanlC's a 11d lludson. ~ew York. London.
198-'i): 1lndre Kertes::., 111a France. We 1lrus limit ourselves
here to aspPcls re\'ealed through rcsca rchi11 g the Kertesz gifl.
19. ll. E.: Andre Kertes::. tort enetei (The S tories of Andre
Kertes::. ). Magyar t\e11rzct. Vlarclr 20. 198-t.
20. Biiliini. c, iirg ~ : A::. lga::.i ; lcli (The real Ac6), Editions
Atel ier. Paris. 19:3-.
21. On thi s subjPet sec Lire article b~ Annir-La ure Wanaverbccq: Les P!totographes etrangers dans Ia Frw1ce de l'entredeux-guerres (Foreign photographers in France hrlwcen the
two World Wars) . in 1/istoire de l'arl, no. 1.5. Oct. 1991 .
page 61.

2-. Barbaralce Diamon stein: Am erican Photographers on

Photography, Hizzoli., New York. 1981.
25. JTungarian Memories, p. xi.


Dun a ha raszti. Hun ga n '. 1920


Jeno in the Woods of Ncpligct. Budapes t. 1913

-+ 9

Szigetbecse, Hungary, 1914

.) 0

Vi ll age .\tlaclo nn a. Sz igctbccsc. I l11n ga r~ 1920


Gorz, January 1, 1915


Forced March to the Front, Poland, 1915

\1orn1ng Prayer in Front of Gologory, Ga li cia, 1915


Tend er Touch, Hungary, 1915


Esztergom , Jlungan . 19 16



.J 6ska F raukl and a Young Girl ,

Esz tergom. Hungar y., 19 1;)


Naegre BuiLL Br:f da. H111Hania. 1918

Budapest, 1914

Jcno Somm er. Budapes t. 1918

Jeno and ll onka. Budapes t. 1917


Buda pest. 19 15


Jeno and Hozsi .. Hungary, c. 1915


Tzigan r.

l~ sz t r rgo rn .

HungmY. 19 16


Young Notables, Bawrkeszi.

llun ga r~



Young Tz iga nc. Hun ga r~. 19 18


Gypsy Children, Esztergom , Hungary, 1917

Fri r nd s, Esztergom , llun ga r~' 19 17

Bathing, Dunaha raszti, H11nga ry. 19 19

Underwater Swimmer, Esztergom, Hungary, 1917


Dunaharaszti, Hungary, 1919


Mr Brother as a "Scherzo,"' Hungary, 1919


Self-Portrait with My Brother, Hungary, 1919

Me, among Fishermen , Dunaharaszti. Hungary. 1920

Ede Papszt and I, F okoru, Hungary, 1921

Eli zabeth, f-Iull gary, 192 1


Abony, Hungary, 1921


Buclafok. llungary. 1919

The Old Accordioni st. Eszcrtgom, Hungarv. 1916


Wand ering Violinist. Abon\'. Hungary, 1921



A z Esl. BlitIupco.
, 1 1920


Lookin g at th e C irc us. Budapest, 1920

The French Period

Paris, Kertesz:
Elective Affinities

by Dominique Ba qu e


lw photographic oc uvrc of i\ ndre Kert esz resists a 11 a lys rs a nd fru strates C'O IIIIII Cnt a r y Beca usc it is ncvc r syste ma ti c. it sec rn s to ba ve
bec11 wrought h a phaz a rd!~' 011 a clrau ce CII CO llllt c r o r
occas ion. Beca nse it is a lways in tir e ma rg in of fo rrn a ! current s. it co mes 11cith cr out of S11rrca li st cxpcrinH'nta1 io11 , lik e th e wo rk of .VI ciiJ H a ~ 11 o r from
Co nstr11 cti vis11r. lik e th e work of Ge rm a in e Krull. It
is no 11r o rc co mpa rab le to th e geo11r etri cized work of
a ll enri Ca rti er-Brcsso 11 than to tir e dc:cla redlnllna nism of a Robcrt Do isnea 11 .

S ingular., rcf11 sin g formal elllph as is as r11u cl1 as

e11ro1io naJ a ba nd onm e111. di sta nt witho11t bein g co ld .
l11 cid a nd 11rel a ncholi c. Kcrt eszs oeuv re in ve 11t s a
perspecti ve: tlwt o f a 11 emi g re who wa s ne ve r a 11
ex il e. th a t of a llun ga ri an hopelessly ta ke11 \\ith
Pa ri s a nd with French c ulture.
Bv realizin g on eSl' lf througlr a c ha nge of di rec tion one r11 ay co nfront th c Other; thus Kerte sz
tlw ll1111 garia 11 beca me a photograph e r while rnakill g F rend1 c ultu re Iri s own-w hil e ta111i11g a foreig11
cit y, Pa ri s. Wandering the length of th e quays of th e
Se in e, stro llin g i11 the public ga rde11 s, co nt empl ating
th e P a risia 11 int ertwini11 g o f chi11111e ~' S and roofs
from Iri s wi11dow, we re Kertesz's co ncrete , physica l
mea ns of ass imil a tin g tir e c it y without eve r los in g
him se lf in it., of establi shin g with tire pa ssers b~r. the
ve 11 erab lc wall s. a 11d g li ste11ing. ra in - we t pav in gstones-the li11k of a utlr ent ic 'elec ti ve affi niti es. It
was as if, eve 11 in lltr11gary. the desire had a lways
ex ist ed for a not he r cit y, a 11 o th er culture. It wa s as if
Pa ri s lracl k110w11 at o11 ce lrow to fulfill thi s desire.
thi s ex pect<J ncy. a 11cl to offer to hir11 a n irnrn eclia tc farniliarit\'. Pari s was no t the co ld sit e of exi le
for Kertesz, as New York la te r becanH'. but a welco mill g c ity full o f poss ibiliti es. Also. a t tl1e tirne of
hi s r11o vc to Pari s, the cos r11opo lit a 11i sm of the cap ita l enco 11raged ass imil a ti o11 witlrout forc ing orte to
lose o11es id e11tit y, a nd evc 11 as a Pa ri sia n photograplwr. Kertesz 11 ever had to r11 o urrr hi s llu11 ga ri a n
pas t.
Br twec11 th e two wars. Pa ri s., which lwei repl acrd Brrl i11 as a center for th e ava nt -ga rde. fun ctioll r d as a 'r: ultllra l rxcl ran gr.' l ~ xdra11gr hr twrr 11
a rti sts. htrt especia ll y <~x clr angr betwee n a rti stic
pra ctin's (nr;rn y plrotog raph rrs were also painters,
1111r sic i:r 11s. o r cvr 11 e11girwcrs) and exclw 11gPs a 11r o ng
11atio11;rlitif'S (A11wrica11. Crn11an, C:e 11tr:rll ~ llrop ra 11.

a nd It a li a n) were reinforcrd by tir e imrnigr a tio n of

political refugees.
If, in effec t, one exclud es Pi erre Bouclrer, Emma nll el So 11 gez. Ma 11ri ce Taba rd, A11dre Vignca 11 ,
and Bene Z 11 ber, the g rea t Pari sian plrotog rap lrrrs
betwee n tlr r two wars were essenti all y cos mopo lit a n
p lrot ograp lr er-t ravelcr s circulating am o ng eo untri es :
Brreni ce Abbott a nd Man Hay we nt to the Uuit ecl
Sta tes, whr re ,VI a ~' Ray was in close co 11t ac t with tire
Ameri can Dadai st avan t-ga rcle and with Marcel
Duchamp: ll ans Bellrn er, Ge rm a in e Knrll, a 11d Wo ls
were Ce nn a 11 ; Cesar Domela wa s Dutdr ; a nd-like
Kertesz- Hogi i\ ndrc. Brassai. Robe rt Ca pa , No ra
Dum as , Er nr eric Feher. Fran ~oi s Koll a r, F: rgy L a ndau. Andre Ste in er. a nd Ylla a ll ca me frorn Ce ntra l
Tbere wa s a lso 1111r clr cirnrl a ti o11 amo 11g disciplill rs: J la11 s Brllmer was a 11 illu strator a nd pai 11t er
be fore beco rnin g n photographer. i\ftrr 192-t . Cesa r

DonlC'I a \H IS link ed \\itlt .VIottdriatt and \'an Doesburg. Florence lien ri \\o rk r d in Berlin wi lit the
sc ulpt o r i\ rc ltipenko ::llld in Fra nce frequented. lik e
Wol s. tlt e i\cadrnt ic Mode m e of Lrgn a nd Amr drc
Ozcnfwtl. Tlw cx lrr mel~, diversifi ed a rti sti c activity
of Matt H a ~ (pa intin g. sc ulptitt g. plt ologra plt y. cin etna ) ac-c ttrat e l~ cltarac lni zedtlt e a rti sti c tnultidi sc iplittarily of tlte period aiiCI ti lC' "tltro\\in g open .. of
di sc iplitt rs.
One tttu st th en'fo rc. in o rd r r 10 u11cl ers1and
Kerl rsz's positi on i11 P a ri sian pltotograpll\ a nd. in a
widn co 11I C'x l. lit e French ndlure of tlt e 19:30s. utt d r rs l ~uiCI ce rlai11 [JOiul s. If Kerl rsz did not c lt oose
Berli11 and Cer lltall\'. a s did Brassa,. 1 1 ~8sz l 6 Moholy Nag , . :z wtd JVIa rtin.!VIuttlclcsi (;.til of llu11 ga ri a n m:ig ill )., il " a .~ becau se 11ta11~ of Iti s alrrad~ esta blished
fonnal a 11d id eo log ica l posi1i o11 s., fo r th r most pari
i11lt cri1 ed fro111 lltutga ri a n c ullutc. \\'Otdd in a ll likclii iOo d II C' \'l'r lt ave fo und a ll\' ec lt o i11 th a i g rea t fo~' e r
of C'l'ea li OII-\\'hi eh wa s rirsl ill We im a r a nd tiJen in
Dessa u a 11d 13rrlin-tlte Ba ult a tt s. Br i\\Te n ~llohok
i\a~/ s expe ri111 ent a l resea rdt fou11d cd on a ri g id tltcorc l ica I bas is a 11cl Kerl rsz\ a vowed res pect for
poptd a r tradition a nd cull11ra l lt c ril age , lllC'rr co uld
o11ly lt av<' ber n in co mp a tibilit y. II see tn s clear in this
se 11se 11t a 1 Kcrlrsz chose Pa ri s fo r il s opc1111ess a ll(l
a hsr 11 ce of dog mati sm as ntu clt as for the forceful
prese tiCT of llun ga ri a n imtni g ra 111 s (pa i111 ers. \\Tilers. pltotographrrs) in Mo 11tpa r11 asse. But if Kcrt rsz
wa s link ed by f riendship to Istva n Beothy. Jose ph
Csakr, Tivadar Fried. Ma rg it Kovnn;. Ann a Lesznai.

Car!' .\ l ottlp a rn assc.

1 9:~ 1

Eva Hrva i. Lajos Tihanyi. Cv ul a /'.ilzer. a 11d o th ers. :~

a ll arli sls or a rti sa ns. lt c fonned few ti cs with the
ot lt c r i111111i gra111 phot og ra plt ers. Thi s is surpri si11 g.
beca use eve n i11 Budapes t Kerl rsz !t a d pmcla itn ed
!ti s taste for pure photography a nd lt a dn ot compmm ise d It is work wi lit pi c Io ri a lis111. " lti cl1 \\as sti II
do tni11 a 111 after the First World War. li e never
yea r11 ed 10 pa int. sc ulpt. o r write. In co ntrast to Ma11
Hay. a n a rti st wl w also look photog ra phs. Kertesz
clea rly a nd modes tl y " atll rcl to be 11 01hing but a
pl1 o1ographer.
Tint s. Kert esz's tim e in Paris was spe nt in lit e
ass idtt o us a nd fri e ncll~r soc ia li z in g of the JJungari a n
a rli s l ~ i11 Montparna sse., a nd hi s llu11 ga ri a u cultural
he rita ge " as prese rved eve 11 as he was brcoming a
Pa ri sia 11 . Tivaclar Fried. e\'C II wltile po litically e ngage d. would a l\\ays ma i111 a i11 hi s fa sc i11a1ion \\'ith
th e llu11 gar ia n aest het ic a nd !ti s taste for popular
trad iti ons. !VIargit Kovacs was in spired b~, trad iti onal
llun ga ri a n p otte r~', Anna Lcsz na i showed noral still
lifcs. l ~ va Rcvai worked in a rli sa na l embro id e ry., a nd
La jos Tihanyi a nd Cyula Zilzcr., hotlt linked to the
llu11 garian ava nt -ga rd e (lite " l ~ igltt'' gro up , th e
"Mi\ g ro up ). pursued work sl ro11 g ly ma rk ed by
llunga ri a n Exp ress io ui srn .
To Kcrlrsz. at thi s ti111c. eve ryt ltin g poi111ed to
th e tn ode l of a visua l resra rch th a t illl egratcd French
c ullurc-11 olab ly Cubi s111. lit e theory of proportion s.
a nd 1he so-ca ll ed P ar is school-,,illmul denying Ihe
detenni11 a n1 traits o f !ti s ntlture of origi11: a fidelity
lo th r va lu es of herit age :.111d lraditiott. social m ea nin g. HtHI a tas te fo r the qu o tidi <llt.
l11 Budaprst. Kerlrsz plt otog raplt ed \\a nclnin g ntu sic ia ns. young peasa nt s i11 rags. illlcrt\\in cd
co u pies. a ml \\'ind in g slreel s: i11 Pari s. lt r prolon gc'd



Kertesz was also pa rt of t he two g rea t manifestos of

the photographic avant-ga rd e: in 1929. Fotog rafie
cler Gegenware' (Co ntemporary plwtograpll\"). at
the Folbvang Mu sClll11 in Esse n. and .. Filnt unci
Foto" in Stuttgart. 7

Sc rguc"i \I. E i:;cwne itJ.



Budapest, takin g self- po rtra its of him se lf seated a t a

table with a tablecloth embroid e red b)' ha nd b,, hi s
mother-Se/f-Porlrail (1927)-a nd shoot in g th e
revo lu tionary filmm ake r ~isenste in sittin g on a t raditional Hungarian tapes try. In Fra nce. havi ng hecome a photojournalist for th e iIlu stra ted pres:;. -+ he
tran sformed the peasant s of Bri ttanv and th e Savo ie
into pure emblem s of a life close to the ea rth a nd
ri ch in commo npl ace va lu es. In numerou s ph otograph s, a mn emon ic, a ffec ti ve sign-an o rn a 111 e11 ta l motif, a bo uqu et o f !l owe rs, a ha nd crafted obj ec t.
a lways more imagined th a n showu-all owed t l1e
vita l influence of Hunga ry to e1nc rgc.

To justif)' th e effec t of thi s sudd en rccogn it io n

(an d its benefit to Kertesz's wo rk ) in the illu stra ted
press a nd in the ga lleri es a nd slt o\\ s. one ofte n. a nd
perhaps too h as til~' refers to .. surrea li sm .. o r .. cuh islll ... If it is IIIHi f' ni ab le th a t Kertesz \ Hl S fantiliar
\\itlt ce rt a in lf' ll ets of S urrea li s111 (as \\as \ia n R a ~").
a nd Cubi sm. it is a lso tru e that IH' uever d a inlf'd at l\'
a llcgia tHe to either o f th ese hi g hh- stntctnred III OveIIH'Itt s . .\otltiu g in lti ~ proposa ls or in hi s correspo nde nce support s tiiC id ea of att ex pli ci11r SIIITC<t li st o r
cubi st dimen sio n i11 hi s work.

or t hese t\\"0 refe rences. the o ne to S urrea li slll

see ms th e most Si)f'n da t in' fo r n tri o us reaso n;,. The
111ai11 reaso n co 1n es fro111 ,\ndr!- Brctons :11nhi g uo us
stunce in rega rd to th e ,is11 a l a rt s a nd cs pec ia lh in
regard to photograpll\. If there w a~ in Bretons ,ir, ,,.
a t li eo ry of painting to " II ic li II is l~e S urnSofisllle el
Ia Peiulure (S urrea /is111 oud Paiutiug) te stified. a nd
if lie a lso gave li onw gc to fil111. th e re la ti o nship of
th ese to pliotograpll\ \\as . a t th e sta rt. co rnpl e.\ attcl
co nfli cti11 g 8 Fm111 l1i s first . 1/a u~/es l e o n\\a rcl . Breton
,iole ntk criticized the rcu li sti c 11 0\T I of li lf' ni1 w-

But prec ise ly becau se Kertesz's ex il e wa s not

a n involuntary uprootin g, hi s p hotograp h,, \\cnt beyo nd nostalgia. Hi s photographic ,,ork does not rittt a li ze mou rning for a los t cou ntr) but ra t her
ce lebrates h a pp y imm ersion in a new o ne. as hi s first
sho ts testify, o f barges on the Sc inc .. fi she rm en 011 th e
quays , a city ha loed in fog and rain.
Quickly int egra ted in th e art istic ci rcl es or
Montparnassc a nd in .. th e Ruche .. (a group of artiste.
from the Da ntzig pa ssage ). Kertesz frequented th e
studios of Fo ujita , Leger. Lhotc. Lun; at. \l o ndri a n.
and Zadkine. A friend of most of these paint e rs.
close to Michel Sc1tph or a nd linked to the photographers Berenice Abbo tt , Cer111ainc KrulL and Man
Ray, h e was quickly recog ni zed by the photographic
milieu. On March 12, 1927, he sho,Ycd hi s photographs at the ga ll er y Au Sacrc du Print cmps.' a nd
then . in success ion, a lso exhibited at the Sa lon de
I' Escalier, " the Salon de Ara ig nee. and in the sho"
" Les Dix" (The Ten ).b On an international lc,el.

L ucien \'ogc l


IIi :; Fa111ih-. 19:26

.Vlan;cl Vc rtcs, 1928

t ee nth ce ntury. whose clcscripti o rr s h e ca ll ed photograp hi c.' Aft e r having asked Jacq ues -Andre BoiJfa rcl
to illu s trate Nac(ja , Breton reg is tered cli sappoilltme llt : the s ites photograp hed see med to hirn
de nud ed of a ll mag ic. a nd th e illustra tion .r.dis illus io11i11g. On th e ot he r ha nd. he foresaw that future
hook s ,,mdd 11 0 lo nge r be acco mpanied by clrmvin gs
hut bY photog ra ph s. a 11 cl h e salut ed th e work clon e
b~ Brassa[ a nd .\l a n Hay in !'A m our Fou. Bre ton firs t
co 11 ce ivecl a 11d th e n d e p l o ~e d S urrealism in his \\Titill g a 11d onl~ later bro ug ht th e visual a rts into tir e
fold. S urrea li s m . in tlri s respect quite di stin ct fro m
the Centr a l E:uropean avant- ga rcl c. se rved to re inforce the t c nd e 11 c ~ of Pa ri s ian Da da ism to place ex pe rirn entation in th e vi s ua l a rts be neath th e
dorni11ance o f th e lit e ra r~ ge nre. S urrea li sm \vas initial!~ a move me nt of writer s. r11 a n~ of wlrom \Ve rc
edu ca ted in th e sch oo l of Va lc n . lf S urrealism illdeed " as a bl e to propose a ,is ua l t.h eo ry. 1hen o ne
rnu s t re rn e nrbcr that it was first a poeti c one a nd
came from int e rn a l experience .
T he ot lr c r reaso 11 o ne n1u s t prude ntl y ha ndl e
referen ces to S u rreali sn1 i11 rclat io n to Kcrt csz comes
fro m tb e fac t that-in co11trast to ~1[an Ra ,. a co mpa lli o u of Bre to ns on th e road of D a dai s m and th c11
S urrraJism. a nd in co ntras t to Jacqu es-Andre
Boiffard. Bra ssa,. and Rao rd Ubac (who was id eologica llv close to Breton a nd th e .. illu stra tor-pho tograph e rs .. of La Recolutiou S urni oliste., Miuotaure., a nd
Doctllllellts-Ke rt csz was neve r as ked b , Brrton to
coll a borate. and he was a lso never m e111 ion ed as
be in g c lose to th e gr o up . In K ertesz's refu sa l to be af-

F lea Ma rket, 1935

~I iatcd with tl1e Surrealist move ment , a nd in his

ma nifest di s interest in theorization and polemi cs.
one can sec a reaffirmat ion of ind ep end e nce and the
obs tinate defense of individuality.

Certainly, one co uld arg ue the oppos ite a nd
point to th e Distortions and th e numerous photog rap hs in which manncquins. th eir h eads c ut off or
with wooden legs, arc featured . But if effective ly
th e re is a g reat temptation to jo in the Di stortion s to
S urrealism. o ne must keep in mind that. on th e o ne
ba nd, a Distorlion is not. a m anipulated image, a vis ua l exp erim e nt of the same o rd er a s a photomontage or an overprint. but the simpl e photographic
tra ns lation of a r efl ection in a dist:ortin g mirror. On
th e o th er h a nd . the se ri es Di s tortions, co rn missio11 cd
b, th e m agazin e Le Sourire. do not lay claim to
b e i11 g an inves tigation of th e tragedy of the deform ed or, to use a te rm of Geo rges Bat a i li e\ of th e
"injonne ('irregular .. ). The, a re a j o~'ous explorat ion of th e potentialities of th e female body. closer,
in that se nse, I o I-l enry J\loorcs Reclining N udes than
to th e grotesque fa ces of Jacqu es-Andre Boiffard o r
th e unsettling A./fiche:: I
Poem es. Affiche:: Tos Im ages (Put up Vour Poems, Pill up Your Im ages ) by
Hao uJ Ubac. Tn the sa me wa ~' if the recurrence in
Ke rtesz.'s photographi c \York of both a .. disqui etin g
stran ge ness .. of th e mannequin s, 9 and the sadi sti c


motif of amputation or deca pitati on. 10 tes tify to a

visual fanta sticaln ess whi ch \\as certain!~ t; rese nl
between the two wars. it is nol imm edi a telY Surrealist. Nothing, in Kert esz. can be compared ~o th e obsessive erotic experimentati on of 1[ans BeUm er.
Ra th er than hastil~ linking Kertesz to a Surrea lism from which h e ass uredly \Yanted to di stance himself, one can spea k, along with Edouard
Jaguer, 11 of an acute sense of the circumstantial
magic"' in his photographs, one of the three criteri a
of "convulsive beauty id entifi ed by Breton. 12 C ircumstantial magic" is directly present in Jl!feudon
(1928) and S uburban Landscap e (1931) and, in a
minor way, in Kertesz's photographi c essays, \\'hich
are attentive to the unexpected detail , the ephemeral

If, thus , the relationship to Surrealism remained oblique in Kertesz. th e link to Cubism. as
Jean-Claude Lemagny pointed out. 13 seem ed more


pe rtin ent. Kertesz ),;.new pa inters such as Lege r a nd

Lh ote. and he gravitat ed to th e artistic circles of
.\"l ontparnasse: also. a n11111be r of hi s urban la nd sca pes are constructed a round pure geom etri c form s:
squares. rectangles., and tria ngles. These land sca pes
ela bora te a space willwul depth, as if flattened ,
,,hi ch breaks \Yith th e perspeclive system of ,an ishing Iines inherited from th e Renaissance.
Emblematic of thi s geo metri cization of th e
urban space is Kcrtcszs photographic treatm ent of
roofs, \YindmYs. and chimn eys in l 'ieu' of rlz e Roofs
from 5. m e de rant'eS (1927 ). Paris Jl!onlp am asse
(1930) .. Tourain e (1929-30). a nd Roofs of Paris
(1929). But if Pier Jllondrian 's S tudio (1926)., entirel~ structured in asce ndin g bands of contrastin g
value. and a m eta phor for ~VIondriane s qu e \\'Ork.
see ms lik e a moYement to the boundaries of Cubi st
resea rch for Kertesz. a number of photographs show
the s ~ s tem ' yieldin g in th e fa ce of the event. th e occasion. the anecdote. In Ru e l al'in (1925) , the rigo rous geometries of blinds. windows, and guHers is
disturb ed by tb e hum a n prese nce of an old \Yoman
leaning on her b a l co n~. ln Quartier Latin (1926).
the Cubist shapes of roofs a nd chimneys are ordered,
or. more exactl~. disord ered, a round a small private
space, a terrace benea th th e roofs, ;vhose lin es escape the geometric mod el: a man seat ed on a ben ch
reading. a silhou etie see n behind a door. a lace curta in in the " indow. th e intert\\ining of climbing
plants. Else where. it is a pa sser!) ~ \Yho destabili zes
the lines. or a cat " ho run s a \Ya~. So by avoidin g
rigid formal composition. Kertesz captured the inlrinsic thrill of life with the photograph.
In fact, one of the essential traits of Kerteszs
\YOrk was the rejection of s ~'s tcmatization. and a rejcclion of its effects-a doubl e rejection. translated
mainly b ~ di stan cing itself from the procedures of
the .\louYell e Yi sion. In Ge rm a n~' as in France. refl ecli on on the potentialities of the m edium of photography led photographers between the t\YO world \Yars
lo manipulate th e image a nd to experiment \Yith
photogram s. photomon tages. solarizations. a nd
overprintings . .\lathing of thi s can be seen in Kertesz .
and if he shared with M oh ol y- ~agy the convi cti on
th at th e photogra phi c med ium was autonomo us.
th at he must conqu er its specificit, " ithout reference
to the pictorial m odel. he neverth eless refused th e
so phi stication of ne\Y proced ures and remained a l\\a ~s a stran ger to th e tec hni cal and Yisual euphoria

cedin g space. For him, m ea ning would not come unless one was grounded in th e world (from which
a rose hi s rejection of photographi c abs1raction ) and
sim11lt a nco usly at a di stan ce from it (from which
ca me hi s frequent but a lways calc ul ated use of the
t iIt shot ). Bcing at the window was a lso, as Paul Derm ec sugges ted on the occas ion o f' the show devoted
to Ke rtesz a t the gall ery Au Sacrc du Printemps, his
a ttempt tore-endorse the Rimbauclian mythology of
th e virginal vision. the clairvo~ ant vision:
.. Ke rtesz. the eyes of' a child for whom
each look is the first..''

Quai \ 'olta i rc, Pari s. 1928

th a t characterized the exper im enta l photographers

of th e 1920s.
Kertesz \Vi shed to be lava l to a photographic
probity-an aesthetic as much as an ethi cal probity.
Reserve. modesty. and di scretion togeth er designated
for him a way of being a nd an id eal of vision. These
virtu es ,,ere translated in Kertesz by a position
that was a t once spatial. cultura l. and epistemologica l: 'being at the ,,indow.'' Beca use it was a middle
spa ce. th e f'ron ti er th at art icu Ia ted the interior and
ext eri or. the window gave Kert esz th e opport unity to
co mmunicate with the world \vith out losing himself
in it. of' being in it, without bein g ''of it. " But beca use it also functioned as a frame of vision. because
it is a part of th e visible. th e window anticipated his
photographi c framing , preceded it. and made it possib le. T hu s. at the heart of Kertesz's " ork. in th e
,c r~ prin ciple of his method. is inscribed separation .,
di sta nce.
Thi s is precisely th e m essage of Broken GLass
(1929) (an image consistin g of both broken glass
and da maged photographi c plate) , The Pont des
Arts Seen through th e CLock of the lmlilute of
Fran ce (1929- 32 ). aliCI Th e Sein e Seen .fi"om Lac~r
J/endl 's Apartment (1929 ). For Kert esz. th e wo rld
" as not vi sibl e. legibl e. \Yith out th e doub le co nditi on
of' being perce ived from an ove rh a ng and from a re-

The vi rgin gaze is th e one that knows how to

reinvent th e visible from th e ordinary. h also knows
how to wait and capture th e moment, aided by a
speci fi e camera-first the small portable camera of'
Kertesz's photographic beginnin gs., and then th e
Lcica. 1-+ Th e photographic appa ratus-often thought
of in th e 1920s as a prosth es is. a supplementary
orga n-form ed a '"body with th e body:' It was less
an ex tern al technology th a n an extension of th e
body, a supplement of the eye. It a ll owed for seizing
a nd fixing an event, for a sudden accident that insc ribes it self in the established fram e of the window.
Hefu sin g to use th e effect of shock , making use
of' a n aesthetic of sobriet y, Kert esz thus invented
what one co uld call, if one rem embered th e objective
a signed to Husserl's philosophy. a photographic
" ph enomenology..'' To "retmn to the things themselves ... to unburden th e philo so ph~' of false problems a nd pseudocon cepts-such was the Husserlian
imperative; to make visible, ro show, without a vi-


sual a priori. to describe in a word , such ,,as th e

Kcrteszian photographic imp erative.


Kertesz's attentive and modest gaze. whil e

seeking to capture " th e ri ght moment," rejected th e
effect of th e pw1cttun 15 so overwhelmingly prese nt
in most of the photo-essays of the time as well as in
th e dramatic composition deployed in th e wo rk of
l I enri Cartier-Bresson. ln Kertesz. there \Yas neith er
dramatization of th e fac t nor monumentalization of
m emory, but r a ther something more t enuous, more
fragile. to \\hich one vo lumarily gives trivial nam es:
the '' things' (not the ''o bj ects''). the .. p eople'' (not
'' men.') . What can on e describe in this urban mili eu
that holds the potenti a l for the photographic act. if
not what happened th ere., th e things, and the peopl e?
Things, which ahvays speak of p eople, the denizens
of the streets of Paris: 16 not th e mod erni st Pari s of
the m embers of the Nouve ll e Vision, nor th e to uri sti c
P ari s of Germaine Kru ll in 100 x Paris, nor, dr.libcratel~' the Arc de Triomph c. the Louvre, the gr and
avenues . Kertesz's photogr a phs retain only what enli vened Paris organicall y: first th e water of the Sein e.
of the puddles on the sid ewa lks o r the wet fl ags to nes,
and finally the an im a ls a nd the children. For
Kertesz, the city was never a metropoli s that no urished architectura l a nd techn ological utopiani srn: for
those who knew how to loo k at. it purely, th e c it~' was
simp ly an exten sion of th e rura l landsca pe. From th r
co untry to the city th ere was no brea k, no cleavage.
but ra th er the sam e li ving. a nim ated ti ss ue.
Thus Ker tesz had a photographic predilection
fo r the quays of the Se in e (a bit of nature preser ved
in th e very heart of th e city) , a nd for the peop le who
sti II had a childlike nal u ra Iness-the Gypsies. I he
vag ra nts. aud people nol yet urbanized (in the se nse
of having the proper virtu es of cit~' life). What fasc inated Kertesz was th e inn ocence, the naturaln ess.
1h a1 people knew how to maint ain in them selves. In
the case of the Gypsy or th e tramp it \\'as the rejec tion o f a soc ia l code. th e choice of a positi on a1 1he
ma rgins. Thus., photog raph ing the tramps o n th e
q ua ys or Th e Tramps Sies ta Seen.fimn th e Pont -auChange (1927)., Kert esz was inscribed without a
doubt in a photogr ap hi c traditi on inaugurated a t th e
end o f the nineteenth cc nl ury by Eugene Atget. Pa ul
Ce niaux. and Lo ui s Veri: th a t of '" small jobs .. - a1
once genre scen es and sketches of manncrs. 17 But for
the systematic eleva ti o n of .. small jobs and the m eth od ica l archiving of hum a n types destin ed to di sa p-

AI lite Anim a l .\l a rkc t.
Q tt a i Sa int -.\li clt c l.
Pa ri s. 1927-19:28

pear (s uch as wa nde rin g rncrchants. p e clcll e r~.

vagab onds). Kert esz sub slitul ccl a reHection o n th e
naturalness of humanil~ In partic ular. he showed
how tl1e indi vidual. th oug h he ma~ b e a citizen a nd
a part of the soc ia l body. a l" a~'S tend ed to prese rve a
private spa ce. " hi ch was a lso a space in na ture. It is
in this se nse th a t one mu st rea d An artist s studio.
Paris (1927 ). " here on a fini shed pa rqu et fl oo r
chi cken freel~, peck a t gra i11 . lt is also ho\Y o ne IIIU S I
view the ponraits. so as to ni shingly sin1ilar. of Mi ss
Jo hn son and the pa int e r Fo ujita: one hucldl ed. cage d
b~ th e staircase and curl ed up in a voluu1irwu s cl a rk
ca pc:-a sort of p rotec tive screen that iso la tes hn
within the co ll ec tive space: th e ot her" ha lf \\-ra ppccl
in a mat of bra ided stra \\. ha lf man. h a lf a nim a l in a
~ hell. Sittin g o r lying-not sta ndin g upri gl1t as [)(' fit s
th e uniquen ess o f hum a nit y-in the ir wav th ey a rc
as isolat ed as Kerte~z at hi s windmv. Tbe Fi g ures a rc
so ve reig nly affirmed. showin g that to be onese lf is
first of a ll lo be a bod ~, a nd that living in a c ity is lo
knO\v how to creat e one''s space.
But if Kert esz pe rce i,ed th e city as a co 1npl ex
and vibrant mixture o f civil it\ a nd na l ura lness. he
rcn1ained a strange r to th at darke r pari of it " hi ch
1he Surrealists tri ed to decode: the citY " as no I fo r
him. as it \Yas for Breto n. a Jab Hintb of eni gma ti c

signs in \Yhich it would be dizzying to lose oneself. It

was also not. as in th e writin gs of Pi erre Mac Orlan
or the photog raph s of Brassai, the int erl ac ing black
ribbons of s tree ts throug h whi ch prostitutes. thu gs .
aud murd ere rs made th eir war. Kert cszs Pari s wa s
never Bab~rlon: o ne n ever di scovered hazy lightin g.
premonitions of crim e. a nd costum ed tran svestites
ha untin g th e ni g hts o f th e tnisguid ed. Kertesz ig no red tbc c,il parts of th c c ity. of thin gs. and of p eo pl e a nd rcta i ned only 1he open and fa miliar. His
Pari s was not tb e ru e dc La ppe., nor was it the lastditciJ h ote ls, th e brawls. th e traffi cked love: ra th er it
" as th e peacc fuln et\\'ork o f little stree ts. th e delicate
design of th e cha irs in th e Luxembourg Ga rd ens. th e
first leaves o f a utumn. th e reading of a newspap er as
in A Wint er Jl!loming at th e Cqfe du D8111 e (1928).
To desc ribe P ari s in repose is to organize it s
geog rapl" a round ce rt a in immutab lc r eference

points: th e E ificl Towe r, th e Seine. th e publi c gardens. To describe th ese t hings is to be closer to
th e rea lit~' of what th e c it~ offers that is co ntingent,
a nodyn e, inesse ntial: it is to hig hli g ht the rnundane. Kertrszian phenom enology 'vas suspiciou s o f
a rtifice a nd had liulc 10 do with th e cultural and formative imperatives of th e Nouvell e Obj ectivite. ln
Ge rmany. Albert Hcngcr-Patzsch on th e one hand
and th e Bauh a us photograp her s on th e other exalted th e bea ut y of th e indu s trial objec t and made
serial im ages (of big indu st ry, of photography ). Jn
Fran ce., Germaine Krull publish ed MetaL, 18 and th e
.\Touvcllc Photographi c s hared in th e moderni st
enthusias rn. Ke rtesz. however. beca me preoccupi ed
with n on industrial , cra ft ed objects th a t told a sto ry
and wer e often metaphors for th eir owner.'s life:
Mondrian 's GLasses and Pip e (1926 ). Ropes (1928 ),
and ch a irs in a gard en. Often capturing the object s
in appare nt di sorder. as though they had been left


Storm ove r Pa ri s. 1925- 1926



El.,."M~OE_~ ~ N~

"' -


' ' ' - ' - ........



Art el illedecine, October 193 1

careless !~,


on a table. on a she lf. in a co rn e r o f a stu dio , Kertesz took up-beyond th e Co nstru ctivi s t
'composit ion of objec ts-th c pictorial tradition of
still life: minimali st in the famou s Fork (1928) ,
so ber. a lmost auste re. in Bowl with Bits of S ugar
(1928). The still life is deployed and made more
complex in the dispersion and di so rd er o f objec ts
that characterize StiLL L?/e in Adys Room (1928). Art
becom es the basis of a possible Gction in A Poe111 of
Ac!y (1927-28) , but it is espcciall~' so in MaiL Waiting al lh e Cafe du Dome, in which the let ters pil ed
up behind a vit rinc beneath a lumin ous g lobe see m
at once to bec kon and to withdraw. in a 11 allego ry
of love.
In a gene ra l way., and in contrast to ob.ject ivi st
photography. to which Kertesz is too often co lis ign ed , 19 he did not trea t th e objec t" as a play o f
lin es and form s. Though for him., the object co uld
be an~r thing. it was n ever in sig nifica nt. Whereas the
object did not interest an objec tivi st inso far as it
was pure and unburdened of any hi story o r context,
and caught in a formal network, for Kertesz the thing
wa s conlinn ecl as alrcad~r hum an. It wa s bound ttp
with a story, charged with affect, still marked by the
lingers that handled it. waiting for the gest ure that
would give it meaning- a half-empty glass. an open
book. wrinkled sheets. The object photograplrccl by
Kertesz was not a pretext for th e ce leb rati on o f Modem Ti11tcs but rathe r the ba s is of th e only ques ti o n
th at Kertrsz felt wa s worth ask in g: how can one in terp ret tire \Yorld in vis ual term s? That is to say., how
ra n o ne g ive ""vi s ua l eq ui va le nts. to usc an esse nti a l
<oruept of Alfred Stieglitzs_:w of the c ity., o f peopl e.
oft It in g<'

The an swer rni g ltt lw di sco rlC'c rtin g in ib s irn plicity: through tltc s in g ul a rit\ of photograph~ - That
is to s a~ th e '""v isual eq ttivalcnt s arc ac hi eve d
tlrrou g lr th e usc of ntlues., fro nr deep bla('k to ptll'l'St
white. passi ng through the i11tinit c ra n ge of gra ~ s. If
there is littl e s ta rk bl ack a nd whit e in Kert rsz. a ll tlt e
s hades of gra~ a re present. There. perh a ps. li es tltc
very tn canin g of Ke rt rsz''s ph o tographic work: to
photograph the world is to love g rar pass io na te lY.
C ray is no t a co lo r: it is all ('O iors assc ntblccl in o ne:
Sttbtlc. s 11 ave. retilt cd-g rav is the g rain o f' the world.
Cra .\' is tl1e esse nce of tlte \\'Oriel : it sa .,s th at there is
o nl~ a s ingle photograpbi(' s ubj ect. and to this sin g le
a nd uniqne s ubject cvn~tltin g is a pretext. a n O('('as ion. a questi o n of face s., o f rive rs. of cities. The Halcon) at i\1/artiniqu e (1972)-a ptii'C co ntp os ition of
s urfaces a nd va lu es-is tlt c apex of thi s quest for
g ray wit ic h was. without a doubt. Ke rt rszs ra iso n
d' etre.
In thi s r es pect Ke rt rsz " as radi ('a ll y. absolute ly., a pltotographer-11ot a n art is t us in g pltot ograp lt~r a s a n accessor~', lmt a photographer full~'
co nsc io us of the poss ibiliti es of hi s rneditlltt. Ke rt rsz
cledicatccl him se lf to photography as hi s o nly pa ss ion . without ever in scrib in g in hi s images a ny regret
o r year11ing for o th e r tn ccl ia: -- Jam very lu ck~-w lt at
I have a lwa~7 S wanted was to exp ress lll~1 scH., a nd
when I take photographs, I do that. I was born " itb
a sen se of photography. J understood immediately. l
immccliatcly had th e couvic ti o u tltat photography is
photograph~- that it has nothing to do with a nvt ltin g
c lse. " 2 1 H e is talkin g a ho ut the pl eas ure of th e

13ois d!' 1301dogll ('. 1929

photographi c act. And ~~ et, a kind of nostalgia

pierces hi s so ft ima ges, these barges on the Se in e,
th ese publi c gardens bathed in a utumn li g ht , these
drows ~r tralllps, these immigrant faces. At a dist an ce
o nce aga in from the m ode rni st e upho ri a and the a n nun e iat ive e nthu siasm of Modern Tim es that an ima ted Co nstructivist works. Kert esz invented
a not he r perce ption: Mclanc ho li a.:2:2 Joy was too
b ri g ht a co lo r, a n emoti on too stro ng for Kerteszs
eye. To th e e ng in eers a nd milit a nt s o f the future ,
Ke rtesz a lways preferred th e te nd e r a nd fragi le gestrrre o f a c hild with sad eyes ho ldin g a puppy c lose in
! It th e!l 11imal Market (1927-29) ; the so litu de of the
pa inte r Lajos Tihanyi. a deaf-mute from whose lips,
for lack o f speech. t h e white s moke of a cigarette
spill s. in Lc~jos Tihanyi (1926): th e beautiful fa ce.
heavy eye lid s, a nd drowued eyes of Anne-Marie
Me rke l. a d isillus ioned mado nn a. a ll hope lost. a Sat rr rn ian Me lancholia.
Thi s is the case even in o ne of Ke rt esz's most
beautiful p hotog raph s., Elizabeth , Paris (193 1), a
working draft in which Andre wraps his ann lovin g ly a ro und E lizabeth 's should e r. li e successively
rcfra rn ed th e two faces. and then o nl v E lizabeth s
face . with hi s hand on her shoulder. It speaks at once
of love a nd o[ so litud e, of happ in ess a mi it s precario usness. T he look is seriou s., the mo uth promi ses the
fulfillment of a smile. and close d 0 11 the fem inin e
sho ulder lin ge rs the hand o f th e lover, whose body
a nd face have di sappeared.
The frag ilit y of thin gs. hum a n vu ln erability:
hap pin ess Iies i11 th e prrcari o 11 s. It is thi s ver~' preca ri o us ness. thi s beauty of thr rp heme ral. that only
photography ca n save.

1 . llungarian like Kert esz, Brassal studi ed fir st in Berlin a t

the Akaclemisch e Jl oc hschule de Bc rlin -Ch arlottcnbu rg. before movin g to Pa ri s in 1924.
2. In 1925 Laszlo Moho l y-Nag ~ pub lished his great th eoretica l work. Malerei, Fotog rqfie, Film (P a inting. P hotog rap hv.
Film ).
3. For more inform a tion on th e immigrant ll un gariau
a rti sts in Pari s betwee n the two wars, co nsult Sa ndra
Phillips. 'AncL-e Kert esz : A Touri st in Pari s. 1925-27 ,"'
An.dn~ Kertesz. ma Fret11ce (1990) .
4. Kertesz coJiabora tccl closely with 1;,,_ Lucien Voge l"s illu strated magazin e. a nd witlr A rt el Medecine, Dr. Dcbat"s luxuri o us magazin e. He co ntributed to oth er magazin es. such as
Vogue, Plaisir de Fret/I ce, Voila , a nd Regards.

:J . T ir e show \Ya s lr r ld Marclr 1 2-24. 1927. a t tlrr Au Sac r<:'

clu pr int emps ga ll nv. direc ted b)' .J a rr S li vin sk\. 5. n rr du
C herc hc-M idi.
6. In .'VIa\ 1 928. ilw rirsl S alon des ludepelldaiiiS de Ia P/10tograp!tie, ca ll ed rh c Sa lon de l ' l~s ca li e r. ,,as held in tir e
stairwell of th e Co nr ccl ie des Champs-E: hsces .


P lace clu Ca rro usel.

Pa ris. 1928-1929

7. In .J an ua1Y 1929 a t the Fo lk,,a ng .VIu seum in l::sse n.

und er the nti)ric o r tir e slr O\Y .. Forog~a ri (:' der Cege n\\'arl ..
(Co nr c nrp o rar~ Ph otog ra ph)). th e work of Pa ri sia n. Ge rma n. a nd Ru ss ian photograph ers was hun g. Anron g th e
Pa risian s were Bereni ce Abbo t 1. Flo rence Henri . Andrr
Kertesz. Germa ine Krull. Eli Lota r. a nd .Vlan Ha,. Fron r
Esse n. th e sh ow traveled to Tl a novc r. Berli n. Dresd en. \ 'ierrna , a nd London .
On .'v1 ay 18 . 1929 . th e Stuttga rt 'l; ilrn unci fot o .. ope ned.
orga ni zed throu g h th e initiati ve of C ustm Sto tz. b ~ t he
Delli cher Werkbund. Th e purpose was to dctermin r the
sco pe or action for ph orog raplw a nd to defin e wh a t co uld be
crea ted on h with ph otograplw. with its pa rtic rtlar app roach.
T he slr ow wa s st rong ly a nt.ithetical to 1he pictori a li st aest heti c. Co mposed o r two thousand pi eces in Stutlga rt , ' F ilm
a nd Foto .., traveled in a small er version ro Zurich. Berlin.
Da nzig, Vienna. and Munich. In 19.3 1 iL went. eve n more redu ced. to Tokvo and Osaka. wh ere it was revived b~ a
Ja panese editor.
ln S wttgart. one co u ld co unt fiv e hun dred artists frorn Ge rm a ny. Au stria , Hol land. Fran ce. E ng la nd , Belgium. Czec hoslovakia. and th e U n ited S tates. eac h und er his own rubri c.
The re were a lso th irr ~ Hussian and seven S wiss a rti sts ga thered in to nation al gr oup s. Six Germ an specia li zed Leachin g
in stitution s, su ch as th e Bauhau s, were represented by their
classes .in photograp hy and typog rap h~
From th e Pari sian side. on e co uld co unt Bereni ce AbboLL,
who a dd ed to her own work prints by E ugen e A tge t. Florence Henri, George H oyningen-Hu ene, Andre Kert esz. Germ a in e Krull., Eli Lotar, Man Hay, and Ma urice Tabard.

8. Cf. on thi s subj ect Rosa lind Krau ss, E.1.p!osante-fi:re.

Ph otographie el Surnialisme, Ce ntre Ceo rges Pompidou /
I laza n. P ari s. 1985.
9. Cf. In a Sculptors Studio (1925) , a nd Wooden Horses
(1929 ). Marion ettes (1929 ).

22. In th e sense this term had in th e physiological litera ture

of the ancie nts a nd in the image of Saturn such a s it is taken
up in the literary and pictorial tradition . a nd. finalk. in
Diirer. Gf. Ravmond Kliban sky, E nvin Panofskv. and Fritz
Sax I, Satw'll e .et La Melan colie, .Ga llimard , Paris .. 1989.

10. Cf. Ontlte Quays near Sa int-Michel (1926 )., L'f-lotel du

Receil at th e Batignolles (1927), Clayton Bates. Dancer at
th e ,\lou/in-Rouge, and Paris (1928-29 ).
11 . C f. Edo ua rd Jaguer. Les ilf)'steres de Ia Chambre Noire.
Flamm a ri o n. Pa ri s. 1982.
1:2. Andre Breton a ssig ned three crit r ri a to convulsive
bea ut\: it mu st br "e roti c-veil cd. '' 'cx plosive- fixed ," and
"ma g ica l-e ircutn sta ntial. ,.
1:3 . .l ea 11 -C: Ia uck L emag ny, 'A ndre Kert es z Maitre de Ia
\'icSIIIT ... Audre 1\ert es::;, ma Fran ce, op. cit .

1-t. The Leica 11as i1nent ed in 1925 hy Os kar Harnack , a

specialis t in prec ision mac hin es nnd director. since 19 11 , of
t hP resea rch la bo rato ri es o f th e Lci tz factorics in Wetzlar.
Cenltall\'. 111akers of microsco pes and tclcscopes . The Leica
i" a Slll ttll format ca mera IYith 2-t x 36 111111 filn1. It was prcsc nt cd fo r th r fir st tim e to th e publi c in1 92:) a t a n indu stri a l
fa ir in Leip zig.
1;) , In th e se nse Hola nd Barthes uses it in Camera Obscllra.
16. II ere o nr sh01dd remember that Pa ri s wa s tlJCn th e sub jec t o f a llllluber of photog raphi c books: In 1928 Paris by
\l a ri o Bu co vi sh 11as publis hed in German 1 (tll'entv-t hree of
it s 236 in~a ges we re b1 Ge rm a in e Krull ). In 1929 Ge rm a ine
Krull ptibli shed 100 .1: Paris. with tex t b~ Floren! Fels .. in
French. Ge rm a n. a nd Eng li sh. In 19:3 0. Atget. Ph otographe
de Paris was introd uced by Pi erre :VI ae Orlan. In 193 1 the
llllbli shrrs .leanue \\'a lter .produced Paris, a co ll ection of
montages a nd street sce nes sign ed "Mol Ve r" a nd prefaced
by Fcrn a 1td Lege r. Al so in 193 1 , in th e So vi el Union. Uya
l ~ hre nburg publi sh ed Moj Priz, with a co ver bv E J Lissitzky
a nd photog rap lt s b~ the a uthor.
1 7. Cf. Petits Metiers et Ty p es Parisiens vers 1900, Atget,
Ceniata. Vert, .\1usee Garnavalet. P aris. 1984.
1 8. Metal appeared in 1927 from Ed itions Calavas and was
a n homage LO the m etallic architecture of th e Eiffel Tower.
19. Cf. Da ni e le Sallen ave's (among oth e rs' ) interpretation,
'Vo ir c'cs t lire. " Andre Kertesz, CN P, Photopoche. P ari s,
20 . Alfred S ti eglitz called his photographic seri es of clouds
' Equival ents.'''
2 1 . Andre Kertesz cited b y Agath e Gaillard, Kertesz, Belfond . Paris, 1980, page 13.



The Seine from th e Pont Saim-.\lichel. 192.3


Fishermen behind \ lotre-Dame, Paris. 1925


On the Banks., behind Not re-Da me., P aris., 1925-1926



Th r i:lr in c frolll Lwh-1\lelldl s Apurt rn ent , Pari s. 1929

10 1

Brokr n Class. Paris. 1929


Stairs at Montmartre, Pari s. 1925-1926


Qu ai d'Orsa,. Paris, 1926


The Tramps' Siesta Seen from the Pont au Change. Pa ri s. 1927


!'lear the PoJJt de Grcnell e. Pari s. 192 7


Tli r Po11t cl r s Art s Seen through th e C lock of the ln stitut de Fra nce , P a ris, 1929-1932


Shadow, The E iffcl Tower. Pari s, 1929


Pa ri s, 19.3.3

11 0

Pari s. 1929


Hu e du Col enlin, Paris, 193 1

11 2

Pari s. 1931

Lyons, 1931

11 :-i

.\llontpa rnasse, Paris, 1928


Tram , c. 1930

11 7

Llntitlcd. 19.'W

li B

A Wint e r .Vlo r11i11 g a t til e Ca fe du Dome, Paris, 1928

11 9

lsf\a n Rajk in a Bi stro in .\l ontrn a rtrr. P ari s. 19.3 1



Untitled, c. 1930

12 1

Paris. 1935

I :U

Pa ri s, c. 193 0


Paris. c. 1930


Ern C's t. e. 1930

School Girl. c. 19::3:3


Lily of th e Valle ~' Vendor. Champs-E ivsees. 1928


Care Moni pa rn assc, Paris, 193 1


S upport e rs of the French ' F ro nt Pop ul aire ... Paris.



Paris, c. 1932


The Vert-Galant Cardell i11 Winter, Paris, 1929

l TZ

Pare de Sccaux. Pa ri s. 1926


Jardin du Luxembourg, Paris, 1925


Wooden Ho rse, c. 1926


Les Tuileries, Paris, 1928-1930


Behind the Hotel de Ville, Paris, 1925


A Bistro in the Quarri er Latin , 1927


Rue des Vert us, Pa ris, 1926


Pornirs. 1930


Bobino, Paris, c. 193 0


Untitled, c. 1930


Babino, Pari s, 1932


.\hgda Forsrncr. 1926

.\1agda Forstner and Etienne Beothy, 1926

Satyric Dan cer, 1926 (variation )



Lajos Tihanyi , Paris. 1926



U11titled. ('. 1928


Ed" in Rosskam. Paris, 1928


Paul Arma 's Hands, 1928

Jean Lun;at, 1929


Helba I-Iuara, 1931


Chez Mondri an, Paris, 1926


Untitled. Paris. 1928

Edwin Rosskam (above),
Jan Sliuinsky (boll om rig!tt )



Art Studi o, c. 1925


Madame Ehrenbourg, Paris, c. 1929


Hotel des Ten asses. Paris. c. 1926


Foujita. Pa ri s. 1928


Co lette, Paris, 1930


Quarticr L atin . Pari s. 1926


Clayton Bates. 1928-1929


Untitled, 1934


The Ferellc Hot h Quartet, Pari s, 1926


Elizabeth and I, 193 1 (full frame )

Eli zabeth and I, 1931


Elizabeth and I, 193 1


Pa ri s. 193 1


Ossip Zadkine. 1926


Andre Lhote., 1927-1928

A Co rn er iu Fern and Legcr.'s Studi o. 1927


Mondrian's Classes and P ipe, Paris, 1926


Tile Forie Paris. 1928


Legs, 1928

Sain t-Cc rvais-lcs-Bain s. Savo ie, 1929


Pi erre Mac Orlan , 1927


Quarti cr J~ a lm , p- aris, 1929


Cross road s., Bl ois, 1930


Shadows, 193 1

Avenu e de I"Opcra . Paris. 1929


Paris, c. 1926


The Horse-Team, 1925


Children Pla ~in g. c. 193 0


iVIrucloll. 1928


Boulevard des lnvalides , Pari s, 1926


On the Terra ce of a Cafe, Paris, 1928


On the Boulevards, Paris, 1926-1929


,' :;.~




~ ';

' " :~ ,;;L ~~ r:,~


On Lh c Bo ul evard s, P ari s, 193 -+


Shadow Painter, 1926







Boulevard de Ia .\!Jadeleine, Paris, 1927


r--------.. ~

~ --=-


- ----- --- --

t.rE E



L 111 it Jcd. c. 1<no

Playing Without Cheating

by Pierre Borhan



Kertesz had not produ ced m an y nudes

when , in 1933 , he ag reed to a requ est from
the humor m agazine L e So w-ire, whi ch published, among other things , saucy im ages in ord er to
a ttract the good - na tured interes t of a public th at
loved gossip and frivolities. This type of comm iss ion
was unu sual for a ph otogr apher who \vas too se ri ous, too refined , a nd too sensitive to use a wom a n a t
her ex pense, or even more so t o m ak e fun of her,
even gently. l-Ie acce pted the proposal of Querelle.,
th e director of the weekl y, 1 bul it didn't occ ur t o
him to m ak e fun o f women ; h e preferred lo work
with th e mod el in fuLl understanding and symp athetic co mpli city. Kertesz was n ot acc ustomed lo th e
nude (except for th e figures of his b rothe rs a nd
fri end s lying nak ed in the su n in the Hungari a n
co untryside-whi ch ar e n ot reall y 'nudes' in th e
artisti c sense of th e term ), but he bad already m ade,
before 1933 , images of distorted form s, from Th e
Underwa ter Sw imm er (191 7) to the p ortra it of
Ca rl o Rim stret ched out or enlarged by a dislortin g
mirror. H e would m ak e other ph otograp hs in th e

Carlo Hirn . Di slorli on. 1929-193 0

Di sto rl ed Portrait. 1927

sam e genre thro ugh o ut th e co urse of his life: fo r

example, The JV!elancholic ntlip (193 0) and fashi on
and adverti sin g sh ots (nota bl y fo r Vogue in 1938
and for Clamour in 1941 ). Fie never stopped a pprecia l in g th e extr aor dinary form s th at p eo pl e a nd
lhin gs tak e on in cr vst al ball s. mirrors. and other
refl ec ting surfaces. H e eve n made a new series of
di storti ons in 1984, during th e shoo ting of a film on
him by Teri We hn-Dami sc h,2 but fift y years later
thi s series was fa r from equ a lin g th e initial mas ler piece. It is true tl1 a l the Distortions of 1933 ma ke
a n oe uvre: their success constitutes a to ur de force
with out precedent.
Kertesz 's laste for the stra ngeness o f reality
ce rl a inly explain s why., in the studi o placed a t hi s
disposal, he increased the number of shoo ts (a new
thin g, it seem s) beyond wh a t was necessar y to satisfy L e S owire. Ass uredly, he took to th e game and
becam e r a pidl y a wa r e th al hi s dist or t ion s went
beyo nd the \vorld of enterta inm ent. The two mirrors
he. used 3 came fo m an amu se ment p ark , a nd the
bodi es of Najin skaya Verackh a tz and Nadi a Kas in e,
co ntracted, twisted. ta pered, a nd deployed in th ese
mirrors, entered directl y into th e Kertcszian a rtislic
uni verse and eve n stretched il s limits. The ph olograph er felt so strongly a bout these photogra phs that,
sh ortl y after the publication of twelve of th em in tl1e
Ma rch 2, 1933 , iss ue of L e So111ire 'vith a tex t by

A.-P. Barancy, h e tried to h ave some distortions

reproduced in Arts et m etiers g raphiqu es. I-:le
achieved this objective: issue No. 37, of September
15 , 1933 , included an article by Bertrand Guegan
entitled ''Kertesz and His Mirror. " Kertesz also tried
to make a book of the Distortions, but, first because
of political events in Europe, then because of the
puritanism of Americans, he had to wait until 1976
to see it finally published. Even the most progressive
of the Surrealists, of the masters of the Bauhaus, of
the many and varied avant-gardists, did not help in
overcoming the reticence and rejections of the cautious editorial milieu. The two hundred glass plates,
in 9 x 12 format, produced with a Linhof chamber
and reframed in printing, were too eph em eral, too
fantastic , too disturbing in comparison to familiar,
anatomically faithful images of th e female body.
Only Umberto Boccioni, Giacomo Balla, Alexander
Calder, Jean Arp , Henri Laurens , H enry Moore,
P ablo Picasso, and Francis Bacon could view them
without grinning fatuously at the insub stantial
reflections proffered. Only they saw them as they
really were, at once concrete and abstract, dreamlike. Only they accepted the figures without identity,
without social status, without a role, sedu ctive and
terrifying , exalted and damned b y turns. Even if
they corresponded to what any human eye can see
in a distorting mirror, to the normal vision of the
photographic apparatu s the Distortions a re true
anamorphoses , and their essence is elusive. What
are these reclining figures that combine l es
Demoiselles d'Avignon and the sculpted women of
Picasso, whose morphology is emancipated in deformations that are perhaps parables, perhaps omens?
They could make one laugh , but at the same time
th ey were unsettling. Did they seduce or did they
frighten the Minotaur who lent hi s name to the
magazine that was then beginning its life under the
a rtistic direction of Teriacle? In any case, it took
time for them to make their mark on the c urators,
the galleries, the editors, and the collectors; they did
not suddenly inscribe themselves in the established
continuity of the history of art in general., and in
photography in particular. They evok e neither Eve
nor Venus, Diana nor Bathsheba , nor t h e Three
Graces, the Bathers, or Olympia. Even if, in 1889,
Louis Ducos du Hauron had made anamorphosecl
portraits that broke with the mimetic tradition of
the genre, scorning verisimilitude, the Di stortions
themselves would have no major antecedents in
photography. Another hypothetical exp lanation for

the initi a l collective reticence is subj ect matter: the

Di stortions are no more mythological than they are
erotic or sentimental , nor more humanist than
romantic; so devoid of pathos , so distilled , they
deprived the public of reference points, visual or
otherwise. This lack of reference points, which iso lates them , attests even more to their originality:
they are exce ptional-which perhaps m ak es them
occupy an essential place in Kertesz's oeuvre.
What antecedents the Distortion s may have
artistically are chronologically close to the elate of
their creation., situated in the quarter of a century
that preceded them, when artists-the Cubists, the
Futurists , the Surrealists , and t h e Lyrical
Expressionists-detached themselves from mimesis,
which until then had reigned in European art. In
photography, antecedents are almost nonexistent.
The Realists and Pictorialists \vho had dominated
until the 1920s had barely hinted at anamorphoses
in their field of vision; and even the most explor-



0 pc11 \fi11dO\\. 0 11 the

i3l'\OIHI. ..

A.-P. l3i lrillln i11

lA' Suurire. \larch :2. I 1JTl

Distorti on no. 91 , 1933


ative of Kertesz's contemporaries, such as Man Ray,

Laszlo Moholy-Nagy., Raoul Hausmann, and a fe,v
others, had neither discovered nor dipped into such
a treasure chest before Kertesz did.
Kertesz 's genius is also that he placed these
startling nudes in suspension., outside the \Vorld and
outside time. Fragments of an obscure totality. each
of these variations was inscrib ed in an invi sible
frame. The photographer had no more i11Lerest in
showing the studio where he produced th e series
than h e did the slid e of the shot. His mode of working r emained hidd en, like the environment. And
even the margins of the final image were carefully
eliminatecl. 4 Jacques Derricla's observation can be
applied to the Distortions: "There is a frame , but
the frame does not exist." In hi s secret cache, they
are for the most part of a hallucinatory beauty.
Within a few days, Kertesz had made himself
an accomplice of the unprecedented and manifested
a rare acuity. Modest by nature, h e even flirted
unchmacteristically with the risqu e. Playing with the
elasticity of the body and especiall y with the in corporeality of the reflection allowed him to achieve a
piercing of the real without trickery. lle defi ed the
habitual credulity of the gaze; his formalism and this

defiance are insc ribed in the hi story of photogra phy.

Yet the ''visual drunkenness" so successful in making
the Distortions is unique in hi s career as a photograph er. Their plasti c quality is a ll th e more extraordinary in that it docs not reduce th eir m~'stery. Kertesz
left hi s valorization of the eni gma to photography.
Any a rt that can preserve thi s is th e more magicaL

1. Quc rcll c. afra id Kert es z would r efu se, had as ked Mar cel
Vertes to ca ll him. Vertcs. an artist of llun ga ria n origin.
worked for Le Sow ire. Ke rt esz acce pted 1he proposal witho ut h es itati o n.

2 . Andre da n s les villes: Budapest, Pa ris. New York,

1984-85: Portrait d'Andre Kertesz. Direc ted bv Teri Wc hn
Dami sch. 5.5 ntinutcs. A TF1 a nd Minis trv o f C ulture production.
3. Kertesz " ould soon aba nd o n one of th ese mirrors to usc
onh one. S i11til a rl y, he would cease to work with Nadia
Kas in e afte r o ne or two sess ion s and would produce th e
essential pa rt o f th e se ri es with Najins kaya Vcrackhatz. C f.
N llde: Tlt eOIJ : Lu strum Press. 1979.

La Differen ce entre / 'llll age, ou les

Dis torsions d'Andre Kerl es::., Frederic Lambe rt. a sl udy pro-

-t. One can co 11 s ult

du ced for tlt c ,\1i ssion du Pat.rimoin c Phot.ographicptc.

Ministcrc de Ia C ulture. 1992 .

Glass. Di s tortion. 19-+3

Clock . Di s tortion , 1938

Camel. c. 1939 (adver t isin g sLUcly )


Di stor t io n

11 0.

68. 1 9.'3.3


J) istorlion no . 167, 1933


Distortion no. 91 , 1933 (variation )


l)i "lo rl i o 11 110 .

126. 19:3:3



Di stort ion no. 1-tO. 1933


Distortion no. 80, 1933

21 1

Distortion no. 46 , 1933

Distorlion no. 6, 1933

D isl o rli o JJ

11 0.

6. 1933 ( va ri a ti on )

2 1-t

Di stortion no. 93 , 1933

Di stortion no. 7. 1933

2 1S

Di stort ion

11 0.

10:2. 19.)3


Distortion no. 49 , 1933

2 17

Di stortion no. 1-+7. 1933

:2 18

Di sl orli OII 11 0. 96. 19:):3

1 19

Di storti on

11 0.

-tO. 1933


Di sto rti o n no . 1-t 1. 1933

22 1

Distortion no. 61 , 1933

Di sto rtion no. 82. 1933


Distortion no. 76, 1933

The American Period

A Mutual Misunderstanding

by Ja ne Li vingston

ndre Kertesz arrived in New York from Paris

in October 1936, at a moment when an important era in American photography was
about to commence. H e cam e to America having entered into a professional contract with a photographic agency call ed Keystone Studios; his mood of
combined apprehension and optimism was shared
by m any of his European confreres. But, as Kertesz
ha s often related, his hopes for success were soon
dampened, both because of the restrictions placed
on him by this contract (he felt he had traded away
his artistic freedom in exchange for a salary), and
\Yhat h e perceived to be his failure to secure either financial stability through steady and suffi ciently
prestigious magazine work-or, more important,
recognition as an artist.


Yet although during his early years in New

York Kertesz often experienced both professional
and creative frustration, and although his Paris
work of the prece ding era has until recently been
considered superior to his New York work , it can be
argued that in 1936 he was entering into one of his
most fertile periods as an arti st. For he left Europe at
a time when some of th e cru cial events in the history
of modernist style-S urreali sm and Constructivism-had run th eir course. A kind of electrical
transfer of vanguardi st energy passed from Paris,
Berlin, Prague, and Buda pest to New York at the
moment when Kertesz and so many other European

~e w

York. 1956

Fancy Dress, New York , 1938

artists and intellectuals were crossing the Atlantic.

The surge of creativity that seized New York in th e
decades of the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s affected
virtually all the arts. Th e extent to which painting,
sculpture, literature, and cntlCism reached a
crescendo in Am eri can culture during this period is a
\vell known ph enom enon. It has been only recently,
however, that th e full flowering of photography in
this era has been acknowledged.
Ne,v York was th e center not only of the museum and gallery scene in America, but the capital of
the magazin e publishing industry. More than any influ ence of exhibiting venues , with the exception of
th e Museum of Modern Art's photography programs
und er Edward Steichen and Bea umont and Nancy
Newhall, certain publishers and magazine editors in
New York made and broke photographic reputations
during this period. Th e three powers in this worldCond e Nast, Willi am Randolph Hearst Publication s,
and H enry Luce-were, de facto, the most influential forces in the creation of photographic rep utations. Despite his feeling of exclusion from their
ranks, Kertesz would benefit from all of them . most
lastingly through his seventeen- year association with
Conde Kast's House and Garden.
In the mid-193 0s a number of events occurred
that mark endings and beg innings significan1 for
Andre Kertesz's fortunes . Th e great art director of
Russian origin Alexey Brodovitch became one of th e
most powerful editors at Hearst 's Hmp er's Ba:::,aar;
H enry Luce's Life magazine was found ed in 1936:
Alexander Liberman was beginning his ascent at
various Conde i'\ast publications: Moholy-Nagy es -

tablished th e "New Bauhau s" in Chicago; the Farm

Security Administration 's photographic projec t got
underway und er Roy Stryker ; the Photo League.
under Sid Grossman and Walter Rose nblum, was
founded independently of the Film and Photo
League. Conde Nast's Vani~y Fait; long a leading
showcase for photography, folded for a tim e in 1936,
and such galvanizing prese nces in New York as
Julien Levy's Surrealist gall ery and Alfred Stieglitz 's
modernist Callery 291 were fading in thi s periodbut the positive events for tl1 e life of ambitious pho tograph ers in New York far outweighed th e negative
Given the compl ex ity of influen ces and events
in Kertesz's New York ex perience.) es pecia lly in the
first decade of his presen ce there. it is not surprising
that his work reflects so ma ny disparat e impulses .
Indeed, in th e face of both th e variant acceptable direction s pe rmi ss ible to a se rious photographer, and
Kertesz's own extraordinarily sophi sticated grasp of
th e entire mod ernist photogra phic litera ture, one can
on ly ma rvel at his abi lity to sustain a co herent voice
as a n a rti st. The potentially conflicting tenden cies
represented by latter-d ay American Surrealism ,
Constru ctivi sm, film noir-inspired photography,
artistically a nd politicalJ~, engaged reportage. aes th etically gra tuitous still life-all th ese developments were known to and probably seductive to
Kertesz durin g hi s earl y years in New York. Yet he
ca refully chose hi s meti er. ] le worked on assignment
for various magazin es, and continued to do his "personal work ."
The culture, indeed th e cuLt, of personal work
in photography became a distinctively American
phenomenon. [t was virtu ally an article of faith
among man y of his confreres in th e medium that
commercial photogra phy was by definition a corrupting activity. When co nsid ering Kertesz's unending complaint on the subj ect of hi s own lack of
recognition by, on the one hand, magaz in e editors.
and on the other, mu se um and galle ry curators, it is
useful to remember th e cases of such photographers
as Lisette Mod el, Louis Faurer, Leon Levinstein, Ted
Croner, H elen Levitt.) a nd many other important
artists , who experienced in varying deg rees the conflict betwee n the freedom to \vork unen cumbered b y
the demands of editors or advertisers and the need to
make a living through photography. Just like them ,
Kertesz had to put up with these demand s.

Like some of th e other most gifted European

photographers of his generation who found themselves in New York in th e 1930s, such as Martin
Munkacsi, Brassai, and Lisette Model, Kertesz received encouragement and employment, which
would prove decisive to his survival, through the initiative of Alexey Brodovitch. Brodovit ch's understanding of the unique quality of Kertesz 's " naturalistic"
sty le. a style that would remain tenaciously subtl e,
delicately controlled , unresponsive to either the
hi strionics of the theatri cal brand of Surrealism or
the more extremist Constructivism that was in th e
air. res ulted not only in some of his bes t magazin e
work in the New York peri od, but in the achievement
of one of th e greatest photographic books of the era.
Tt was Brodovitch who designed and packaged Da._y
o_/ Paris (1945) , in co rporatin g 147 Kertesz images
made in Paris in the decade before be carne to America. Like Brodovitch 's book of hi s own photographs,
BaLLet, publi shed the sa me year, Da,_y of Paris
quickly became an objec t revered in a sort of underground world of serious a rti sts in New York and elsewhere. Both books h ave ber.ome collec tor's items.
Durin g Kertesz's twenty -six years as a professional photog rapher based in New York, he produced a body of im ages that in some measure
document., or at leas t refl ect, th e particularities of
the city. Yet compared to some of hi s colleagues,

Day of Paris, 1945



such as Weegee, Model, Levitt, Ted Croner, and Louis

Faurer, Kertesz seems to have maintained a certain
distance, or objec tivity, in relation to his subjects.
While it is 1rue that many of hi s New York street photographs reflect the influence of the New York School
of pho1ography, it is a lso true that they are largely
tempered by a kind of self-described "naturalist Surrealism "/ developed while the artist was still in Europe . Moreover. the seeds of some of Kertesz's "New
York School-style' photography were planted before
he ever arrived in ~ew York. One of his earliest New
York images-and the artist's only image from the
year 1936 that would be published for many yearsis Cripp led Woman, a photograph which, while its relation ship to llenri Cartier-Bresson is unmistakable,
foreshadows one of the primary strains in the New
York School style: common s1rcct-photography transform ed into a kind of ruminative poetry.

viewfinder's angle of attack. Perhaps the two photographers whose own Surrealist vision most closely
parallels the intermittent Surrealism in Kertesz.'s
New York-period photographs are Lee Miller and
Manuel Alvarez Bravo. In respect to the former, one
is strongly reminded of some of her Parisian
cityscape photographs of the late 1920s and early
193 0s, which rely for their Surrealist content primarily on skewed angles of vi sion and play heavily
upon exaggeratedly dramatic effects of light and
shadow. Such Kertesz photographs as som e of those
taken in New York in 1937 and 1944 a nd Stairs,
Railing, Shadows and Woman (1951 ) are deeply
akin to both Miller's ea rlv Paris Surrealist work and
the late r Surreali sm she expressed in som e of her
1940-41 London photographs published in her
book, Grim Glmy : Pictures of Britain Under Fire
(Scribners, New York and London, 1946 ).

Two of Kertesz's best known New York surreali st im ages are Lost Cloud and Arm and VellLilaLor
( 1937). Th ese photographs arc classic examples of
the kind of Surrealism exemplified at its best in ce rtain \vorks by Man Ray, such as his 299, boulevard
R.aspail (1928 ), and the Surrealist photographers
Hoger Parry and Maurice Taba rd. Their poetic
qui ckness and dissociati vc humor reside not in any
forced juxtaposi1ious. nor in the familiar Surrealist
use of coll age or montage techniques, but instead
sprin gs from th e photographer's conscious selection
of arrestin g subj ects that presented themselves to
him in passin g. whose strangeness or irony in th e
photographic result derives basically from th e

Kertesz's strong affinity to some of Millcr:s

work is equaled by that to Alvarez Bravo, whose Surrealist work was distinctively "naturalistic ..., and who
also showed at Julien Levy.'s Ne\v York gall ery before
Kertesz arrived in 1hc city. Kertesz's New Vork, 1946,
\'.rith its suspended eyeglass and fi sh sign s, relates to
such Bravo images as Elephant in the S~y and Optic
Parable, both made in 1931. Other images strongly
reminiscent of Bravo are hi s Disappearing Act
(195 - ) and New York , 1959. Whil e it is diffi cult to
im agine that Kertesz would have been uncon sciou s of
.\1iller.'s and Bravo's examples, it is a lso likely that
such direct influence as operated among th em also
traveled from Kertesz to th em.

Crippled Woman , New York, 1936

Disappearing Act. .\e\Y York, 1955

Another aspect of the surrealist spirit crept into

Kertesz's New York-period work, in at least a few examples. The peculiarly American SuiTealism of Frederick Sommer and Clarence John Laughlin can be
felt in such images as Armonk, New York (1941) and
Sofa, Williamsburg, Virginia (1951). The former
photograph recalls not only Sommer's doll imagery,
but Minor White's most surrealist work, such as some
of his anthropomorphic tree photographs. The latter,
a picture taken while on assignment for House and
Garden in Colonial Williamsburg, is both an anomaly
in Kertesz 's career and a clear signal of his increasing
grasp of American culture; the Southern Gothic flavor of this photograph rivals some of Laughlin's most
pungently Faulknerian images.
As interesting as it is to consider the continuing and evolving presence of a surrealist sensibility
in Kertesz 's photography, a tendency that continued
to reappear long after he left Paris, this element of
his work was far from the predominant strain in the
New York-period output. During the first five years
of his life in New York, Kertesz quite rapidly and
profoundly assimilated a style only recently articulated as such: the New York School of photography,
which, as I have proposed in my recent book, flourished in the years between 1936 and 1962. While it
would be misleading to suggest that Kertesz was a
member of this style, he did create several of his best
images from the late 1930s in the spirit of the aesthetic created and apotheosized by such artists as
Helen Levitt, Lisette Model, Ted Croner, Saul Leiter,
and Louis Faurer.

Several Kertesz images relate quite directly to

some of the most prototypical images of the New
York School. Although it has been often pointed out
that Kertesz, especially in his early years in New
York, was influenced by the "documentary" work of
Berenice Abbott, especially the kind of architectural
photography included in her 1939 book Changing
New York, in fact, Kertesz's spirit in many of his own
cityscapes of the period is far closer in spirit to certain members of the New York School. For instance,
the photograph he call ed Lost Cloud, while usually
evinced as an example of the artist's surrealist mode,
resembles a number of eminently nonsurrealist plwtographs of the era and is particularly evocative of
Louis Faurer's (later) Looking Toward RCA Building
at Rockefeller Cen let; New York (1949 ). (Interestingly, Kertesz produced another image in 1956 that
is even more reminiscent of both Faurer's an d Ted
Croner's views looking up at New York skyscrapers.)
The peculiar mixture of toughness and romanticism
characteristic of such artists as Weegee. Leon Levinstein. and William Klein, stro ngly evocative of the
aesthetics of film noir, is palpably evident in many of
the "New York photographs" taken by Kertesz in
1937. And it is difficult to see Children in Playground with SprinkLer (1939) \\ithout thinking of
Helen Levitt's many photographs of children playing
in the streets of New York. It is telling, however. that
Kertesz 's compositional approach in this picture sep-

Armonk, New York, 1941


,' \ew York. 1937

a rates him dec isivel y fro111 Lev itt , ,vho is a lways as

mu c h c horcog rap lwr as co mpose r. Ke rtesz"'s hab itu a l
pi c to ri a l con stru c tin g, a s o pposed to direc tin g. is
made es pec ia ll y cl ea r in thi s co mp arison .


Whil e mu c h in Kert esz's work of th e 1 9-+0 s

a nd 1950s shows hi s awa re rH'SS of th e a es th e ti cs o f
1he New York SchooL man y of its p rirn arv co nce rn s
were foreign to him . Ke rt esz neve r fundamen ta ll y
rejected his own tradition s 1o th e extent that ot he r
me mb ers of the New York Schoo l did: the con sc io rr s
iconoclasm of Alexey Brodovit c h. S id Cross man. a nd
Li sette Model, for examp le, is ce ntral to the deve lopment of the New York Sc hoo l a nd e ntirely un c ha racteri stic of Kertesz.
By the late 1940s, several strains in the cvo luof r>hotographi c style were em erging, or ch a ng ing., in Ke rt esz's photog raph y: an increasing \vis h to
rnas lc~ r a kind of " Amc ri cann ess,"'' in terms of both
s trhjc~d and style; a co ntinued r efinement of th e
artist 's aln~ady establi s hed m nslnr c:ivist/cubist forrna! vocabulary, largel y f"a c: ilital<~d through hi s man y
a rc:hilc ~c: ltrral or s till - lif"<~- lik< ~ inferiors done for
/louse and Garden ; and liw sar111 ~ intcn~s l that ltad
a lwa ys lwc:rt pn:s<:nl in K< ~ rf{- sz's photograph s in a
kind of "nalrrrali st,"'"' trrllkrs lal< ~ d view of th e world
throu g h th e photographi c le ns, convey in g th C' ilhr s ion th at realit y was bein g caplmed effortl ess ly,
without prejudice or a rtful co nceit.

Yet of co urse Ke rtesz wa s n ever m ere ly a

s tra igh 1,. or '"naturali st" ' photographer. Ma ny
thread s \veave throu g h 1h e work . sho,ving variou s
iufluen ces and s ig nifyin g thi s a rtist 's fundam e nt a lly
protean capac ity to ma ste r a nurnber of languages in
hi s chosen medium. For in s ta nce, the formali st sty le
1ha l has become one of Ke rtesz's hallmark s, associa tcd primarily with th e la ter images mad e of lir e
pa rk in Washin g ton S qu a re that Ir e could sec from
1he wi udow of his apartment a t Two Fifth Avenue, in
some wavs b e li es th e ' na iUrali s( ' credo h e was a l
s uch pai~ s to espo use. And certain of K e rteszs p hotograph s. including a few 111ade b efore th e virtu a l
C<'SSalion in hi s produ c tion tha t occ urred betwee n
19-t1 aml1 94 -t , co nvey no thin g so mu ch as a wi sh
to acknowledge a nd 111 as lc r a kind of quint esse ntiall y Amer ica n photog raphi c style associa ted with
Ansel Adams a nd Edwa rd Weston . The Amcr icanII <'SS of his we ll - known A r111onk. New Yo rk pi c ture
perhaps acco tmt s in pa rt for it s a ppeal to Bea um o nt
.\ewhall and th e c ura to ri a l sen s ib ilit y of the Mu seum
of Mod e rn Art. But otl tC'r im ages arc equ a ll y co nnec ted to Ke rt esz's new ho rudand a nd to some of its
photogr aphi c maste rs. Dusk, Ve rmont (1937) , whik
plainly taking cogni zallC(' or AJ) bott, is also one of
1he earli e r cviclc rt ccs o f KC'rteszs awaren ess of
Walker Evans. Tt was. howeve r, primarily a ft er 19-t-+
1hat thi s tendency blosso ms in th e \VOrk. New Vork ,
19-f-f is a purely ,:A mC' ri ca n"'' composition ; New Vork ,
195 1, taking as its s ubj <'c l both an isolated. p<' ns ivc
fi g ure and the co mpos iti ona l strength of a wa ll. reca ll s Aaron S iskind. Th ese exa mples are me re ly a
f"cw of the n1 an y im ages Ke rtesz made in th e la te
1940s. the 1950s, a nd lir e early 1960s that e mbod y


Wa shington Square, 1952

New York, 1937

his assimilation of American photography. And yet,

characteristically, they appear in his oeuvre in a sort
of sporadic fashion; the photographer was also engaged in other artistic concerns.
During these somewhat later years, Kertesz
was often using large format cameras for his commercial work for House and Garden. For his personal work, he definitely preferred the 24 x 36
format, or even the 6 x 6. Though in some ways one
senses a slackening of intensity and singleness of
purpose in the work of the later 1950s, there is also
a new sense of freedom and command of his medium. While using much of his energy for commercial work in these years , Kertesz can be said to have
begun during this period to synthesize many of his
earlier concerns. The successful Washington Square
photographs are probably the best known of his
work of this time. In them, and in other pictures, a
sort of combining of the surrealist and the constructivist languages often occurs. Disappearing Act and
pictures of New York taken in 1959 and 1960 certainly share this characteristic. Kertesz 's occasional
return to earlier devices , such as the use of the distorting mirror, is exemplary of a method he often
practiced of producing variations on a single photo-

graphic idea, usually discarding all but one, but

sometimes apparently accepting different versions of
the same subject. They also perfectly represent the
idiosyncratic manner in which Kertesz sometimes
summoned his own earlier inventions in the service
of new ideas, creating subtle "combines ." Sufficient! y eclectic, Kertesz 's work refers to different
strains of history of photography.
From 1945, when Alexander Liberman
brought Andre Kertesz to House and Garden as one
of its resident photographers, until 1962, when he
left the magazine, Kertesz achieved far more as an
artist than he himself seems ever to have understood. He mastered the particularities of several different camera formats and continued to \vork in a
variety of styles, never abandoning his lifelong allegiance to an essentially "naturalistic" approach to
his medium and yet always demonstrating his enormously sophisticated grasp of the modernist's contributions to the visual arts. Kertesz was
constitutionally incapable of exaggerating his facility
in the name of commercial shock appeal or the
seductions of mannerism; his photographic accomplishment is both straightforward in its craftsmanship and marked by a kind of stubborn integrity of


Self-Portrait., J\'ew York , 1961


vision. If the sh eer multiplicity of subjects, compositions , and technical approaches he commanded tend
to dissipate one's sense of a single hallmark style,
nevertheless, a great Kertesz , whether depicting a
city park or a bowl of walnuts, can never be mistaken for the work of anyone else.


New York , 1944


Crippled Woman, New York, 1936

New York., 1937

Ballet, New York, 1938


Mimy Gombey, Kew York, 1940


Lost Cloud, New York, 1937

:2 -+0

Central Park. 1937


Lake Placid, 1954


Armonk, New York, 1941

Theodore Fri ed,

ew York, 1961

2 -t.)

Poughkeepsie, New York, 1937


New York, 1938

New York, 1938


Ann and Ventilator, New York. 1937 (full frame )


Arm and Venti la tor. New York. 1937

New York, 1939


Children in Pl ayground with Sp rinkler. New York. 1939


Y. Day, New York, 1945



York, 1947


New York , 1952

2 .) .)

Fire Escape, New York, 1949


New York, 1946


Stairs. Ha iling. Shadows., and \Voman. New York. 1951


Ne" York. 19.5 1


Overhead Crosswalk with Clock. New York, 1947


New York , c. 1960

Detroit, 195 7


New York , 1945


Washington Square, 1954


The Sofa, Williamsburg, Virginia, 1951


Corridor, New York, 19-7

New Yo rk, 1959


Landing Pigeo n, New York, 1960


New York, 1961

Park Aven ue. J\"cw York . 1959


New York, 195-t

27 1

New York, 1947

The International Period

The Double of a Life, Continued:
In the Firmament of Photography

by Pierre Borhan

etween 1936 and 1963., Kertesz's negatives

were ''preserved ,'.' first in Paris th en in the
park of the domain of Labord e (Lot et
Garonne)., where they were buried in a suitcase during the war. Before his departure to New York,
Kertesz placed them with Jacqueline Paouillac, then
a journalist , "in ord er to make commercial use of
them and share the profits." Jacqueline sent th em
away to Laborde to protect them., where they remained after the end of the conflict .


When his show was presented at the Bibliotheque Nationale in 1963, Kertesz was surprised to
receive a m essage from the '' trustee" of the photos,
who had learn ed of the homage paid to the photographer through an article in the newspaper Le
Monde. Their meeting was an emotional one, and
Kertesz recovered his precious goods. From then on,
his France was no longer reduced to a chosen few
views, as it had been since 1936. His work would no
longer be tragically thin. Thanks to this recovery,

Th e Finding of Ke rtesz's Fre nch a nd

llungarian Archives, Dece mb er 4., 1963

Self-Portra it with Mv Mas ks.

Sew York , 1976

thanks to the interest tha1 once again was taken in

him., thanks to hi s newl y found ind epend ence,
Kertesz from 1963 onward once again knew a determined produ ctivity- soon encouraged b y importa nt
publications. Assuredly., thi s creativity grew still
more after E lizabeth.'s death , but must one dedu ce
from it that his love for her was like a brake to the
exultation of hi s photographic ge niu s? Th e interpretation of fac ts and phenomena is inevitably haz mdous. Kertesz himself was very selective in his
memories, stories, and explication s, and misled his
interlocutors; he a lways chose melancholy, the sigh
and th e complaint-in contrast to Lartig ue, who always chose h a ppin ess, as much in his journal as in
his paintings and photographs. Like Lartig ue,
Kertesz fabricated-certainly in good faith-a legend for himself. H e did not stop tryin g to inspire
compassion. Whose heart was too hard to fee l pity
for the fate of a man so badly treated by the Arn erican photographic mili eu-such as he described itso misunderstood? Even in 1963 Kertesz preferred
his own schematized version of his career to facin g
the truth , to clarity without complacency. H e felt
isolated; he was not integrated in ew York life, did
not visit other artists. Nothing stimulated him pas sionately. And , evid ently, it was from E urope, sy mpathetic and congenial, that the proposals that
removed him from his co nfining routine arrived.
Whereas the J-:Tungarian Miklos Jan cs6 got ready to
make of Sans-Espoir an important film (1966) ,
Kertesz escaped from the yoke of th e Am erican press
and regained confidence. H e was a lmost seventy a nd
still felt like an "emerging" photographer. If he had
not fit this label for twenty-five years, he would

Wlwn. during the 1960s. hi s withdrawal into

him se lf (li,ed as a hardship ) g radua l!~ s topped. follow i11 g offers aud proposal s of a ll kind s. \Yhich II('
of1e 11 accep ted. Kertesz co uld fin a lly reco 11 s ider 1l1c
whole of II is \York and purs ue i1 without coustrainl.
lie did 110t need to confirm th a t fo r him pl10tography
was a11 obsessive act ivity, but he 11 ccdcd to reappropriate l1i s archives. to regene ra te him se lf. to establi s h him se lf anew. to impose hi s vi sion , a nd to
COIIC I11d e. It mattered to him that he was recognized
as a pill a r of the naturali st trad ition who trea ted rea lit y wiiiiOIII exaggeration a nd never in vented a fictioll. Did lt e not still reject reco urse to manipulations
a 11d oth er tran sg ress ion s o f photog ra phic ort h odoxy,
except for rcframing negatives? Rea li st ju stice rcm a ill cd l1i s c redo. The experim enta tion of th e avaHtgarde be t wee n the t\vo world wars (the Bauhau s.
.\"e 11e Sac hlichkcit ) did not shak e hin1. nor did the
pe rfec t studio " orks by American masters of th e
portra it. of fashion, and of advertis in g. s uc h as Trving Pc11n and H.icha rd Avcdon. It ma ttered to him
th a t the professional mil ic u rccog n izcd that he n ever
recycl ed the images of hi s forc ru n ne rs, not even by
noddin g to their works, that he inve nt ed his own
aes th e ti c. according to his own e thi c . lt matt ered to
him to make it unders tood th a t th e Un ited States
n eith e r ma de him submissive nor s ubdu ed him nor
vanqui shed hi s affinity with the '' quintessence.'' : it
only iso la ted him. His b est photographs are miracl es
of ca lm g ravity: the ~' reflec t th e purity of hi s soul ,
which he rea li zed. ' Photograph y did not influence
my life. he stated ; my life influ e nced my photograph y.' I More than th e oe uvres of Gustave L e Gray,
Julia Margaret Cameron , E ugene Atget, and Man
Ray, to cit e on ly a few, Kertesz's work has a biography. Even his still lifcs arc rich with hi s intellectual
a nd e motional life. The presence of hi s wife echoes
in uni so n with his own in Eli:=abeth
(1978), as does that of Mondrian in th e a rranged
co mpos iti on with his pipe. as htray. and glasses
(1926). Ca n any simpler, more direct photographs
be ta ke n that speak as well for th e mselves? Kertesz
as mu ch transcended what he felt as what he saw.

!rated rat he r than expan s ive and radiatin g. Hi s

hi g hes t prai se of a work was '' It is deep; it is s in cere;
it is good . Intelli gence was not hi s prin cipal criteria:
he felt. lik e th e filmmaker Hobe rt Bresso n. that " intelligellce co mpli cates c ver~' thin g: Yet , he n eve r
a ba ndon ed him se lf to sc utin1 c nt a l di sarray. He was a
ro 111 a nti c of s ubtl ety.
Fo r Kertesz. photog rap hy wa s an e ndless enc hantme nt. proven in vin cibl e. and tran scending
co mpass io1J. Its source wa s a lways in love, and it res isted death. lt \\as th e s ite a 11dth c formula " or, acco rdin g to another Himba11dian express ion, ''of the
so ul for the soul. Photograplw a lso had for Kertesz
its m ys te ri ous sid e. Hobe rt Frank (in Artforum,
1976) reg retted that nothin g ever happened to Henri
Ca rti e r-B resson "that shook hin1 up , except the
bea uty of co mposition: U c could 11 01 have said this
o f Kert esz. for whom. in gen eral. th e subj ect matter
wa s one \Yith form , each found ed i11 the other. insep a rabl e . .\10leo vcr. the unit~' of Kc rtrsz ian work lay in
th e co njun ction of form a nd mea11ing, and this conjunction co nstituted a style-tl1 c a lli a nce of an inte nse s ubj ec tivity (a se nsibilit y. a fin ely focu sed
pass io n) with the skill to rid rea lity (as much as this
is poss ible ) of it s opacity. Hi s work is also affecting
throu g h it s s imult aneo ns purity a nd sin gu larity. The
twc11tieth ce ntury, with it s g rand e ur, its tragedies ,
a nd it s miseries. had no hold on it. It is as if Kertesz,

For Kertesz, old age was not a time of revising

valu es., it was a time for reaffirming orig inal values-those of the man h e ha d bee n and still was,
those of th e photographer: for him , rea lity was ri ch
and co ntain ed the best of life. on the condition that
it \Yas not purged of love. Hi s love s hone throu gh
everywh ere. even if it \Yas co ntain ed a nd conccn-

.\ r "

Yo r~ .

c. I l)7g


as a photographer, had acquiu ed history. His own

virtues watched over him , protected him. Ili s oeuvre,
like that of Josef Sudek, must be taken or left as a
whole. It is that of a photographer of inwardness, a nd
thi s inwardness ensures co herence as much as th ematic and visual leitmotifs. Kertesz was a contrast to
Moholy-Nagy, th e experim enter, and Man Ray, for
whom the medium counted more than anything, for
whom the visual alphabet prevailed over the poetry.


Kertesz never had a global project; at th e most

he concentrated sometim es on a series, lik e th e Distortions ( 1933 ), or th e Polaroids, which were pa rtially published in A Ma Fenetre (From My Window,
1981 ) in homage to the memory of Elizabeth. H e
h ad no n eed of system atizing the exploration of his
universe-he always instin ctively set its limits. For
seventy years he mad e no show of his t echni cal
sa voir faire. "Teclmique," he said, "is in the pinkie ..,,
Th e shots taken from his windows in Paris and Iew
York are leitmotifs in his repertory of virtuosity, as
are the inJ1abitants of the city, passersby, the roofs
and the chimneys, th e readers, the birds, and himself
(he did not stop making self-portraits, though they
never became introspective); as are the tilt shots, his
treatment of shadows, of angles and his way of cutting up space into plan es of opposite consistency:
opaque/translucid, rigid/fluid as in Sidewalk (1929 )
and The Balcony, Martinique (1972 ). There are

1\ cw York, 1975

other equally sig nifi ca nt co nstants: hi s fac ulty for

definin g th e qu otidi a n a nd hi s genial aptitud e for
openin g space to dreamin g. Kertesz's crea ti ve
longevity was co herent. Th e loa fer who never had
hi s own studio always ca me back to the san1 e motifs:
he was loyal, in his a ffection s (forty-five years of l1i s
life was spent with Eli za beth , whom he stea dfas tl y
adored ) and arti sti ca ll y (loya l to hi s equipm ent- ril e
Leica from 1928 onwa rd-t o his subj ects, to hi s aesthetic). H e was not one o f those who travel to find
inspiration or to ch ange it , or who rack th eir bra in s
to com e up with a new., origin al subj ect, or who cannot let a fashion go by without stampin g it with th eir
name. He did not force his voca tion or try to experi ment with it in all direct ions. Sincerity, respec t, a nd
depth: these \vere hi s key words to the encl. At th e
conclusion of a photographi c oeuvre, what on e
knows about th e ph otogra ph er is what his photographs reveal.
For a long tim e Kertesz was treated offhandedly b y historian s of ph otograph y. A few lines decid e
his fate in Photograpft.y 1839-1937, b y Beaumont
Newhall , who does n ot cite him in The Histo'.Y of
Plwtograpft.y from 1839 to the Present Day (Museum of Modern Art, 1949) and forgets him again
in 1980 in Photography : Essay s and Images. Not a
single chapter is dedicated to him in The Picture
History of Photography2 b y Peter Pollack, in which,
it is true, Puyo, Sudek, Drtikol, Nojima, BeHmer,
Tabard, Outerbridge, and Horst are also not cited .
Ignorance cannot account for this disregard . In
1989, the year of the commemoration of the 150th
anniversary of the announ cem ent of the discover y of
photography, Kertesz, the photographer of Paris,
was held up as an innovative figure, as a photojourn alist, in the show and the catalogue of "On the Art
of Fixing a Shadow" .3 Similarly, in Photography
Until Now, 4 John Szarkowski deals with Kertesz's
rela tionship to the press. Of eleven photographs selected for The Art of Photography, 1839-1989,5 ten
were made in France. Thus we can say that it was
not necessary to wait until the 1980s for Kertesz to
be taken into consideration by historians, at least for
the photographs taken during his stay in Paris
(1925-36). Yet in the year of the 100th anniversary
of his birth, not everyone seem s convinced that he
was a master. In contrast to this neglect, Anna
Farova dedicated a book to him in 1966, and John
Szarkowski, who held him in esteem early on, wrote
in 1973 in Looking at Photographs 6 : "Perhaps more

Cireus, New York, 1969

than any other photographer, Andre Kertesz discovered and demonstrated the special aesthetic of the
sm all camera .... In addition to this splendid and
original quality of formal invention, there is in th e
work of Kertesz another quality less easily analyzed,
but surely no less important. It is a sense of the
sweetness of life, a free and childlike pleasure in the
b eauty of the world and th e preciousn ess of sight. "
On the other hand, Susan Sontag, in On Photography, and Janet Malcom, in Diana and Nikon, make
very few references to Kertesz.
Without a doubt, it was in France that he was
recognized with the least hesitation and almost without exception. Roland Barthes himself, in La Chambre CLaire, 7 cites him as often as he does Robert
Ma pplethorpe and comments on particular photograph s tha t h e lik es. such as Em est (P aris, 1931).
fie reminds u s that the editors a t L~/e refu sed these
ph otog raphs b y Kertesz beca use th ey "spoke too
mu ch," and concludes : "In th e end Photography is
subversive, not when it frig ht ens, repulses., or even
sti gma tizes, but \vhen it is though~fid..,. And in UJ-fistoire de Ia Photographie. 8 edit ed by Jean- Claude
Lcrn agny and Andre RouilJe. Ke rt esz constitutes on e
of th e pill a rs of the chapter Photographi c. Ar1 c1
Modc rnite (191 0-1930).

Kertesz life was not that of the h ero of a story,

ri ch in adventure, rather it is his work that counts.
How could so many Am eri can connoisseurs ignore
him for so lon g? Through indifference, or to punish
him for hi s criticism and the antagonistic position he
took in regard to them ? H e ind eed had character,
and he was even some,vha t disdainful of the theoreti cians. What is more, he was rancorous. Is it not
the case that because he was not res pected as h e felt
he deserved to be when h e arrived in New York,
thirty or forty years later he paid little attention to

197 1

S qllaiT .


th e decorations and th e hono rarv di s tinctions th at

were finally g ra nted him by Americau institution s?
E:ven when the United Sta tes a dopted a nd ce lebrated
him , he remained in co nfli ct with it. Tic eve n reproached American s for not hav in g kn own how to
take care of Elizabeth when she fell ill in 1975 (it
see ms th at there was an er ro r in th e diagnosis of her
ca nce r). For exampl e. he wrote to Jenny Boddington.
th e head of the photog rap hy department a t th e ~a
tion a! Call ery of Vi ctori a in Melbourne, Aus tralia. on
December 17, 1977: Jt is beyond description what
!~ Ii zabe th went throu g h a nd through h er sufferings
a lso myself. !Tad T eve r be li eved in a god or in a ny
oth er higher powers, I have every reason to den y it.
On e is h elpless at the ig norance of the medical profess ion here, the goal o f whi ch is onl y to make m oney.
What happened to Eli zabe th , neve r would happen in
Australia or in Fran ce, th e wa y she lost her life and
how my life becam e totally ruin ed . At the present
tim e I am still unabl e to recover of tllis tragedy.'
What would a psyc hoana lyst make of thi s obstin a te resentment ? Th e rejec tion of Kertesz br th e


;\ (\\ York . 1\prill-t . 1977

(con ta ct s!t eet )

edi tors in J\ew Yo rk 111 ade him in return rejec t the

whole Ameri ca n photog rap hi c milieu. and beyond
th a t. a ll of America, a lth oug h IJC never showed ev iderrce of anv ran co r towa rd th e Naz is. A pl a rr sibl c
ex pl ana tion is that he fe lt he wa s prevented from rctrrrning to Pa ri s in 1937 or 1938 beca use he did not
have the financia l mea ns-beca use he had n ot been
a ble to get enou g h payin g job s-a nd not beca rr sc
IIi ti er. in Europe., was a rn cnacc to hi s libert y a nd in deed to his survival. T hi s psychi c simplification. a
detcnnining one in hi s ca ree r. \YilT cert ainly neve r be
elu cidated . Will one eve r kno''" if he was b ein g hones t in fo rgetting to ta ke int o account certain in co ntestable facts, certa in co rrtingc ncies? ln any case, it
was to France that lr e provcd ltis attach ment and hi s
g ra titude, by makin g a don ation to the State o f
France on March 3 0 , 198-t, of a ll his negatives and
corresponding a uthor .'s ri gh ts , as well as his documentation and his corres ponden ce. Throughout hi s
life, he saved the press clippings concernin g him. th e
co ntracts. the invoices. and other professional pape rs, hi s appointment books, his passports. and his
medical papers, as well as aU the mail he received ,

New York, c. 1963

including congratulatory letters, letters from admirers, and copies of some of the letters h e sent. Finally,
what is important is that, independent of national
con siderations, the work exists in its totality, with
the exception of plates broken in Hungary during
th e war and in F ranee wh en they were transferred
from Paris to Casteljaloux. and it can be considered
in all its fullness .
One must be fair: not all Americans underestimated Kertesz. President and Ylrs. Johnson invited
him to the White House for a reception on June 14,
1965. Ylore than seven pages were dedicated to him
in the April 1959 issue of Infinity, with laudatory
text by William Hou seman , executive editor of
House and Garden. In 1967 Cornell Capa selected
him, along with Werner Bi schof, David Seymour,
Robert Capa, Dan Weiner, and Leonard Freed, for
The Concerned Photogmplw; and all the books of
the 1970s were publi sh ed in the United States as
well as in France: On Reading (197 1).9 Sixty Years
of PhotographJ (1972), 10 which received the :"Jadar
prize in 1973 , J 'aime Paris (1974 ).,11 0./New York
(1976) , 12 Distortions (1976). 13 Andre Kertesz in the
co llection Histot y ofPhotographJ; as 'vell as the four
volumes Americana, Birds. Landscap es, and Portraits (1979).H The first university student to do an
in-depth study of Kertesz was an Am erican , Sandra
Phillips;15 to thi s day. no one has devoted so much to

him in the areas of resea rch , study, and reflection, as

she. In 197 4 Kertesz received a Guggenheim fellowship (a gra nt of $ 15.000). In 1977 Abraham Beame,
Mayor of th e City of New York, gave him the Mayor's
Award of I-lonor for Arts and Culture, and Edward
Koch gave him a second one in 1981. In 1985 the
show '' Andre Kertesz of Paris and New York''' was
successive ly presented at t he Art Institute of Chicago
and the Metropolitan Museum in New York, two
prestigious venues for an artist. But incontestably,
Kertesz was more moved by his invitation to the VIe
Rencontres Internationales de la Photographic a
Arles in July 1975 (to which he returned in 1979 )
and even more touched to see a large selection of his
works in Paris in 1977 at the Musee National d 'Art
Moderne, shortly after the opening of the Centre
Georges Pompidou-though he came alone to the
opening: Elizabeth had died on October 21. He was
proud to be decorated with the Arts et Lettres in
1976 (commander) and with the Legion d'Honneur
in 1983 , to receive the Vermeil Medal of the city of
Paris in 1980 and Le Grand Prix National de la
Photographic in 1982. H e framed these prizes and
decorations granted by France, and showed them ,
with emotion., to visitors. From 1977 onward,
Kertesz went more frequently to Pari s, where he felt
confident, in harmony. H e also was recognized in
other European countries, becoming an Honorary
Doctor of the Royal Coll ege of Art, London, in 1983 ,
as well as in Japan.
From 1970, the year of the Universal Expo in
Tokyo, onward, the exhibitions followed one another
without a break, notably in Stockholm, Budapest,
Helsinki, London, New York, Paris, Middletown,
Boston, Toulouse, and Moorhead, up to 1980, and
then in Salford, Jerusalem, Paris, Toronto, Esztergom, Norfolk, Cologne, Milan, Lincoln, Budapest,

Paris. 198.'3


Bradford , Chicago, New York, Santa Fe, Buenos

Aires, Tokyo, Osaka, and even more. Some \vere accompanied by a catalogue, others b y a book . Kertesz
was in a mire of curators, critics, and journalists.
The praise became nearly universal-the "Kertesz
touch " was recognized by professionals and amateurs alike.
At the time of th e show ''The Concerned Photographer," presented at the Riversid e Museum in
New York (October 1, 1967, to January 7, 1968 ),
th e 107 photographs b y Kertesz that had been selected were put up for sale for a price of between
$75 and $200. Saty ric Dan cer was worth $125, as
was Chez Mondrian. (Today the prices and sales are
commensurate with his renown.) Shortly after
breaking his contract with Conde Nast, Kertesz worried about future revenues and agreed in 1964 to become a member of the Magnum agency as a
contributing photograph er (this membership proved
to be only minimally profitable financially). Ten
years later, his copyrights and his sales of collectible
prints en sured a sizeabl e revenue, which finall y allowed him to stop worrying about money. In 1975,
Agathe Gaillard showed his work in Paris shortly
after opening her gallery. She would soon be counted
among his Parisian friend s.
His best institutional clients were in Canada
and in Australia. In 1976 Melbourne's Nation al
Galler y of Victoria bought thirty-four prints,
whereas the Metropolitan Museum had only bought
four. But in 1977 the Gilman Paper Company
bought eleven vintage photographs, taken between
the two world wars, for $23,650 . In 1984 the Pace/
McGill Gallery paid $9,000 for Distortion No. 79.
Between 1984 and 1989, the J. Paul Getty Museum
bought 603 vintage photographs. And in 1991 G.
Ray Hawkins sold a vintage print of Chez Mondrian
to a private client for $250,000.
In the 1980s the demand for prints continued
to increase. The orders came mostly from the Simon
LO\vinsk y Gallery (San Francisco), Light Gallery
(New York ), Jane Corkin Callery (Toronto ), The
H a lsted Gallery (Birmingham ), E dwynn Houk (Ann
Arbor), G. Ray Hawkins Galler y (Los Angeles) ,
Stephen White Galler y (Los Angeles), Vision Gall ery
(Bos ton ). Irene Drori Graphi cs (Los Angeles) , Atla nta Gallerv of Ph otography (Atlanta ), Susan
J lard er Gallery (Ne,v York ). and The Photograph er's

Sculpture. Japan, 1968

Gallery (London ), Fiolet (Amsterdam ), and other

European galleries . Susan Harder, beyond her role
as a gallery owner, advised Kertesz and aided in the
managem ent of his transactions.
In Paris in the 1920s, Kertesz's friends had
been Hungarians, editors, recognized artists, or
artists in the process of being discovered. In the
1970s, his friends were, for the most part, "people in
charge" and others in the pho tographic milieux. The
Frenchman Nicolas Ducrot, who was part of the New
York publishing world , served as Kertesz's agent
until 1979 and played a principal role in the publication of Six ty Years of Photography, J'aime Paris,
Of New York, and Distortions. Their collaboration
cam e to an end when Americana, Birds, Landscap es,
and Portraits were published, Kertesz claimed, without his control or approval of the layout or printing.
When the photographer decided that these books
were not acceptable "either from a technical point of
view or from an artistic point of view" and tried to
interrupt the production and stop distribution, it was
too late. This misadventure brought a painful end to
his contract with Visual Books and his previously
confident, cordial relations with Nicolas Ducrotwho, m eanwhile, provoked, ind eed irritated Kertesz,
because he opposed Kertesz's desire to produce and
sell a large number of modem prints. Kertesz reacted
equally violently when thirty-one of his photographs
(som e of which belonged to the Ducrot family ) were
put up for bidding a t a Christi e's East au ction in
New York on October 3 1, 1979. He wrote to
Christie's to demand the restitution of nine of them
that, according to him. belonged to him. Nevertheless, they were sold along with the others. Kertesz
never again spoke of :\Ticolas Ducrot, except to in-

form his associates of the end of their collaboration.

From then on, only Alex Holl end er helped to manage the legal side of his affairs. Kertesz did not hesitate, in 1980., to take legal action to recover the
internegatives retained by the Freelance Photograph ers Guild.
Most of Kertesz's "friend ships" were professional, primarily based in mutual interest-which
did not prevent them from so metimes being sincere
and warm. It seem s that he made few mistakes in
that arena. He remained clear-h eaded. as he remained ind ependent, and rarely \vas influenced by
the ideas of others. In any case, his acquaintances
became more international as his shows and publications multiplied throughout the world. Late in life
he had great difficulty in taking photographs because his hands shook, but he responded to numerous requests: post cards and portfolios of original
prints were published, book covers were illustrated
with his photographs, films were produced on him
and his work-notably by BBC television. and Ben
Lifson interviewed him in a film produced by the
Public Broadcasting Service. Teri Wehn Damisch
filmed Andre dans les villes for Fren ch television,
where the photographer returned to the sites of his
m emories and produced n ew Distortions in 24 x 36
format. H e also agreed to answer the ques tions (in
his peculiar mixture of English and French ) of inter-

Pari s, 1984

viewers such as Paul Hill and T homas Cooper (Dialogue with Photography, Thames and Hudson,
1979) and m yself (Voyons voit; Creatis, 1980). In
1980 Belfond published Kertesz by Agathe Gaillard.
One of the last books published in his lifetime, From
Mj, Window (1981 ) is particularly moving, because
th e Polaroids reproduced there were taken at home
" in memory of Elizabeth," with knickknack s and famili a r objects. among whi ch is a glass figurin e
(bought at Brentano's) that is without a douJJt th e
symbol of the woman in his life. A ray of love traverses a tran sparent heart . At eighty-five Kertesz
was still a lrue photographer, who appreciated the
pleas ure that photography gave him . His Polaroids
are without artifice, of a confo unding delicacy. They
are the "Equivalents" of an artist par excellence
who, when he captures a littl e truth., wants it at the
same time to be his ow11 motif and light. His oeuvre
co mpleted, it can be confirm ed that Kertesz had
never been disconnected from hi origins or from his
Magyar sensibility, and that li ght bad been for him
more than a "good friend ." It had been a generous
accomplice always ready to sh a re the sacred passion
of life. When , in 1952, Andre and Elizabeth moved
to Two Fifth Avenue to the apartment they would
occupy until the end of th eir lives, they bought a
Steinway piano. It was on thi s piano that, thirty
years later, were k ept the Polaroids that time will efface, as it effaces n early everything, but they were

P a ri ~ .



th e ullimate achi evem ent of he who always repeated:

" Not lookin g, but feeling."


In this story of a life tra nsformed into th e

work of a life, th e books of the last years arc like
bouqu ets that on e offers at the end of the con ce rt to
th e soloist who mad e our heart s bea t fast. Thi s " as
th e case with Hungarian Memories, which a ll owed
Kertesz's youth to come to the nostalgic surface of
hi s old age. It was a lso the case for Andre Kerlesz of
Paris and New Vork, with commentary by Sand ra
Phillips. David Travi s, and Wes ton 1\"aef. a nd it wa s
the case for those homages rend ered after t he soloi st
had definitively finished, such as Andre Kerth =,
published by Iwanami Shoten in .Japan (1986 ) and
Andre Kertesz: ma France (1990 ). which in clud ed
beautiful, previou sly unpublished photogra phs. Not
being a historian, des pite m y con cern for precise in formation and exact detail, l wil not cite a ll th e publication s, a ll the shows of the las t years. I prefer to
approach more personally this ma n who dedi cated
himself to photography, who d id nothin g less than
make himself p hotography. Photograph y passes
throu gh his eyes like a painting throu gh th e ha nd s of
Mati sse and poetry through th e rnouth of Apollinairc. That is what mu st be remembered of th is photographer who un ve il ed what la y beneath certain
cards., and in som e places even removed the varni sh
that covers the ca rd table. Kcn csz chose his subj ects
wh en or where th ey did not li e. f le never contradicted himself, and his destiny did not pa ss him by. I
still ask m~ self wh a t part. in him . th e unconscious
left to th e consciou s iu its perception of the world.
but one can only glimpse this mystery, whi ch retrea ls th e closer on e ge ts to it.

Hungarian Memories
(1982 )

Andre Kert esz of

Paris and Ne w York
(1985 )


Andre Kertes=. (1986)

lli storians are a lways more at ease with a rti sts

who have alreadv become part of pos terity. Ke rtesz
now has his pla ce in history, and th e hi stor ia ns will
confront il. The unity of your book is th e unity of
your frrvor. Gid e said to the young \\Titer. The
unit,. of the Kert csz ia n \YOrk lies a lso in the fervor of
its :wthor and in hi s confiden ce:, both are eve n more
rc rn arkable in that he did not sec k to sedu ce a nd
th a t. fin a llv. h e d id not con cern him self with hi s declinr . .\Tor did hr ma ke an effort to adhere to society
li fr. a li fe comp a ra ble. accordin g to Pierre R e vere!~-,
to a .. va st enterpri se of bandit s. S imilarl~-. he ref11 srcl a ll cornpromi sc in order to mak e his photograph~ \\'hi ch rn aclr it s mark on its own. at lasl.

Andre Kert esz:

ma Fran ce (1990 )

ln11ni g ra nts such as Alexander Libe rman.

i\ lrxrY Broclovitdt. Li se tte .\ 1odcl. Weegee. aucl
Hobe rt Frank assimilated to th e point of becomin g
i\rnericans. Kertesz's id entity did not vary. or varied
little. Yet lr r was of Jewi sh origin. and th e majorit~
of hi s New York Sch oo l photog ra ph s. as Jane Livin gs ton rcllliucls us in Th e New York SchooL
1936- 1963. wt>re of Jewi sh influ ence . In any case. it
is sig niri ca nt tlwt L ew is Tlin c. Wa lk er Evans, and
llcmi Ca rt icr-Bresson were. fo r Liv in gs ton. the leaders wh osr influen ce on L o11is Faurcr. lJclcn Lev itt.
S id Cross man . Rob ert Fra nk . Leon L evin stcin.
Bruce Da vid son. and oth er s was undenia bl e, a nd
th a t And re Kertesz 'vas not on e of th em ., even
thou gh h e lived a nd worked in th e city. The rejection ., or simple indifference. of Am erican photographers t.o Kertesz quite proba bl y reinforced hi s
feelin g of being French a t h ea rt. as well as his confidence in his poetic gift. Photog rap hy ha d the virtue
of pa cif~ in g hi s relationship with th e real \vorld . For
oth er photographers. photogr ap hy is intran sigent; it
intensifies. dramatizes. for Kertesz. it calmed anger,
it miti gated strong emotions. It reconciled him to
li fe. to wha tever he h ad to bear. whatever he must
suffer (in Hungary., a school th at did not interest
him. a boring career ; in Fran ce, th e separation from
his loved ones: in the U nited Stales, rejection as an
artist for thirty year s, E lizabct h 's cance r) . It allmved
him to enter art instinctively. as had before him th e
sculptor '"h o had carved th e po rt al of the Autun
Cath edral. Through photogr ap h\' Kert esz became a
poet , for whom it is vision th a t co unt s above all in
terms of what is looked at a nd " hat onl y passes b~' ;
vision is the way to inhabit thin gs . I li s was elegiac.
H e knew how to transcend t.h c tra ditional cat.cgories of instinct and of the profession. without
exagger ation, without excess. ' The poets arc
always right ..'' Paul Eluard a nd And re Kertesz were
both poets.
The Distortions make us ask th e qu estion
What was the body for Kertesz if not certainly the
most intimate but a lso the most fo reig n site. the first
site of the mystery whi ch no meta morphosis can
pi erce? The works th em se lves reply that the body
can be unburd en ed of its m a teriali ty but not of its
sec ret. its treas ure-the souL The miniatures in color
made " it h the Polaroid SX -70. after Elizabeth's
dea th , co mpl ete th e ans wer : th e o nly possible transpare n c ~ is th at of th e hca rt. whi ch ca n be a ltered b y
nothin g a nd by no one. hi s pu re.

The Empire State Building, 1967

Kertesz's most known a nd renowned work is

in black and white, but h e was equally capable of
creating romance with the rhythms and melodies of
color, veritable notes of happiness. In New York and
in th e course of his travels following the 1950s, he
took fifteen thousand shots in color (without counting th e two thousand Polaroids). T he Kertesz of
color was loyal to the black -and-white Kertesz . In
co lor also, h e avoided mannerism and retained only
th e a uthentic, drawing from the quotidian . The
qu esti on is inevitable: why did h e not publish and
sh ow more photographs in color., since he continued
to ta ke them tirelessly? The an swer s can lie only in
preco nceived notions. In any ca se, it is in controvertible: the publication s containing his color work are
few: the July 1964 issu e of PopuLar Photography
a nd The A rt and Technique of Co Lor Photography, a
book published by Liberm an \Vith photographs b y
P enn, Horst, Kertesz, Parkinson , Mili, Blumenfeld .,
a nd other s. Andreas Feinin ger did not h esitate to ask
him for a book on colo r ph otogr ap hy in 1968. Other
examples can b e found as well , and Charles H a rbuu
pu shed him to invest in Kocl ac hrornc followin g th e
advances made in producing colo r resistant to th e
fa ding effect s of time. Tn 1984 Susan !la rd er o rganized an exhibition , Co Lor; wh ich consisted of a selection of Cibachrome prints. mad e from 195 0 to
1983. The result \vas obvio us: th ese photograph s in
co lo r \Yere as lYri ca l. as ri ch in exp losion s of th e


ephemeral, as those in black and white. "lt is the

n ew romanticism," Kertesz said to Andy Grund berg,
a criti c with th e N ew York Times, in April 1985. And
Grundberg wrote: "Whil e the arti st's new color pictures often mine the same subj ects as his earlier
black-and-white photog raphs, th e addition of color
gives them an added level of complexity and
b eauty. " 16 Not only did Kertesz not abandon color,
h e made it his accomplice, as with light. ''[ never
give up ," he told Grundberg. "lt is the only m eans of
giving color to life ..,,
Thus Kertesz showed evidence of a gift to add
to those already known: that of using color as a significant and structuring elem ent. Nothin g is predominant in his color photographs; each element is
indisp en sable to the whole, and the poetry dep end s
on this. Taking away the flower in Mondrian 's vase,
the train on the bridge in Mendon, or the n eedle of
the dock in th e In stitut de Fra nce is like removing th e hand resting on th e bl essed shoulder of Eliz abeth.


To take away the blue-tinged tr ansparen cy of

th e vase h ere, the p astel of the museum wall there, is
to lose th e essence of photogr aphy. With Kertesz, art
was always born at th e source. It was never p olluted
by an excess of intell ectu alism .
As Samuel Beckett was suited only to writing,
Andre Kertesz was suited only to photograph y.
Kertesz di ed a t h om e on September 28 , 1985. That
day, th e sun went down without lea ving the sky.

On th e Road , ncar B11dapcs1, 1984

" In 1he F'irmamenl of Photograph y" is an expression used by llrnri Cartier-Bresso n in a leu er to Andre
Kcrl esz (197.2).
1. Sotably in Nude: The01_y, Lu slrum Press, 1979.
2. I Larry N. Abrams, New York, 1977.
3. Natio na l Ca llery of Art a nd the Art Institute of Chicago,
-t. The Mu seum of Modern Arl , New York, 1989 .

5. Yale Univcrsil y Press, New Haven and London, 1989.

6. The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1973.
7. Cahiers du Cincma/C allirn a rd/Le Seuil, Paris, 1980.
Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photograph); tra ns. Ri chard
ll oward , New York: Hill and Wang, The Noonday Press,
8. Bordas, Pa ri s, 1986.
9. Lectures, Le Chene, Pari s, 1971. On Reading, Grossman
Publishers, ew York, 1971.
10. Soixante ans de photographie, Le Chene, Pari s, 1972.
Sixty Years of Photography, Crossman Publi shers, New
York, 1972.
11 . ]'aime Paris, Le Chene, Paris, 197 4 . ] 'aime Paris,
C rossman Publishers, New York, 1974 .
12. Dans New York, Le Chene, Paris, 1976. Of New York,
Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1976.
13. Distorsions, Le Chene, Paris, 1976. Distortions, Alfred
A. Knopf, New York, 1976. This book was conceived and
produced by Visual Books.
14. Americana, Oiseaux, Portraits, Paysages (4 volumes),
Le Chene, Pari s, 1979. Americana, Birds, Landscapes, Portraits, Mayflower Books, New York, 1979. These books were
conceived and produced by Visual Books.
15. The Photographic Work of Andre Kertesz in France,
1925-1936: A Critical Essay and Catalogue, thesis, City
University of New York, New York, 1985.
16. Cf. "At 90, Andre Kertesz Remains a Poet of the Everyday," Andy Grundberg, The New York Times, April 28,



Bu y. Long Isl a nd , r . 196:3


New York, c. 1963


Wa ter Tower, New York, c. 1963


New York, c. 1963


Thomas Jefferson, Utica. 1\cw York , c. 1963


New York., c. 1963


Le Pont des Arts, Paris, 1963


The Banks after Rain, Paris, 1963


The Banks, Paris, 1963


The Tuileries in Autumn, Paris, 1963


An Afternoon at the Tuileries, Paris, 1963


ew York, 1964


New York. 196.)



MacDougal All cy, New York , 1965


Sheridan Squ a re. 1966


Washington Square., 1966

:3 0-t

New York, 1966


.\Jew York, 1966

:\e,Y York. 1965


Ma uso leum Mciji, To kyo, 1968


Rainy Day, Tokyo , 1968

:3 10

Jlowa rd Beach. \Te" York . 1969


Sixth Avenue, New York. 1973


New York, 1965

Street Si11 ger, New York., 1969


New York, 1969


New York, 1969


Winter Garden , l\cw York, 1970


New York , 1965


Washington Squ a re, 197 0

:) 19

Washi ng ton Sq uare. 1969

Martinique, 1972 (variation )


The Balcony, Martinique, January 1, 1972


Flowers for Elizabeth, New York, 1976


'\lew York , 1972


World Trade Towers, _\Jew York, 1975

ln the Street, New York, 1977


Paris. 1983


Floods, Par~ , 1982


Paris. 1982

3.'3 0

Pari s, 1981


Paris, 1984

Paris. 198-

Paris, 1984

The Color

c . 1%S


J 960



:) \.()






~ 14











:~ .)2

198 1

Ac kn owl r dgnH'nl s
l would lik e 10 dwnk :\oc l Bo urcier for hi s tirc' lrss.
pe rsp icac ious. a nd eage r co ll a bora ti on in the prepa rati on
of' th e \YOrk. Dorniniqu P .\l r riga rd for her und ersta ndin g
' a nd sensiti,ity in regard lo the grap hi c des ign.
'1\on Le .\ Ia rlrc for hi s excellent pri 111 s. and
J\la rt in e \l a rq urs a nd Cla udin e Civili se for 1heir
acc urate typing.
Cill cs Mora for hi s co nfid ence and esse ntial s upp ort.
Patri ck Roegie rs for hi s ge ne rou s initi a tive a t th e ori gin of
th e mee tin g with Gill es .\1 ora. a nd Do minqu e Baqu c. Ja ne
Li,ings ton. a nd Lasz lo Beke for th eir enri chin g studi es .

P. B.

A nd r e Ke rtesz is born July 2 in Budapes t. Hun ga ry.



First s how a t th e ava nt -ga rd e ga ll er)' Au Sacrc du prin lenlp s, iu Pa ri s.

!lis fa th er, Lip6t, di es of 1ub er c ulosis.

With a degr ee from t he Academ y of Commerce in Buda pest.
Kert esz gets hi s f-ir st job a t the stoc k m a rk et . f lc bu vs hi s
first ca mera (an ICA with 4..5 x 6 em plates) a nd b~g in s lo
la ke ph otos of street sce nes .

1914- 191 8
Hccruited into th e Aus tro -Hun ga ri a n armv, he is wo unded
in 19 1.5 . As a n a m a te ur he pbotograph s th e d a il y life of the
soldi e rs. Som e of th e n egatives a r e des troyed during th e
I lun ga ri a n revolution.

191 6
For hi s self- porlrail h e is paid a fee de te rmined by th e
maga zin e 13orss::.em -]ank6.

191 7
A dozen of bi s ph ot og ra ph s a r e r eproduced as post ca rd s. H e
pubLi sh es th ese photog ra ph s in 1he m agazine Erdekes-Ui sag.

191 8-1925

- in C errn a n): Fm nA:fitrler 1/lustrierle, Ne ue }ugend, Mode

uud Kultur. /Ja s lllllslrieri P Blclll , Die Dam e. Miiu c!t euer
Jllustrier/e. U/111 , Berlin er lllustrieri P Zeituug , Neu este
llllls I rie rl P;
- in En gla nd: Th e Sphere, T!t e S ketch .
.\11n w rou s po rtraits of Mo ndti a n. L ege r. C haga iL Zadkin c.
L11rva l. Cald e r. Bra nr u,; i. Ei sc nsiC'in. De rm er, T zara. etc.

H r r e turns to hi s job a l th e sloc k ma rke t a nd phot ogr a ph s

hi s fa rnil y. hi s fri e nd s., a nd the 1-lu11garia n countrvside .

I IP a rrives in P a ri s in Se pt emb e r a nd find s a pl ace in Mon t pa rn assc. li e frequ e nt s thr lil r rar) a nd a rti sti c circles of th e
a va nt -gardc a nd beg in s to ph o tog ra ph hi s Hunga ri an
fri e nds , arti s ts studi os . sl rre1 sce nes. cafes. a nd the gard ens
of' P a ri s .

ll r nw Pis Bra ssai.
lie lll O\ CS to .5 , ru e d r Va nvrs. \Yh c re he \Yill re m a in ttnlil

ll r ,,o rk s as a n ind rpe nd cllt ph ot og ra ph e r fo r th e f'oll o \\'in g
1n agaz1nr-s:

- In Fr<11! C'C : A rt et lndustrie. C'a !tiets c/"ar/. CArt rirant , CP

Temps-ci. /,es Annales, I oi!(L. La I ie Ull ./~ 1 ~t ; Mariann e,
llegwds. t~a Fm nce d table. I ague. Plaisir de Fmnre. L! cfeuues. i\ otre areuit; t~ JIIu s trrS. Ere, Sc(lt)(/ale. l oire
lwrwl e. Nails de Fmu ce. Paris -11 /aga::.iu e. Tourism e et
Sa utrS. Les Xourelles lill emires, L'/1/u slmliou. /,e Jardin d Ps
let/res. /,u .1/he PI L'Lilj'rwl ;

Li e bu\'S hi s firsl LC' ica .
f le ma rri es Hozsa Kl ein ., a photog ra ph e r kn o wn tmd e r the
narn C' o f Hog i Andre . T he\' li ve a t 7.5 , ho11lrva rd J\llo utp a r na sse . Th ey s plit up two vcars la te r.

l-Ie is o ne of th e prin cipal ro nlrihlll o rs to the .VI agaz in e /~ 1 ,
directed b,, Lu cie n \ 'ogel.
Most imp~ rt a nt phot o ~cssm-s : In 19 2 8 : g lass blo \\'cr s, ,\'la r sh al L ya utC)', la ud sca pes in Ba r- le-Du c: in 1 929 : Britla nr.
marione ttes. Fre nc h Acti on ; in 1 9.3 0: the Abbe, of Ia
Grand e Trappe, '\1 cr cha nts o f th e future" : in i 9.3 1: 'Th e
c hildre n's cl a y'' : in 19.32: 1-l os pi rrs in Bea unc: itt1 9.3.3 : th e
L a tin Qua rter.
1-li s photogr a ph s a p pear o n a n11mb cr of m agaz in e co ve rs.

H e pa rti cipa tes in th e ex hibiti o n Film uu d Foto in St uttga rt.
Th e St aa tli c he Mu seum Kun slbibliothek iu Berlin a nd th e
Ki:inig-Alb crt Museum in Z wi c ka u buy his phot og raph s.

1930- 1936
li e wo rk s with Sou gcz. Ko llar, Brassai'. KrulL Z ub e r. Sc hall ,
Ma n Hay. i\o ra Dum as o n the magazin e Art et Meclecine,
directed b,- Doc to r Deba l. His maiu pl10to-cssms n o ta bl~
illustra te arti cles b1 Fra ncis Car co. Col ette. a nd Pi e rre Mac
Orla n .

ln 19.3 1: P a ris. l' lle- cl c-Fra nce, Co rsica., i\'o nn a ndv; in

1 9.32 : t be Sa vO)' Britta ny, Lvon s: .\1 ac Orl a n . .\1actcrliuck.

193 1
\!l o ves to .32 bi s. n w d11 Co lcrttin. where he will li ve until
19.36 .

T hirt)-fi,c o f hi s ph o tog ra ph s a r c in clud ed in th e s ho\Y
"Modem E urop ea n Ph olog raphv' a t th e .Juli en Lc vv ga ll ery
in .\el\' York.

Ke rtesz m a tTi cs Eliza beth Sa h' (Sa la m o n).
Th e publi ca ti o n o f hi s firsl boo k. Enj'a nts (Children ). ,,ith a
lcxl b)- .l a boun e. li e produ ces th e seri es of Di sto rtion s fo r
I he tn agaz in c l~e Sourire. I li s moth e r di es.

P11hli ca 1i o n of Paris ''" p ar Andre Kerl es::; (Paris as Seen
Andre KPrt rSs::; ) ,,ith a tex t b, Pi e rre :Vi ae Orlan.



United States

Andre Kcrte s?: leaves for ~cw York to lionor a contract ,,ith
1hP KPvstorlc a gene\\ which he car ree ls tir e following ~ ear.

Firs t onr-man s hO\\ in 1\e,, York. at tir e PM Callery Tlw beginning of' Iri s conlrihrrlion ilS an irrckperrd e rrt plrot~graplrer
to 1IrupPr's /3a::;rwt ~ I ague, Toll'// Olld Coul/lt); T!te AllleriCU/1

Jllaga::Jne, llollse and Carclf'll,


Cora/lei, Look.

19-t 1
Considered ilrr enenr\ alien b,- law becau se of hi s rwtionaJil\'. lw is forbidden t~ publi s h. for sevem l \cars. Elizabeth
s tarts a pe rhrme brr siness.
Tire Mu se urn of Ylocl enr Art is tire first Anwrican m1r sc urn to
hrr~ il photogmph bv Andre Ke rte sz for tir e s lro,, ' lmagr of'

lie be co me s an Arnericiln c itizen.

Prrhlical ion of /Jar o,j'Paris, co nceived b\ Alcxe\


li e participates in num e rou s shows in .\ lew York, Tokyo,

S tockholm. Budapes t, London. and H e ls inki. and he is honored lw thr American Soc iety of \1a gaz in e Plrotograph ers
(1 %S). tlw City of .' \lrw York (1976 ). tire French governmrnt (Co mnwndcr of Arts arrd Letters. 1976 ). llc corrtinues
to photograph :\ew York from Iri s window.

lie is a g rre s l of' honor at th e International Congress of
Plrotog raplw in Aries. Frorn then untill984 , h e will make
frcqtrcrrt trip s to Francr.

Elizalwt h dirs on October 21.

.\'urncro us honors arc accorded him , notab ly in conjunction
\\'ith tlrr s hm\ S drcli ca trd to him thmughout the world:
Pari s. Centre Ceorgcs-Pornpidou. 1977: Universitv of SalfonL 1980:. Jeru sa le m , Is rae l Mu se um , 1980: Pari s, Agathc
Gaillard ga llrrv, 1980 and 1981: Norfolk. C lrrvslc r Musr um , 1982: 1\ew York , S usa n [larde r Callery, 1982; Bradford. 1'\liJliorwl Museum of Photograph y, " Film and
Te levi s ion ,'' 1984.

First one-nran s how in an Americiln mu se um at tire Art

lrr s litut e of Chicago.



In hi s :\ew York a partmrnl , he produces a seri es of stilllifes

,,ith a Polaroid that will be published under the title From

Andre Ke rtesz travel s to Paris andBrrclapest.

liP s ig ns iln exclrrsive contract with Conde Nast in 1\ew
York. for whom he take s photograph s pri rnarily of inlrrior

1950 (circa )

M1 Wind01r.

ln Paris he rece ives the French nat ional Grand Prix in
Hi s book H!lngarian Memories is publi shed.

H e beg in s to photograph in color.



llc is awarded 1he L eg ion of Honor.

lie moves to 2 Fifth Avenue. He s tarts, with th e tlrcme of

Was hington Sqrtarr. a se ries of p e rso nill photograph s that
be will prrrs ue until hi s d eat h a nd that will be th e fo c us of a
book in 197S.

li e dec ides to cancel his co ntrac t with Conde 1\ast and
devote lrimself to hi s own work.

International Period
li e partic ipates in the fourth 'Moslra Bien11ale ln! ernazionale della Fotogra:fia '' (Bienni a l Int e rnational

On .\1arc h 3 0 , Andre Kertesz s ig ns the deed of g ift to the
French S tate (the .\1ini s try of Cttlt rrre) of the whol e of hi s
nega tives and corr es pond e n ce. lie mak es a la st trip to
BudapPst for th e Spring Festival.

Presentation of the show '" AnclrP Kertesz of Pari s and New
York at th e Art In s titute of Chicago aud at thr 'VIetropolitan ,\ 1u seum of Art in l\'r,, York.
Artdrc Kerte sz die s on September 28 in hi s New York hom e.


E xhibition of Photogra phy ) iu Venice.

One-man s how at the Biblioth cq ue Nationale in Pari s.
Andre Ke rt esz reco vers hi s negat ives frorn his Hungarian
and French periods, which had been hidden during tire war
in a chateau in the south of' France.

The arrival in Paris of all tlw neg ativrs and the ar'Cirives
that constitute Andre Ke rtesz's g ift. Tire Frerrch Assoc iation
for the diffusion of the photographic patrirnon\ (VIirti s lr) of
Cultrrre) is chilrged witlr consnving turd di strihrrting thr
Kertt::S7: archives.



Show a t th e Vlu se urn of Vloclnn Art in 1\'t'\Y York . organizrd

by Jolrn SzarkO\\s ki.

lnatrguration on April 9 of thr Kcrtc,;z llorr st' irr Szigrthttse.




\'o rk / Le ~OIIvrf Ohse rvai Piir/ Delpire. Pari s/ Lo11don:

Co nl on Fra srr Caller\'. 1977. 9-t pugrs. -t:) pl1otographs.
C hmn ology.. bibliograpln.


, lm ericana. Edited h\' .'\icolas Ducrot. i\ ew Yo rk: \ 'is1ml

13ook s/!l " wricana. Ptiri s: Lc C l1 ~ 11 e. 1979. 6-t pages. 6.)

En/ants. Text by Jab oun e [Jean J\'ohain]. Paris : Editio11s

d 'hi stoire et d 'a rt. Libra iri e Pion , 19:3:3. -t8 pages. 60
photographs .

Paris uu par Andre Kertes=.. Text b, Pirrre .\!lac Orlan.

P ar is: Ed iti ons d"hi sto ire et cl" art, l~ ibra iri r Plo11. 19:3-t. -t6

FJirds. E:diied by i\ irolas Du c rot. ,\ lr" York: \'i s11 a l

Book s/Oiseau.r." Pari s: Le Che ne. 1979 . 6-t pagPs. 65
photograph s.

pages., 48 photograph s.

Landscapes. Ed ited lw .\licolas DII("I"OI. Ne w York: Vi sua l

Book s/Paysagrs. Paris: Lc C he ne. 1979. 6-t pages. 6 1

Nos amies /es betes. Text by Jabounr. Pa ri s: Ed il io ns


cl"histoire et d 'a rt. Librairi~ Pi on. 1936. -t8 pages. 60

pho10graph s.

Portraits. Ed ited by \i co las Du rrol. .\ ew York: \ 'isu<d

Book s/Portraits. P~ri s: Lc C hene. 1979. 6-t pages. 65

Les Ca th edrales dll vin. Text by Pie rre I lamp . Pari s:

pholograph s.

Etab li sse ments Sainrept et Brice, 19.3 7. 28 pages. 28


'A ndre Kertesz., In Dialogue 1ritli Pli otogmphl ; h)' Paul

Day of Paris. Edited by George Dav is. Sew York: J. J. Aug ustin Publi shers, 1945. 148 pages. 102 pholograph s.

Andre Kertesz. lntrocl ucl ion by Anna Farova. Adap ted for
the Ameri can edition by Robert Soga lyn. New York: Pa ragrap hi c Books. 1966 . 100 pages. 73 phot.ographs.

The Concerned Pholographe1: Edited by Cornell Capa.

68-91 a nd 184-1 90. ,\lew York: Crossman Publi shers,
1968. 206 pages, 32 photographs. Biography, bibliography.
Co mm e ntar y b y Andre Kertesz .


On Reading, 2nd eel. S ew York: Cross man.

1 97 1n~ec tures .

Paris: Le Chene. 1971 . 64 pages, 66 photographs . Second

edi tio n, 1975 .

Andre Kertesz: Sixf:y Years of Photography. 1912- 1972.

Nicolas Ducrot. New York: C ross ma n Publi shers. 1972/Andre
Kertesz: Soi.r:ante ans de plwtographie, 19 12-1972. '!e xt,
" Frere voyant,"' by Pa ul Dermee. Pa ri s: Le C hene. 1972. 22-t
pages, 235 photograph s. Second ed ition, 1978.

J'aime Paris: Photographs S ince the Ttvenlies. Nico las

Ducrol. New York: Crossma n Publishers, Macmillan Co m pany of Ca nada. 1974/J 'aime Paris. Paris: Le C hene, 197-t .
224 pages, 2 18 photographs.

Andre Kertesz: Washington. Square. N ico las Ducrot. '!ext by

Brendan G ill. New York: C rossman Publishers , 1975. 96
pages, 103 p hotog rap hs.

Distortions. Nicolas Ducrot. Introd uction by Ililton Kra mer.

~ew York: Alfred A. Kn opf!Distorsions. Pa.ris: Le C hene,
1976. 200 pages. 126 photographs.

OfNew Vork. . . .\ licola s Ducrol. J\'ew York: Alfred A.

Kn op f a nd Toronlo: Random Hou se of Canada/Dans New
Vork. Pa ri s: Le Che ne, 1976. 192 pages. 189 photograph s,
1 contact print.

Andre Kertes=.. Introd ucti o n by Ca role Ki sma ri c, from " lli storv of Photography,"' Aperture no. 6 , Aperture In c., New

llill a nd Tlwlllas Coope r. -t-t- -t9 . \lrw York: Farrar. S tra 11 S

and Ci ro ux. 1979. -+ 29 pages .
' Andre Kertesz: In Eve rvthin g I Phototrraph Th ere Is th e
ll11111an Touch ... In N11dr: Theoi.J: Edited by Ja i11 Ke ll v.
11 5-129. 1\lrw York: Lu slrum Press. 1979. 17.3 pagrs. 1
pori ra il. 9 pholograph s. Co mm ent a ri es bv Ke rt esz.
A ndre Kert esz ... C:o nvNsatio n with Pierre Borhan , in
Jloyo ns Pair: ) photographes. 23-2.). Paris: C rcat is. 1980. 6

Kertesz. Text by Aga lh e Ga ill ard., from Les g ra nd s

pho10graphes. Pa ri s: Bel f"o nd . 1980 . 16 photographs.
Biog rap hv, bib Iiog rap hv.

Fro111 ill/y /Vine/ow. Introd uction by Peter :'VIacCill. Boslon:

New York Graphi c Society/ Lilli e, Brown .lA mafenetre.
Pa ri s: ll e rschcr, 1981. 72 pages, 5.3 Polaro id photograph s.
Andre Kertesz: A l.ij"eti111e of Percrplion. lntrod 11 Ci ion b )'
Be n Lifso n. i\ lcw York: Abram s. Produced bv Kev Po rter
Boo ks, Toronto, 1982. 2.59 pages, 150 phot~gral)h s .
C hro nology. Cc r111 a n adapta lion: 111/omente eines Lebens, Art
S toc k. French ada pial ion: Les litstants de ma vie, Bookkiug
Intern at ion a l. 1993 .

I /ungarian Me mories. Introduction by I l iIton Krame r.

Boslo n: ;\few York Grap hi c Socicty/L iul c, Brown , 1982 . 194
pages, 144 phot og rap hs .

Andre Kertesz. Tcxl by Att ilio Co lombo . Fron1 I Grandi

Fotografi. Milan: Fabri, 1 983. Biography, bibliography.
Andre Kertesz Magya rorszagon. Publi shed und e r I he direc1ion of .fa nos Bodn ar. B11dapest: Fi:if"oto, 1984. 104 pages,
50 photographs. French translation. C hronology.

Andre Kertes=.: Th e Jll/an clzesler Collection. Texts by ll cnri

Ca rti er- Bresso n, ll aro ld Ril ey, Mark ll awo rlh -Boo l:h, Lady
Marina Vaisey, Westo n J. Na~f, Co lin Fo rd , C ha rl es ll arbt;tt.
Ma ncheste r, E ng la nd : The Manchester Co ll ection, 1984.
186 pages, 302 photog raphs. Biog rap hy.

Andre "'er/c;s:::,. l11trodu cti on b1 Da ni r lr f:ia ll e11 an>, C:\P.

Ph o10 poc he 11 0. 17. Pa ri s. 19S.). Second ed it ion.
1988/Jindre 1\er/ es:::,. :\c11 York: Pa 11th eo 11 Book;; . a nd
London: Th a nH's a 11d lln cbo11. 1 C)89. I:).) pages . .)8
ph otog ra ph s. Bi ograph,. bibli ogra pl11.
Andre 1\erl es:::, Slwshin shu. Ediud Ill Sn;;a n I la rd er a nd
lliroji K1ii JU ta. Tex ts b) ll a lllin ;;o n a 11d Corn ell Ca pa.
To kyo : 11111 11 11 111i ShotPn. 1 <)86. Jiudd 1\ert es:::,, /Jian o/
fjgf;l 19 1:!- !9S5. :\e11 York : ApcrtiiiT In c. Audd j.,p,:/es:::,,
,'J'oi.twtl e-di.t aunees de pl101op:mplu'e. Pa 1is: ll olog ra mm e.
1987. 206 pages. 1.)2 ph otogra ph , . C: hro nolog1.
1ln dn; "'er/es:::,. I S9+-1 9S.5. Ca role Ki snw ri c. [ ssm ln
Ll01d l' o111iell c. :\c11 York : Apenure Fo11nda ti on..199:3. 9-t
pag.<'o. 13ihl iographY.
Andre 1\er/es:::,, IS 9+-1 9S5- ! 99-f. Tex ts lw Kin eses Ka rok
Vlikl 6s :VIt1 tdos \'. Pi erre Borh a 11. lnt ervie11: ll'ith AndrP .
Ken rsz. 13Piu H;1ffay. Lajos \llaga;; it z. Pelik a n Ki ad6 eel.
Bud a pes t: .VI ag\' a r Fotografia i Vlt'1 ze 11111 . 199-t. ll1111 garia n
a nd Fn' 11 ch editi ons. 190 pages., 12:3 ph otograp hs. Chronologv. Bibli og rap hy of Hunga ri a n tex ts.

Edt ibilion C'alalogs

Kertes:::, a/ Long Island L'ni1ersi() : Tex t IJ, .\ a th a n Hes ni r k.
:\e\\' York : Lo11 g Island Uui vers it) 1962.

!II/(Ire Kerles:::, photogmphies. In trod uct ion by AIix Gambi er.

Pa ri s: Bibli oth cqu e nati ona lr. 196:3. Bibli ogra phy.

1/ 'il/oslra /3iennale lnt em ad onale della Fotogmfia. VPni ce :

l ~ di z i o ni Bi enn a lc Fotogra fi ca. 196:3. 7 ph otograp hs.
Andre 1\er/es:::,. Ph otographet: Tex t b) John Sza rk owsk i.
:\ P I\' York : \1u se llln of \l odern An . 196-t. 6-t photograph s.
Andre 1\erl es:::,: Fotogrqfiett. 19 13- 197 1. By Hn ne ll ass ner.
Stoc kh ol111: \l odern a Museet. 197 1.
Andre Kerl es:::,. Introdu cti on hr Pi erre de Fenoy l. Pa ri s: CP ntre Geo rges P01npidou/Co ntrc]our., Pa ri s. 19Ti. Seco nd r di ti on. 1979: third r diti on. 1982.88 pag<'s. 78 ph otograph s.
Chro11 0iogy. Andre Kertes:::,: An E1.hibition of Ph otograph s
.finmthe Centre CeorgPs Pompidon. Paris. l11trodu ct io11 lw
C:o li11 Fo rd . Lond on: Arts Co un cil of C rra t Bri ta in . 1979.
-+8 pages. 39 photograp hs.
" 'erles:::, L\: 1/arbull: Sympath etic ~~~l.p!om tio n s. 1;:ssa1 b1
Anch- C rundh r rg. \l oo rh ea d .. \ 'linn esota : Pl ai ns Art .\lu se ul;l. 1978 . 68,pagrs. 2-t ph otograp hs 1)\ Kert esz .
Andre 1\er/ (;s:::,. Edited b) T homas \X'alth er. Co lognr: Ga lcri r
Wild e. 1982 ..')5 pages. 2.'3 ph otogra ph s. 13i ognJph)
Jl ndti Ker/ ps:::,. Jlfas /Pr oj' PI!Otogmph1 : Broo ks .J ohn so n.
:\ orl'olk . \ 'irgini a: Chrysler \lu sC' IIIll . 1982. 6-t pages. -+-+
pl1 otogra ph s i11 bl ac k a nd ll'hit c . .) ph otograph s in co lor.
C: hrOII OIOg)
!l ndt.P "'('1'/es::.: Fom1 and Feeling. Keith f Dmi:;. Ka nsas
Cit \': ll a lln w rk Ca rds. 198:3. 8 page;,. 16 ph otog ra phs.

1ln dn; "'er/ es:::, o,/ Pans and ,Yeu l'o rk. Trx ts bv Sa ndra S.
Philli ps. Dav id T1m is. a nd \\'es ton J . .\laef. T he Art IHstitute
of Chi cago. T he \ 1ctropolit a n \ 'lu sc urn of Art. :'lew Yo rk .
:\ell' York a nd Londo n: T ha 111 Ps a nd llu dso n. 1985. 288
page:,. :300 illu stra ti ons, in cluding 192 photogra plts. Bibli og ra ph) ind rx.
!l nd,.P "'erles:::,: A Portrait a/ Nine!): To kyo: Pac ifi c Press
SP rvice. Int ern a ti onal Cc nt Pr or Pll otogn)ph y. 1985 . 88
pages, 200 photogra ph s in b lac k a nd \\'hit e, 19 ph otographs
i11 co lor.
" 'er/ es:::, on "'erles:::,: II Self P ort mil. Introdu ction b,- Peter
Ada 111 . :\r 11 York: Abbe;ill r Prrss, 1983. 120 pag~s, 9-t
photogra phs. Chronology. Co nnn ent a rv b) And re Ker tesz.
L n autoritm llo: Andre 1\erl es:::,. Introd uction by Peter
Ada m. Text b1 Ca rl o Bert elli . l 1dine. lt a h: Art .&. 1989.
16-t pagrs. 9-i ph otogra phs. Chronology. com menta ry bv
A ndn~ KPrt csz.
!l udre /{er! P.s:::,: 70 photogmphies, 19 1:!- 1966. Peter Ba um ,
Lin z., Austri a : Di e Gali eri P, 1986.56 pagrs.
OmarJ;a;io ad Andre Kerth::,, I S9+- 19S5. Academic de
Fra n~~ a Home. \ 'ili a .\1 ed icis (B uda pes t. Pari s, 1\ew Yo rk,
Ho nw ). 1986 . 77 pages.
Jl ndrf> 1\erles:::, p!totographe. Tex ts by HenP llu)ghe a nd
Jea n- Pa ul Scar pitt a. Pa ri s: ln stitnt de Fra nce. Muscc
.l acqu PII Wrt -A nd re, 1987. 166 pages, 1.'3.5 photogr apb s.
Chronology. bibli ogra ph y.
Th eodore Fried and Andre 1\erl es:::,: An t'nduring FriendslnjJ.
lntrod11 Cti on b,- Fra nklin Hicl dm a n. Ne w Yo rk : Allison Ca lhi es. 1987. 30 pagrs.
.% 7

!l ndd Kerth::,. ma FtWICP. Texts b1 Pi erre Bonh omm e. Sa nd ra Phillips. Jean-C la ude Le m ag n ~. .VIi chel Frizot. Pari s:
Coed it ion of ti1 P \ 1inistcre de Ia Culture/ La ~l a nufac ture ,
1990 . 278 pagPs. 2-+3 ph otograph s. Chronolog) bibliogra p hv. l ~ x hib i ti o n s . Andre 1\er/es:::, in Paris: Fotographien
19:!5- 1936. \ 1uni r h: Sc hirlll crll\1 ose l. 1992.
S tmnger to Paris. lntrod 11 Ct ion b) Hobert E nright. eel.
Toront o. Ca 1wda: Ja nr Corkin Caii Prv, 1992 . 98 pages, 40
ph otog ra ph s.
Paris. Tex ts bv Cla ud io Ma rra. a nd Bettin a Hh r in1s, Pd .
.'v lil a n: Ph otologv. 1993. 90 pages. -+2 ph otograp hs.


l1 11i ve rsit\ of' Sa lford.

S olo ExhibiLions

Jrru snlen1. Israe l \ 'lu sc11m . "Ph otogra ph s of a Lifcti111 r ...

Pa ri s. Ca lerie A11 Saerr du printemps.

198 '1
Pa ri s, Ca lcri c Aga t hr Gaill a rd.

Pa 1is. Ca lc1ie Aga th e Gaill a rd .

.\'c\\ York l ni vr rsit v. The Grc\' Ga ll r n .

\lew York . PM Call erv, 'A ndre Kertesz, a n Exhibiti on of
60 Ph otographs.'
Cl;i eago. T he Art Institut e of Chi cago.

:\c\\ York . Susa n I la rd er Call en .

Holliu s Co ll ege. Wint r r Pa rk (Fl orid a ). Co rn ell Fi11 r Arh
Cent er.
.\ r \\' York . Susa n I la rder Call ery.

Ne w York , Long Isla nd Uni ve rsitv.

To 1onto, Ca nadi nn Cc lllcr of Photogra ph,.

Pa ri s, Bibli oth equ e J\ a t iona le, ' Andre Kertesz,
Ph otogra phi es .. ,

.'\lorfolk . Th e ChrYslf'l' .\1u se um. ' A11dre Kert esz: \'laster of

Ph otograplw...

New York , Modern Age Studi o.

Co logne. \X'ildc Ca ln ir. "Andre Kr rt rsz. ,.i11 tage

a us dr r Zeit von 1925 bi s 193 0.'

Veni ce, IV Mostra Bi CIIII a le lnt ern az iona le della


Esztergo m, Vii nnC1 zc um.

Fot og ra ~ a.

Nrw Yo rk . Mu seum of Modern Art. 'A ndre Kertesz.
Ph otogra ph er.
Stockh olm , Modern a Mu scct.

F o t o g ra ~ c n

.\lil a11 . Padi glio nc d. Ane Co ntcmpo ra11 ea . 'La Poes ia dell a
Sc rn pli r itii ...
Li11 eo ln . Sheldo n .VI cmori a l Art
Forul .a ud Feelin g.''

Ca llrr~

-'A ndre Kert esz:

Bud apest. Magyar "\ r mzcti Caleri a.

Bud apest, Caleri c de \'i gad6.

r lelsinki , Va lokuva lllu scon.

Brad fo rd . .\a ti ona l .VIu se um of Photograph,, "Film a nd

Te levision ..,


Londo n, Ph otogra ph er's Ca ll erv.

.\ cw York . lla llm a rk Ca ll en.
.\ew York . Light Ca ll erv.

Chi r ago. Th e Art In stitute. 'Andre Kr rt rsz of Pa ris a nd
:\e" '''ork ... Also :\e\\' York . Th r IYictropolitan \1u sculn of
Art ( 1985 ): Pari s. Pa la is de Tokyo ( 1986 ) .
Sa 11t a Fe, 1-;: rnrsto Maya ns Gall crv. " Di a ry with Light.

Pa ri s. Ca lcri e Aga th e Gaill a rd.

Bu r uos Aires. .\1u sro .\ a ti ona l de Bell as Artes.

Ari es. VIr Rcncontres lnt ern a tiona lcs de Ia Photogra phi c
(J ul v).

Chi cago, Edwn 111 ll ouk Ca ll en . "Th e New Work,

1980- 108-t ...

\1iddl r tO\\'II. Co nn ec ti cul. Wesleya n L' ni vcrsity.

:\cw York. lnt en1 a ti oua l Center of' Ph otography. 'A 11dre
Kert esz: A Portrait a t 1\inetv' (1985 ). Al so Tokyo, Pri11 ten1ps Ginza (108.) ): Osa ka. Printcmps Osa ka (1985 ).

.\ r \\' York . Sr rvi crs C: ulturcls de I'Ambassade de Fra nce.


!'uri s. .\1u srr Nati o11 a l d''Art Mod crn c. Ceutrc Georges
l'o111pidou... A11drr Kn tl-sz ...
.\ (\\ York . Lig ht Ca ll r rY.
L1111lo11 . Snpe11ti11 r Ca ll r n .
ll h tOII. Cnllen of' l' hotog ra pll\.

L,o11 s. Fonda ti on 1\ati ona le de Ia Ph otogra phi c,
'Di storsion s.,.
Li11 z (Austri a ) . .\ eur Ga lcri r . 'Andre Kert esz. 70 Ph olograp hi cn 1912-1966.
-"~r w

York. Int enwt iona l Ce 11 tc r of Ph otograph,, ' A11dr&

Knt r sz: Di a n ' of Lig ht. 101 2-1985 .. ,

Pari s. \lu orr .J acquf'man-Andrc. A JI(lrr Knt csz.
Photo;rra ph c.

StJJtt ga rl. Interim Theater Pl a tz. ll a ll

F ilm und Foto ...

cl"l~ xpos iti o n.


B11daprst (llunga r,). Mu scc Ethnogra phiqu e. JJ ommag(' a

And rr K!' rt rsz . Al so Prag11r (Czrch H<'Jlllbli c) , II OJJ S!' of
Pltotograph v: a nd Kultura mt Fl'llba ch (Cc rmany ) (199-t).
Pa ri s. Pa lai s de Tokro. Anclrr K!'rtrsz. n1 a Fra nce . ExhibitiOJJ Jn Otlllt !'d b, ti1 c .Vli ss ion clu Pa trinwin c Photographiqu r (1990 j. ,\l so L\ons. I ~O JJd a ti o n \"at ional c de Ia
Ph otographir: .\icc . .\tlu scc ci"Art \1 odern c et d'A rt ContPmpora in (199 1). Charl eroi (BelgiJJIIl ). Ce ntre ci"Art Co nt emporai JJ: Barcelona (Spa in ). Pa lau de Ia Virrrina (1992 ).
IJjJJblja na (S love ni a ). Modcrn a Ca lerij a: Braga (Portuga l) .
.Vlu seo dos Bi scainhos; Va ndoe uvrrs- lcs- .\ a JIC\'. Centre Cullllrr l (199:3) . Prag ue (Czech Republic). II OJI SC of Photograplw: C:halon- sur-Sao ne, :vlusre :\icep hore- .\' iepce: Brest,
Ca lcric Lc Quartz (199-t).

M111ti ch., ' Da s Li chtbild.

13JJ<'IIOS Aires. Prim er Sa lon Ant1 a l de Fotografia.
Pari s. Ca lcrie C. L. \1anuel Frcrcs, ' XI'' Sa lon de l'Araignee. '"
Paris(?). l~ x hibition organi zed by thr a ma teur photographers assoc iati on.
Bal e. Cewrrlw mJJ Sf'um. Ccbra uchsge ra t in Frankreich ...
'\rw York . Th e Art Cent er. Fo 1cign Adverti sing
Photograp hY ...

19:3 1
Ba le. ,\ 'cue Sportbautcn.'
Pa ri s. Ca leri c d. Art Co ntempora i11.
l~ ss rn ,

' Da s Li chtbild 1931. "

199 1
Ne w York. ll ouk Fri edm a n. 'A11dre Kert esz. th e EarlY
Yra rs.

Toronto (Ca nada ) . .J a ne Co rkin Ca ll crr 'S tra nge r to Paris ...
Brisba ne (Au stra li a ). Qu ccnsla11d Art Ca ll en , A ndre
Kertesz, J~' o nn a nd Feeling ... S\"CIII c\ (Au stra li a). Art Ca ll ery
of i\ew So uth Wa les (1992). Auckland (.\ c,, Zea la nd ).
Au ckland City An Gall ery (1992).

London. T he Hoval Photograp hi c Soc ictv of Great Brita in.
Exhibition of J'vlod ern Ph otograp lw...
.' \cw York . Juli en
rap hv...

Lev ~

CaJJen '. ' :vt odcrn E uropean Ph otog-

.~ e w

York. Broo klyn \!JJJ Se um , ' IJII Crnation a l Photograph ers .. ,

Bru sse ls, Pa la is des Beaux -A rt s. Jnt crn a ti onalc de la Photograp hi c. '

1993 :
Mil a n, Ca leri e Photology. 'Andre Kert esz ...

Pari s, Studio Saint-Jacq ues.

Kecskcmet (1-Jungarv ), Mag ~'a r Fotografia i ML1zcum. 'Andre
Kert esz a nd llunga ry.' Also Stuuga rt. Cent er of Culture
a nd Information for the Hunga ri a n Republi c (1994) .
Bud apest, Institut fran c;a is de ll ongrie, ' Di storsions." Also
Ari es, Rcnco ntres lnternationa les de Ia Photographic.

Pari s, Caleri e de Ia Pl eiacle.

Pa ri s. Sall e de l'Associado n Florencc- Bium enthal.
London. T he Roval Photograp hi c Soc iety of Great Brita in ,
'-The :VIodern Spiri t in Photograp hy a nd Advertising.'

Santa \1 oni ca (California) , The .J. Paul Cclly Mu seum ,

"Andre Kert esz: A Centennial Tribute. "


Paris, Pav ili on des Arts, "Andre Kertesz, le Doubl e d ' une
Vi e," exhibition organized by th e Mi ss ion du Patrimoin e
Photograp hiqu e, 1994. Al so Tokvo, Metropo litan Mu seum
of Photogra ph y (1995).

Cannes, Pavillon des Escalcs Tran satl a nt iqu es .

Selected Group Exhibitions

Pari s, Calerie de Ia Pleiade, Doculll cnts de Ia vie Socia le.

Pari s, Mu see des Arts Deco ratifs, 'Exposition ln te rnation a le
de Ia Ph otograp hic Contemporai nc. ,.
Pari s. Calerie Leleu. 'La Photographic Vivante ...


Pari s. Co medi c des Champs-Eiysecs ("'Sa lon de I"Escalier" ),
" Premi er Salon lndependant de Ia Photographi c.'

:\lew York. \1useum of :vl odc rn Art. Photograp hy


York. Juli en Lcvv Gall ery. '" P ionee rs of Modern French

Ph otograp hy. '

Bru ssels, Ca leri e I'Epoque.

Am sterd am and Rotterdam , "Jntcrnati ona le Foto Salon


19-t 1
New York , Mu se um of Modern Art. [m age of Freedom ...

Essen. Folkwang Museum., ' Fotogra fi c cler Cegenwart. "''
from .J a nu arv 20 to February 24. CircJd a ted in 1929 a nd

193 1.

'\r w York. Hiversidc .VIu sc um . Thr Co nc r rn ed Ph otogra ph er... Al so TokYo. 'VI a tsu\ a (1968-1969).


Tokyo. Pavilion of the L;nited States, Expositi on Un i\'l'rsell e
elf' Tok,o.
Ch icago, Art Institute of Chicago. 'Photographs frorn tire
Juli en Levy Collcct iou ."
Ka ssr l. Documenta 6.
,VIoorhead (Minnesota ). Plain s Art Museum. Svmpathctic
l~ xplorat ions. Kertcsz/llarbutt.
London. llayward Gallcrv, ' :\ell<' Sach lichkeit and German
Hf'alisnr of titc Twent ies.".-

Paris. Uf!.icio dPII"Artc, ' Voyons voir: 8 photographcs, intcrvr cws.
Poitif'rs (France ). Muscc Sainte-Croix. La l\ouvelle Photographic en France." Also Aries (1986) a nd Carcassonne
( 1987 ).
London. Ro~a l Acadenw of Art s. L' Art de Ia Photographic:
Pari s. :VIusrr Nationa l d' Art Vlodernf'. Cent re Georges
Pompido11. 'LJnvent ion cl"11n Art.
Paris. Ce ntre \ /at ional de Ia Photographie. Palais de Tokyo.
lli stoire de Voir"' (1989-1990).

Pari s. I ta ll du Jo11rnal Le Jllo11de. .\1ontparnassc \ 'u par Ir s
Grands Photograpltes."
Tok~ o.

Printernps C in za. '.)"ainrc Ia France." Also Osaka.

:\agoya. I li ros ltirn a. Yamagata (Japan ). Seo ul (Korea ).
Bar-crlona (Spa in ). S~ clnn. Pntlr. Brislwnc (Aust ralia )

1 C)lJ2-1993
Hrrlin. Herlinischcn Galcrie. ,\'lusrtllll of ,\'lodern Art.
Sp n11r g in die Ze it. ..
.\ l cx ico CitY. Hufino Tamavo .\lu scum . .\1exico Through
For<'ig"" Al so .\l ollt~r<'l. a11d Los Ange les (199-t ).
ll ousto 11. Sewa ll Ga ll ery. Fou r .\'la strr Photographers:
Br-anl. Dois11cau. Er\\it.l., a11d Kntrsz."

List of

p. n
p. 2il
p. 29

*: Photog: ruph u11publi shed until now.

p. .30

#: .\ ega1i 1r lost befo re 198-t .

I' .'] ]

L' nl css ot hcr11ise i11di cmNI. 1i1e dim ensions of

d1 c ori ginnln egtui ve arc- gi\T il in em .

p. 7

p. 3
p. 9

p. 10
p. 11

p. 12
p. l .)

p 1-t

p. l o

p. 18
p. 19

p. :20

p. :2 1




p. 2-t
p. 2.~

p 26

Eli za bed1 ami I. Lagnn an1os.

llu11g:a rv. 1920.
-+ .5 x 6 glass plate.
Sleeping Boy. Budapes1. 1912. -+.5 x 6
glass pl a1r.
J\ le as a .friger. Ciirz, 191- (photo
taken 011 th e eve of rec,uillncllt ). -+ ..5 x
6 glass plate.*
Kalm an Kr ump and Ca lo Dieter. Two
\ro unded Com rades. lcszte rgmn. 1915.
-1.5 x 6 gla ss pl ate.
Hairc ut al dw Co nval escent llo111e.
Pad1>i ny. 1917. -.5 x 6 glass plate.*
Lajos :Vli lhali k witl1 a Ce ll o. Esztergom.
1916. -t. o x 6 glass pl ate.
Ddekes C/s6g, Ju ne 26. 1925 (cove1).
9 x 12 glass plate.
Me, Jeno. and Our .VIol her. Sz ige lbecse.
c. 1923. -t .o x 6 glass plm e.*
./eni5. Budapes t. 1917. -+ .5 x 6 glass
Eli zabeih and I. Buda pest. 192 1.
-1.5 x 6 glass plate.
Squ are Joli ve l. Paris. 1927.
6 x 9 glass pl ate.
Cafe du Denne. Pari s. 19:25 -+.5 x 6
glass piale.
Se lf- Port mit. Pari s. 1927.
9 x 12 glass pl ate.
Pari s, c. 1926. -1.5 x 6 glass plate.*
Two Girl s. Paris. 1926. 9 x 12 glass
pl ale*
Child. 19.33. 9 x 12 glass pl ate.
Brassai. Pa ri s. 19.36. 2- x 36 111111.*
~1 a uri ce T'aha rcl. 1928 . 9 x 12 glass
pl ate.
Dislorti o11 11 0. 10. 19.33.
9 x 12 glass plate.
Clod1 Doll s al Judi th Cri arcl's. Pa ri s.
19.3.3 . 9 x 12 glass pl ate.
Legs. lela Rubens1ein Balle1. 1928.
9 x 12 glass plate.
Seuphor. c. 19.30. 9 x 12 glass pl ate.*
\rooden l Jorses. Paris. 1929.
2-t X .36 111111 .
Paul Derm re . Prarn poli11i. a11d Seup hor.
Paris. 1927.9 x 12 gltbs pl ate.
Ca ll c1Y Au Sacre du print emps. Pari s.
1927. 9 x 12 glass plate.
Pict ~ lo11dri a11 . 1926. 9 x 12 glass plate.
Cell o S111 ck 192(>. 9 x 12 glass
plate (?)#
Eli za hr lh and a Fri end. ~l o ntm a rt re .
Pari s. 1'J:3 1. 2-t x :36 111111 *
Eleva ted Trai n Pl atfonn . th e Bo\\'e ry.
19:37. 2-t X ;)6 111111 .
\e" York . ]9:39. 2-t x :36 mm .
.\ r" York ll arbo r. 1 C);J<J. 9 x 1:2 film .

p. 3)

.VIc lancholi c Tu li11. .\ ew York . 1939.

9 x 12 film .
ll oming Ship . C:e111 ra l Park. 19-t-t.
6 X 6 fii111.

p. (>2

Amt'rican \ 'is('osr Co rp oraj ion,

p. (H

19-t2-J9-t.S. 9 X 12 fil111.
Long Island. c. 19-t.5. 6 x 6 film .
Broken Be11ch. \ e11 York . 1962.
2-1 X :36 linn
Joh11 Sza rk owski . \ew York. 1963.
2-t .\ :3(> mm .
\ras hi11g1o11 Scl' wre, 195-.
2-t X ;)6 Ill Il l.
0 1wn Air i\ la>s. Loni e. Ga li cia. 19 1.) .
-1 .5 X 6 fih11. *
Esztrrgorn . th r To\\n Ce uter. llu 1 I gar~
1'! 17 . -t ..~ x 6 glass pla1r.

p. ;: )7

p . .38

I' :)9

p. - 0
P -+1

p. -1 2


So ldier >n1d 111111. ll11nga ry. 19 l 7.

-t ..S x (, glass plate.
The S"'i11g. llu11ga rv. 19 17. -t .o x 6
glass pl ate.
\1 r 13rolhcr as Ica ru s, Dun aharaszt i.
ll;,nga rr. 1919. -1. 5 x 6 glass pl ate.
\epliget. J lu11g<11'1'. 191.3 . -t ..S x 6
gla ss pl ate.
,VI r .\1 oth ers I lands. Budapest.
Jlunga tY. 1919. 6 x 9 glass pl ale.
Eli zabet h, D11n aharasz1i . !Iunga n .
1920. 9 x 12 glass pl ate.*
~k Di,ing int o th e S"'irn111i11g Pool.
Budapest. 1917. -t ..S x 6 glass plale.*
\Vitl1 \'IY Ar1i s1 Friend s. llun gmY.
192:3. -t ..S x 6 glass pl ale.
Tri o. Rackrve. H11nga rv. 192:). -1 .5 x 6
glass pl ale.
Bocskav Pl ace. B11dapcsl. 19 1-1. 9 x 12
gla ss pl ale.
B o ~'s R ead i ~1g. Esztcrgo rn. H~ m ga r~'

p. 44
p. 47
p. 48

p. -+9

p. .) 0
p. .) 1

p. .):3
p . .S-t

p. .s.s
p. .)6



p. 60

1915. 4 ..5 x 6 glass pl ale(?).

B11d apes1, 1916. -+ .5 x 6 glass pitll r .*
D11n aharasz1i . l lunga 1Y. 1920. -t ..) x (>
glass plate.
Jeno in 1he Woods of \ epliget.
Bu dapest. 1913. -t ..) x 6 glass pl ate.*
Sz ige tbecse. llunga r\'. 19H .
9 x 12 glass pl ate.
Vill age .VIa do11na. Sz ige tbecsc.
llungarr. 1920 . -+ .5 x 6 glass plate.
Ci:i rz. .J an umY 1sl. 1 9 1 .~.
-t .;~ x 6 glass .p late.
Fo rced \'l arch to th r Front , Pola11 cl.
19 15. -! .5 x 6 glass plat e.
JV! on1ing Pra1T r i11 Front of Co logon .
Gali cia. 191o. -+.5 x 6 fi lm .
Te nder To ur l1. ll11ngan . 1915. -t ..S x 6
fi lm .
Eszlrrgo 111. J lu11gluY, 1916. -t .o x 6
glass pl ate(') .#
Ji5ska Frank l a11rl a You11g Girl.
Eszterg01 11 . ll1111gt11Y, 19 1.S. -t ..~ x 6
glass pl ale'
i\aegrr B11111. Brii.,.l a. 11umani a. 1'! 13.
+.5 x 6 glass pl a 1r .:\
Bmlapes l. 191-t . 9 x 12 gla pl ate.
.l eno Somm er. Budapesl. 1913. -+ ..5 , (>
glass pl alc.>.-


p. 66
p. 67

p. 68
p. 69
p. 70
p. 71
p. 72

P 7.3

p. 7-t
p. 75


p. 78
p. 79
p. 30
p. 81

p. 3-t
p. 8.5

p. 86

p. 37

p. 88
p. 89

p. 90
p. 91
p. t):2


Jeuo aurlll o11k a. Budapesl. 19 17.

-+ ..) x (l glass plalf' _:\

p. (> 1

Bu da pt'S I. 19 1.). -t ..) x 6 ~ la ss pl at<.

p. ') -+

.lr ni5 and Rozsi. llungaJY. c. 191.).

-1. 5 x 6 gla ss pl ate*
Tz iga nr. Eszt ergo m. llungarY. 1916.
-t ..~ x 6 glass plat e.
Youn g \01abl es. Batorkeszi. l-lu11garv.
1916. -t. o x 6 glass plate.
\'oungTz igane. Jlu11gmY 1918. -t ..S ' 6
glass pla te.
Gypsy Chil d ren. Esztergorn. llungary.
19 17. -1.5 x 6g:lass pl ate.
Friends. Esztc rg01 11 . Hunga ry. 1917.
-+ .5 x 6 glass pl alc.
Bathing. Dun aha ra szli . lluuga rY. 1919
-t ..5 x 6 glass pl ale.
L~ n dc rw mr r

Sw imm er. Esztergo m.

llunga n . 1917. -t ..S x 6 glass pl a1r.

Dun aharaszli . l lungan . 1919.9 x 12
glass pl ate.
\1 v Broth er a.s a "'Sc herzo. I htn gmY.
19 19. 9 x 12 glass plate.
Self-Portrait witl1 \h Br01 hcr. H11n garv.
1919. 4.5 x 6 glass plale.
.VIe. an1ong Fisherm en. Du1 wharasztj .
lluugmy 1920. -t ..) x 6 glass pl ate ,.

Ede Papszt and I. Fokoru , I Iunga rv.

192 1. 4.5 x 6 glass pl ate.*
Eli zabe th . l lunga rv, 192 1.
4.5 x 6 glass pl ate .*
Abonv, llunga rv. 192 1.
-+ .5 x 6 glass pl ate.
13uclafok. 1-iungarv. 1919.
-+ .5 x 6 glass plate.
Th e Old Acco rdi o11is1. Eszt ergo111.
Llu11 gaJT. 1916. -1 ..5 x 6 glass pl ate.
\Va nd crin Q Vi olini st. A bony. Hun ga ry.
192 1. -t ..S\ (, glass plal r ..
.. Az l:st... Budapest. 1920.
-1 .5 x 6 glass plale.
Loo ki11g al tlw Circus, Budapest. 1920.
-1 .5 x 6 gla ss pl ale
Hu e Sa ini -Denis. Pari s, 19.3 1- 19:3 -t.
2-t X .36 IIlii I.
ll ka and Eva Heva i. Pari s. 1927. 9 x 12
glass plate.
Ca re ~l o 111p ar n a sse , 19.3 1.2-t x .36 mm *
Se rgu6 ~1. Eise11s1ei11 . 1929.
9 x 12 glass plal e.
Lu cien \'oge l with llis Fa milv. 1926.
9 x 12 glass pl ate.*
~l a rce l Verl es. 1923. 9 x 12 glass
pl ale'
Flea Market. 193.5. 2-1 x 36 mm *
Touraine. 193 0. 6.5 x 9 glass pl ale.
Quai Vo ll airc. Pari s. 1928 . 9 x 12 glass
Th e Tuil eri es. Pari s. 19.36.
2-1 X 36 1111!1.
At the Ani11 wl Markel. Qu ai Sailll ~ li c h e l. Paris. ]():_! 7- 19:!8. 2-t x .36 11u11 .
Slorm ove r Pari s. 19:2.)- 19:2 (>. 9 ' I :2
glass plat r.
Art et ,1/edeci11e. Otwlwr ]9:l l .
Bois de B o ul o ~u c. 19:!9. 9 x 1:! gla"
pl ate
Chwnps-!C h sr ts. 1'!:29.
:2-t X ;j(> 111111 .
Pl ace du (:; u''"'" "- Pari.,. IIJ:! il- I<J :! <J.
9 x I:! g: la" pi al<'.

.3 61

p. 97

T he Se ine from the Po m Sa int-.\liehel.

1925. -t.5 x 6 glaso pl a te.
p. 98 Fi shermen behind :\o tre- Da mc. Pa ri s.
1925. 9 x 12 g lass p late.
p. 99 On th e Ba nk s. behind \ 01 re- Da me,
Paris. 1925-1926. 9 x 12 glass pl a tr .
p. 100 The Sein e fro m Lady Yi endl 's
Apa rtment. Pari s. 1929.
9 x 12 glass pl a te.

p. 101 Bro ken Cl ass. Pari s. 1929.

9 x 12 gla ss pl a te.
p. 102 S ta irs a t .\1ontmartre. Pa ri s.
1925- 1927. 9 x 12 glass p la te.
p. I 03 Qu a i ci"Orsa \'. Pa ris, 1926.
6 ..) x 9 gla ss pl a te.
p. 10-t Th e Tra mps Siesta See n fro m the
P o nt- a u-C hange. Pa ri s. 1927. 9 x 12
gla ss p la te.
p. 105 !\ca r the Pont de Crenelle, Pa tis. 1927.
6.5 x 9 glass plate.
p . 107 Th e Pont des Arts See n 1hro ng h 1he
C lock of the Jn stitut de Fran ce. Paris.
1929-1932. 6. 5 x 9 g lass pl a te.
p . 108 Shadow. The Eiffel To wer. Pa ri s. 1929.
9 x 12 glass pl a te.
p. 109 Paris, 1933 . 24 x 36 mrn .
p . 110 Pa ris. 1929. 24 x 36 nun .
p . 111 Ru e du Cotentin. Pa ris. 193 1. 6.5 x 9
g lass pl a te.
p. 11 2 Pa ri s. 193 1. 24 x 36 rnm .*
p . 11 3 Lvo ns, 1931. 6.5 x 9 g lass pl a te.
p. 11 5 .\1 o ntpa rn asse, P a ri s, 1928.
24 x 36 mm.
p. 116 Tra m, c. 1930. 6. 5 x 9 glass plate. *
p . 117 Untitled , C . 19.3 0. 24 X 36 lllm .


p . 11 8 A Winter Ylo rning at the Ca fe du

Do me. Pari s. 1928. 24 x 36 rnm .
p . 11 9 Istvan Ra jk in a Bi stro in Momm a rt re,
Paris. 193 1. 24 x 36 rnm .
p . 120 Cntitled. c. 1930. 24 x 36 mm .
p. 121 Pa ri s, 1935 . 2-t x 36 mm .*
p . 122 Pa ri s, c. 1930. 24 x .36 mm .*

p. 123
p. 124
p. 125
p. 126

P a ri s, c . 1930. 24 x 36 mm. *

p. 139 Hue des \'er111 , . Pa ri o. 192 6.

9 x 12 g la" plat r.
p. 1-tO P o mi es. 19:10. 9 x 12 g itb s plate.*
p. HI Ba bino. Pa rio. c. 19:10. 2-t x :)6 111111 .*
p . 1-+2 L' ntitled . e. 19:30. 2-t x :)6 111111. *
p . 1-+3 Bobino. l'ari s. JI);J:z . 2-t x :36 tnn1.
p. 1-t-t Magda Fo rst ner. 1926. 9 x 12 gla ss
~lagd n Fo ts tn r r and Etie nn e Beo thv.
1926.9 ' 1:2 g la ss plate .
S<li\Ti c Da nce r. 1926 (\'a riati o n).
9 x .12 glass pl a te.
p . 1-+3 Sat \Ti e Da nce r. 11)26. 9 x 12 g lass
pla te.
p . 1-+7 Lajos Tih a n\'i . Pmis. 1926. 6.5 "' 9
g lass plat e.
p . 1-t8 :\ormir Fr rr ncz1. Pa ri s. 1926. 8 ' I O."i
glass pl a te.
p. 1-+9 L' ntitled. c. 11)28. 9 x 12 glass pl ate.
p 150 Edwin Hoss ka n1 , Pa ri s. 1928. 9 x 12
glass plat e.
p. 151 Paul Anna's I la nds. 1923. 9 x 12 gla ss
plat e.
p. 1')2 .l ean Luryal. 1929. 9 x 12 glass plate.
p. 153 Helba 1-lua ra. 19:3 1. 1) " 12 g la ss
pl ate*
p. 155 C hez :\l o ndria n. Paris, 1926. 9 x 12
g lass pl a te.
p . 156 lntitlrd. Pa ris, 1928.9 x 12 glass pla te.
p . 1.)7 ~1i ss Jo hn so n. Pa ri s. 1927. 9 x 12 gla ss
pl a te.
p. 158 An Studio. c. 1923. -+.5 x 6 glass plate.
p. 159 ~1ad ant e E hrcnbo urg. Pa ris. c. l 929.
9 x 12 gla ss pl a te.
p. 161 Hot el des Ten asscs. Pa ris, c. 1926.
9 x 12 gla ss pl a te .
p. 162 Foujita, Paris, 1928.9 x 12 glass pla te.*
p. 163 Colette. Pa ris. 193 0. 9 x 12 glass pl a te.
p. 164 Qu arrier La tin. Pa ris, 1926. 9 x 12
glass pla te.
p. 165 C lavton Ba tes, 1928-1 929. 9 x 12 glass
p. 166 Untitled. 193-t. 24 x 36 mm .*

p . 128 S upporters of the French 'Fro nt

Pop ulaire ... Paris. 193-t . 24 x 36 mm .*

p. 167 The Ferenc Hoth Qu a rt et, Pa ri s. 1926.

13 x 18 glass pl a te .
p. 168 Elizabeth a nd I. 193 1. 9 x 12 gla ss
plate (full fra me) .
E lizabeth a nd I, 193 1.9 x 12 glass
p. 169 Elizabeth a nd I. 193 1. 9 x 12 glass
pla te.
p. 170 Paris. 193 1. 2-t x :36 mm .*

p . 121) Pa ri s. c. 1932. 24 x 36 mm .

p. 171 Ossip Zadkine. 1926. 9 x 12 glass

p . 131 Tlw Vert-C al am Carden in Winter.

Pa ri s. 1929. 24 x 36 tntn .

p. 172 Andre Lhotc. 1927-1928. 9 x 12 glass

Ern est, c. 1930. 9 x 12 glass pla te.

School Girl , c. 1933 . 9 x 12 glass plat e.
Lilv of the Valley Vendor, C ha mpsE h;sees. 1928.
2-t. x 36 nun.

p . 127 Care 'vl ontpa rnassc, Pa ri s, 193 1.

24 x 36 mm.

p . 132 Pare de Sceaux. Pa ri s. 1926.

9 x 12 glass pl a te.

n :J

Jardin du Luxembourg.
Paris. 1925. 9 x 12 gla ss plat e .

I' 1:3-t Wooden llorse. c. 1926.

9 x 12 glass plat e.*
I' I :):) l. r s Tuile ries. Pa ri s. 1928-193 0.
:Z-t X :36 nun .
I' J:F Behind the llote l de Vill e. Pa ris. 1925.
<) x 12 glaso plat e .
p . J:JS ,\ Bi, tro in tlw Qu a rti er La tin. 1927.
-t ..) x 6 glass pl a te.

p. 173 A Corn er in Fern a nd Leger's S tudio,
1927.9 x 12 glass pla te.

p. 17-t Ylo nclria n 's C lasses a nd Pipe, Pari s,

1926. 9 x 12 gla ss plat e.
p. 175 The Fo rk , Pari s. 1928. 9 x 12 glass
pl a te.

p. 177 Legs. 1928. 6..5 x I) g lass pl a te.

p. 178 Sa int -Cerm is-les-Ba ins. Savoie. 1929.
2-t X :36 111111 .
p . 179 Pierre :Viae Orla n. 1927. 9 x 12 glass
pl a te.

p. 180 On a rt iPr La tin . Pa ri >. 192'). 9 x I :2

gla!'l:-. plat r.

p. 18 1 C: ro" road >. Blois. 19:3 0. b ..) x 9 )!la ss

pJ ,ne.
fl. lfl 2 S lt adows. 19'3 1. (>. .) x 9 gla" pl a te.
p. Jfl:l ,\, rn~t r dr !'Opera . Pari >. 192').
:Z-t X ;J6 11n11 .

p. 18-t Pari s. c. I 'J:Z6. 6.5 x 9 gla " plat e.

p. 18.) Th r ll o rsr-Team . 1'J:25. 6.5 x 1) g la,s
plat e.

p. 186 Children Pl a1ing. c. 1930. 2-t x :)6 tntn .

p. 137 .\ leudo n. 1928. 2-t x :36 111111 .
I' 188 Bo nl rva rd cleo !twa lides. Pa ri s. 1926.
9 x 12 g laso pl a te.
p. l fl<') On 1he Tr rrace of a Ca fe . Pa ri s. 1928.
I) x 1:2 g lass plate.
p. 100 On 1hr Bo ulenmls. P ari s. 1926- 1929.
9 x 12 glass plat e.
p. 19 1 On the Bo uiela rds. Pa ri s, 193-t .
2-t X :}6 111111 .
p. 192 Shadow Paint er. 1926. 6."i x 9 glass
pl a te .

p. 19:) Bo ul eva rd d r Ia .VI a delein e. Pa ris. 1927.

9 x 12 glass pl a te.
p. 19-t Fa ubourg Sa int-Germa in . Paris. 19:36.
6 ..5 x 9 glass pl a te.
p. 1% L' nt itl cd. c. 1930. :2-t x 36 111111 .*
p. 193 Ca rl o Him . Di stortio n. 1929- 1930.
9 x 12 fi lm .*
Di sto rt ed Po rtra it. 1927. 9 x 12 glass
pl a te.
p. 200 Di sto rti o n no. 9 1, 1933 .9 x 12 glass
plat e.

p. 20 I C la ss. Di stortion. 19-t3. 9 x 12 r,Jm.

C lock, Di stortion , 1938 . 8 x 10.5 filn1.
" Catnel," c. 1939 (adverti sing stu (lv ).
9 , 12 r,Jm .*
p. 20.'3 Di sto rt ion no. 68. 1933. 9 x 12 glass
pl a te.

p. 204 Disto rti on no. 167. 1933.9 x 12 glass

pla te.
p. 205 Disto rti on no. 91. 19.33 (varia tion ).
9 x 12 g lass plate.

p. 206 Distortion no. 126. 1933 . 9 x 12 glass

pl a te.

p. 207 Disto rtio n no. 60. 1933. 9 x 12 glass

pl a tr.
p. 208 Di sto rt io n no. 140, 1933 . 9 x 12 g la ss
pl a te.
p. 209 Disto rtio n no. 80. 1933. 9 x 12 glass
pl ate.
p. 211 Disto rt ion no. -t6. 1933. 9 x 12 g lass
pl a te.
p. 212 Distortion no. 6. 193.3. 9 x 12 glass pl a te.

p. 213 Distorti on no. 6. 1933 (variatio n).

9 x 12 glass plate.
p. 2 14 Di sto rti on no. 93. 1933 . 9 x 12 glass
pl a te.
Di sto rti on no. 7. 1933 . 9 x 12 g la ss
p. 21.5 Di sto rt io n no. 102. 193'3. 9 x 12
glass plat e.
p . 216 Di sto rt io n no. -+9. 19:33. 9 x 12
glass pl a te .
p. 217 Di sto rtio n no. 147. 1933. 9 x 12
g lass pl a te.
p . 218 Di sto rtio n no. 96, 1933 . 9 x 12
g lass pl a te.

p. :tJ!) Di, IOrl ion no. -tO. 19.33. 9 x 12

~ l ass pla te.

p. 220 Di01o ni on no. J-t J.. 19.3.3. 9


glas!i pl ate.

p. 22 1 Di 01o ni on no. 6 1. 19.'rl. 9x 12

gla ss pl alr.
I' :222 Dislorli on no. 82. 1933. 9 X 12
glass pla te.
p. 22:3 Dislorli on no. 76. 1933. 9 X 12
glass platr.
p. :226 \rw York. JQ56. 2-t X 36 llllll .
Fa nC\' Dress. \cw York , 1938.
:2-t X :)6 n1n1.
led \X'o mnn. \cw York . 19.36.
p. :228
:2-t X :36 nnn .
p. 229 Disa ppea ring Act. \ew York. 1955.
() x 6 film (1).'
An nonk. \cw York. 19-t 1. 6 x 6 filn1.
p. 2:30 New York . 1937. 24 X 36 nnn .*
Was hing10 n Squ are, 1952. 6 x 6 film .
p. :2:3 1 \ rw York . 1937 . 2-t x 36 mrn .
p. 2:32 Se lf- Por1rai1. Sew York. 196 1.
2-t X :36 n1n1.
p. :2;3:3 .\ ew York. 19-t-t . 6 x 6 fi lm .
p. :2:35 Crippled Woman. \ ew York. 1936.
2-t X :36 mm.
p. :2:36 .\rw York . 1937. 2-t x 36 mm.
p. :237 Ba llc1. \ew York. 1938. 9 x 12 mm.
p. 2:38 \l inw Combev. New York . 19-tO.
9 x (2 film .
p. 2:39 Los1 Clo ud. New York. 1937.
2-t X :36 111m .
p. 2-t O Cr nlral Pa rk . 1937. 24 x 36 mm .*
p. 2-tl La ke Pl acid. 1954. 24 x 36 rnm *
p. 2-t 2 Armonk. Sew York. 1941.6 x 6 fi lrn .
p. 2-t:3 Theodo re Fri ed. S ew York, 196 1.
2-t X :36 mm.
p. 2-t5 Poughkeepsie. Sew York. 1937.
2-t X :J6 mm.
p. 2-t6 \ew York. 19.38. 2-t X 36 \ll\n .*
p. 2-t7 \ew York. 19.38. 2-t x 36 mm .
p. 2-t8 Ann and \'entil ator. New Yo rk . 19.37
(full fra me). 2-t x :3b rnm .
p. 2-t9 Ann and \'cn til ator. \ ew York . 1937.
2-t X 36 nnn .
p. 250 New York . 1939 . 2-t x 36 nnn .
p. 25 1 Children in P! a,ground wilh Sprin kler.
\ew York . 1939. 2-t X 36 !Tinl.
p. 2.)2 \ '. Dn ,-. \ew York . 19-t5. 6 x 6 fil m.*
p. 2.):3 \ew York. 19-t 7. 6 x 6 film *
p. 2.)-t \ew Yo rk . 1952. 6 x 6 film *
p. 2.).) Fire Escape. \cw York. 19-t9.
2-t X :36 n111 1.
p. :2.)6 .\ ew York. 19-t 6. 6 x 6 film .
p. 2:)7 Stai rs. Hailing. ShadmYS. and Woman.
\rw York. 1951. 2-t x 36 mm .
p. 2:>8 .\e" York . 1951. 2-t x 36 nun .
p. 2:)9 Ove rii cn d Crosswa lk with Cloc k. \ cw
York . 19-t7. 6 x 6 film .


:26 1

p. 265
p. 266
p. 267
p. 268
p. 269
p. 270
p. 27 1
p. 27-t

p. 275

p. 276
p. 277

Se\Y York . c. 1960. :2-t x .'36 nnn *

Detroit. 19.57. 2-t x :36 mn 1.
.\ew York .. 19-t:>. 9 x 12 fih n*
Washingto n Square. 195-t. 2-t ' 36 m1n .
The Sofa. Willi amsburg. Virgini a.
195 1. 9 x 12 film .
Co rridor, .\'cw York . 1917. 6 x 6 film .
.\e" York . 1959. 2-t x 36 1111n .*
La nding Pigeon. ,'\cw Yo rk , 1960.
2-t X 36 mm.
.\e''" York. 196 1. 2-t x 36 111 111*
Park Aw nue. .\ew York. 1959.
2-t X 36 llllll .
.\ ew York. 195-t. 2-t x :36 mm *
\ew York. 19-t7. 2-t x :36 11 11 11 (?).'
The Fcncl ing of Ken cszs Fre11ch a11d
llunga ri an Archi ves. Dece mber -1.
1963. 2-t X 36 llllll .
Self-Portra it wili1 Mv Ylas ks. l\cw
York. 197(J . 24 x :36. Inlll.
New Yo rk. c. 1')78. 2-t , :36 n11n *
New Yo rk. 1975. 2-t x 36 111111.
Circus. .\ew York, 1969. 24 x :36 111n1.
\Vas l1ington Sq uare. 197 1. 2-t x 36

p. 278 .\ cw York . April H . 1977 (coni act

sheet). 2-t x 36 1nm.
p. 279 .\'ew Yo rk . c. 196.3. 2-t x 36 nnn .
Paris. 1983. 2-t x :36 111111.
p. 280 Scul pture, Japan. 1968. 24 x 3() mm .
p. 28 1 Pari s. 198-t. 2-t x 36 111111 .
Pari s. 198-t. 2-t x 36 IIlli I.
p. 283 The E mpire Sta te Building. 1967.
24 X 36 nnn .
p. 28-t On the Hoa d. ncar Bndapcsl. 198-t .
24 X 36 mm .
p. 287 .. Bu Y... Long Island. c. 1963.
2-t X 36 m iT\.
p. 288 .\ew York. c. 1963. 2-t x :36 n1111 .*
p. 289 \rater Tower. New York . c. 196.'3.
2-t X 36 nn11.
p. 290 .\ew York. c. 196:3. 2-t x :36 111111 *
p. 29 1 T homas Jefferson. L' ti ca, \cw York.
C. 1963. 24 X :36 \IIIli .
p. 292 New York . c. 1963. 2-t x 36 111 n1.
p. 293 Le Pont des Art s. Pari s, 196.'3.
2-t X 36 llllll .
p. 29-t Th e Banks after lb in . Pari s. 1963.
2-t X 36 111111 .
p. 295 T he Banks. Paris. 1963. 24 x :36 111111.
p. 296 Th e Tuileries in A111111111 1. Pa ri s. .1 963.
2-t X .36 111m .
p. 297 An Afternoo n a1 li1e T11 ilcries. Paris.
1963. 2-t X 36 mm.
p. 299 .\ew York. 196-t . 2-t x :36 1111 11.
p. 300 .\e" York . 196.'3. 2-t x :36 n11 n.
p. :30 1 :vl acDouga l All ey. .\cw York. 1965 .
2-t X 36 mill .
p. :302 Sheridan ScJlwrr, 1966. 2-t x .'3(J nnn.

p. 303 Washington Sq uare. 1966.

2-t x 36 mm (?) .'
p. 30-t .\ew York . 1966. 24 x 36 mm.*
p. 305 .\cw York. 1966. 2-t x 36 111111 (?).'
p. 307 .\rw York , 1965. 2-t x 36 mm *
p. 308 .Vl ausoleum Meiji . Tokyo, 1968.
24 X :36 lllm .
p. 309 Hain y Day. To kyo, 1968. 24 x 36 mm .
p. 3 10 llowa rr!Beach. New York . 1969.
24 X 36 ll\111.
p. 311 Sixlh Ave nue . .\ew Yo rk, 1973.
24 x :36 mm .
p. 3 12 .\ew York. 1965. 24 x 36 mm *
p. 31.3 S1rce1 Singer. .\cw York, 1969.
2-t x 36 mrn.
p. :31-t ~ew York. 1969. 24 x 36 mm .
p . .'315 New York. 1969. 24 x 36 mm .
p. 316 Win1 er Carden, .\'ew York. 1970.
2-t X :36 mm (?).'
p. 317 New York . 1965. 24 x 36 mm .
p. 3 18 Washi11 g10 n Squ are. 1970.
2-t X 36 111111 (?).'
p. 319 WashingtOn Squa re. 1969.
2-t X .'36 n1111.
p. 320 \l ar1 iniqn e. 1972 (variation).
2-t X :36 n1111 .
p. 32 1 The Balcony. \1 artin iqu e. Janu arv 1,
1972. 2-t X :36 111 \ll.
p. 322 Flowers for Eli zabeth. .\cw York . 1976.
2-t X :36 mm .
p. 323 .\cw Yo rk , 1972. 2-t x 36 mm.
p. 324 World Trade Towe rs. New York. 1975.
2-t X 36 n1111 .
p. 325 In the S1reet, :\ew York . 1977.
2-t ' 36 ll\111 .
p 327 Paris. 1983. 24 x 36 mm .
p. 328 Fl oods. Pari s. 1982. 2-t x 36 mm .
p. 329 Paris. 1982. 2-t x 36 mm.
p. 330 Paris. 198 1. 2-t x :36 111111 .
p. 331 Paris. 198-t . 2-t x 36 mm .
p. 3.32 Paris. 1984. 2-t x 36 mm.
p. 333 Pari s. 198-t . 2-t x 36 mm.
p. 337 c. 1935. 2-t x 36 mm. Kodac hrome*
p. 338 c. 1960. 2-t x :36 mn1. Kodac hrome*
p. 339 c. 1965. 2-t x 36 mm . Kodac hrome*
p. 3-tO c. 1960. :2-t ' :36 111111. Kodac hrome*
p. :3-t 1 196:3. 2-t x :36 n11n . Kodac hr01n e*
p. 3-t2 1963. 2-t x 36 n1n1. Kodac hrome.*
p. 3-t3 c. 196S. 2-t x :36 mm . Kodachro me.*
p. 3-t-t !963. 2-t x :36 111 \ll . Kodac hrome.*
p..3-t5 1970. :2-t x :36 n1111. Ek1achrome*
p. 3-t7 195(). 2-t x :36 111111 . Kodachrome*
p. 3-t8 198-t. 2-t x :36 111111 . Kodachrome*
p. 3-t9 196:3. 2-t x :36 11111 1. Kodac hrome*
p. :350 198-t . 2-t x :l(J 111111. Kodac hrome.*
p. :35 1 c. 1982. :2-t x :)(, 11 !1 11 . [ kw r hroiiil'.
p ..35:2 198 1. :2-t x :3(J 111111 . Kodachm111 r.*




Be11jallli11. \X'ahrr. 13
Beoth,. lstv;i" ( l ~ 1ie1111e ). H. -+ 2. -+3. 8.3.

(Pag<' 11111nbers i11 italic rPfn to illllslra tioll s.)

Berg. C umor. -tO

Besnyo. l~ va. -t::)
Bihliotllt''l"" :\a1io11ail' (Pa1is ). :3 1. 27-t.

Aha-1\ovak . Vilnws. -t I. -t 2
Abbott. Berenice. 12. 16. 25. 3-t, 36.
229. 2:)0
Adam s. An sel. 2.')0
Ack Endre. 10. 12. 21. -+3
Agloa , \l ehemed F. 26. 23
Aigner. Lucien , 12. -t::3
Alhi11 -C11i ll ot. Laure. H . 13
Allll asv. Paul. 12
Alva rez Bravo. ,\tlanucl. 20. 223
A111ericmw. 279. 230
Auwricr111s, The. :32
A11dn\ Hogi (Hosza Kki11 ). 15 .. 16. 2:3. -t:).
3-t. :)'i-t
Audri> dw1s les iilles, 23 1
;ludri> 1\erti>s~ (Apc nure l11 c. ). 279
Audre l:ert es~ (lwa nallli Slo ote 11 ). 232
Audre f.:ert es~: uw Frauce. 232
.. A,drr KPnrsz of Pa ri > a11d i\cw York ..
(Chi cago. 193:) ). 2?9. 232. :3.).)
A11gc lo (Pal Funk )..')9
A111wles. Les. 13. 35-t
Arago n. l>ou is. 13. 15
Archipcnk o. Alek sanclr P.. 3:)
An11a . Paul. 1-t. -+3. 15 1
Arp . .l ea 11 , 12. 199
Art aud 'lhl111ique a./Color Plwtop:rapln;
The, 23:3
;lrt et !11edeciue. 17. 18. 91. :3:)-t
Art/omm. 2?.5
Art l11 stiiLIIe of Ch icago. :30. 279. :3.):)
Arts et 111PtiPrS [!;r<lfJhiques. I?. 13. 199
As10r. Brooke. 30
Ag<t. E11gi- ne. 13. H . 15. 16. 17. 28. 90.
Atl :.111t a Callt>n of Pl1otogra pll\. 230
A"f!"-'tin, J. J.. 29
Au Sa<W d11 pri11t P111ps (P:11is). 20. 1 I . -t:).
36. 89. % -+
Avrdon. Hi charcl. 28. 27.)
Baco11. Fra11cis. 18. 199
Balla. Giacomo. 199
Balogh. Huclolf'. .33
Bara11n. ,\im c-Paul. 13. 198. / 99
B'"'~'"" .lena. -+2
B:111~s . .\l a 11ri cP. 19
B:lrso,,. Is,,.,;,. -t O
Barillf'S. Hola11d. 2?7
13art6k. Brla. 10
Ball's. Cla v10 11. 165
B:"cr. llrri JI'n. 17
BBC: Tehi-.ioll. 23 1
13<:11111'. ,\1 11a lwm . 2'9
lka iOII . C:!T il. 26
lk lfo 111 l. 2il l
ll!- 111111'1'. ll :ll h. 8-t. 3il. 2 7 (1



Bljiu; 13
13ihari . -t I
Bing. ll ,c. I 6
Birds. 2?9 .. 280
Biro. Lajos. -tO
Bischof. \X'<'rlll'r. 279
Bla1t11cr. Crza. -+ 2
Blu"w"fc.ld. l ~ rwi11 . 26. 2X:3
Boccio11i. Lh11her1o. 199
Bodcli11gl011. Je11 111'. 273
Bodnii1. .l ii11os, 26
Boiffard . .Jacq, cs-A 11drr. 37
Bolo11i. Cyii rf!" 2 1. -t:3
Bomss. Sii nd or. :39
Borss~e111 Jauk6 . .'33, 3:)-t
Boucher.. Pierre. 3-t
Bourke- \~ ' hi1 c . .VIwf!;llet. 2:)
Bmi, . :\larcel. 1.)
Bralldt. Bill. I 0. 20
Brassal (Cnda ll a l:lsz). 12. 1 ::;. 15. 16. 13.
3 1. -t3. 3-t. 35. 8?. 9 1.227. 3:)-t
Braun. \ 'era. -t2
Bresso11 , Hobert. 275
Breto11 .. A11drr. t:l. 2-t. 30-87. 83. 90
Brodmi11h. All'x<')'- 12. 26. 29, :226. 227.
2:30. 23:). ;J.').)
Br{Hk. Sii 11dor. -t O
Bu rroll's. La~.,.~- I 0
BuiLL _\'arg re. 57"'
Ca ld er. Alexa11dcr. H . 199. ::).)-+
Ca 1111'ra. l 6. :) 1
Camr ron. Julia i\ largarrL 2? .~

C:apa. C:o l'll l' ll. 279

C:apa. Hobert. I0. 12. -+:3. 8-t. 270
CaJTO. Fra11cis. I:>. 13. :35-t
Cart icr-Bres.,.lll. lle11ri . I0. 16. 17, 8-t. 90.
223. 27.). 2S:l. 23-t
C'atMdm/es du l'iu. les (The C'at/,edmls o/
1/iue) . :21
Ce11tr1' Georges Po11q>idou (Paris ), 279.

Ccza n11 e. Paul. -t I

Chaga ll. .\ l an. 2-t . :3.)-t
Cha ne!. Coco. 20
Chap lin . Charl ie. 2:3
C:hri,l ies [a" (:\c11 \'o1k ). 230
Ciba ci ii'O III ('. 23:3
Cocl!'ciiL .l ca 11 . 18
Cole11e. Sid o11i e-C:a hri ell l'. 13. 16.'3. :3:)-t
Co lo111h. Dc11i sr. 16
('olor (.\e11 York. 193-t ). 21n-8-t
('o111plete fJfwtU[!,HifJI!e~: The, 23
"Co nccmcd Photograplll'r. Tlw .. (:\ell'
\ ~ rk . 1908 ). 27~ 230
Coo per. Tl1o111a-.. 2il l
.lane Co rkill Ca ll f'l'l' (Toro111 0). 230
Comuet. 2.). 27. 28. :).)~,

C: rra 1i,. 23 1
C: ro11e r. Ted. 227. 228. 220
Cs:lk1. .l ooepli. 1-t. -t2. 8.)
C:uhiolll. 3(). ilH
CZ11 111pr. IIIII'('. -t I
Dada. 12
/Jodo (Brfl<k). -tO
/Jo111e. /Jie. I R. :).)-+
Davidso11 .. Brlll'l'. 27. 2S::l
/Jay o.l fJaris, 29. :30. 11-:, :3.').)
de C: l1irico. C:io rgio. 12
Dcr111re. Pa11l. 2 1. 1 I. :28. 89. :3.)-t
Dc,.,ida. Jacque, . 200
/Jiologue ll'ith P/l()tograph,L: 2il l
Diener-Drill's. H11dolf. -+2
Dieter. Calo. 9
/Jistortious. 9. I S. 13- 19. :23. 2-t. -+3. 3?.
19?-20 I. 19S-:.!:!3, :279. :230. 23 1.
:21):). :).)-+
/Jf.s::itomii,,es~et (/Jecomtil'e Arts) , -t I
'Dix. I"<'S.. (til < gro 11p of te11 ). il6
DoesiH11g. TIHo , .,, ~, 8.5
DoiSII ('a ll . nolll'l'l. 16. 2-t. 3-t
Do111ela. C:rsar. 8-t-8.3
lrr11 e Drori Craph ies (Lo, Angeles) .
Drt ik ol. Frw n isek. 276
Ducl1a111p . .\hun l. -+2. 8-t
D11cos d11 ll a11 ron.. Louis. 100
Ducrot. ;\ icola s. :31 . 280
Du111as. :\'ora, 10. 3-t. 35-t
l~ lm 11b 0 11rg.

i\1ada111r. /59
.. l ~ i g ht .. group. -t I. 3.3
l ~ i s e ll , lelcdt. Alfred. 28
l ~ i s e n oll'ill. Sl'rgri \1. . S6. 3S-t
l~ i , 11 cr. .\l a ri e-.l eanne. :28
l ~ l11 a rd . Paul. 2-t. 233
1:1(/auts (Chi/dreo). 15. 21. 35-t
Err/ekes ljS<ip:. 12. 33 . .':)5 -t
l ~ rn;,t. \l ax. 12. 2-t
l ~s c h cr. Kii ro h, :33
l ~ l'all s . \X'a lk n. 2.). 23. 30. ::):2. 2::Jo. :23::)
"l'a 111ih of ,\huL Tlw .. (.\lell' York. 1955 ).
Fmgw. IJcJII-Pa ul. 2-t
Fal'lll Secu rit ,. Ad111ini stration. :227
Faro\'a. A n11 a. 27?

Fat11e. [lie. 20
Fa111er. Lo11i". :~ 1 . 2:27. 228. 229. 23:3
Fcl1rr. l ~ lll c l ic. 12. -t3. 8-t
Fei11i11ger. A11drea s. 28. 283
Feb. Flore111. 13
FI'('('III'Z~ ' i\()(~ llli . -+2. /4S
Fil111 tllld Pl1 o1o l"eag ue. 227
"l'i l111 u11d Fo10 .. (S1c1111 ga rt. 1929 ). 1?. 2 1.
311. :3:>-t
Fiol e1 (A111 stcrdam ). 280
Fi,.l1er. Ag11rta , 20
"Foreig11 ,\,kel'li,illg Ph olOf! lap lll.. (\ell'
Yod,. 19:30 ). 2 1
Fiir, lllcr. ~ l awla. 1-t. -+2. /44
Fortuue. 23

Fotogmfie der Cegenwar( (Essen. 1920).

21. 86
Foujita. 86. 90. 16:2
Fm11ce <I table, La. 18
Frank. Hobert. :32, 27.'5. 28.)
Frank. Tamiis. 28
Fnrrrkl. .lr!ska . .?6
Freed. Leorrard. 27')
Frcelcrrrn Plrotognrplrers Crrild. 281
Fried. Tivadar (Theodore ). 85. 2-13
FrizoL. .\1 iclrel. 10
Fro111 Jlltllilldou , 266. :276. 281. :3.:)5
f.G-t .. grorrp. 29
Fvler. Wolfgang. 29

Gaillard . Agathc 280. 281

Carai. Alexandre .. 2-t
Ccirdonyi. Ccza. -tO
Cartenlaube. /Jie :36
Ccniaux. Pmrl. 90
George. \Valdemar. 18
J. Paul Ceuv Mu scunr. 280
Gibson. Halph . 16. 27
Cicle. Andr-6. 28.)
Gilman Paper Conrpanr, 280
Gingrich. Arnold. 27, 28
ClauJow: 198
Cocrtz 'Tf'ttax carncra, 8

Goldfinger. Erno, -+2

Conri>P\'. Mirnv. :288
Crwnfi~ld. Lo.i s. 10
Crossman. Sid , 227. 230. 28.)
Grove Press. :32
Crundlwrg. Andv. 28-t
Cucgan. Bertrand. 199
Cuys.fimn P1il Street, ThP, -tO--t 1

/lu11p;aria11 illelllories, 10. 11. -+-+. :2S:2. 353

lln sscrl. Edmrrnd. 89-90
1/us::,adik S::a::,ad (T!N'IItieth reutlll) ), 11
ICA canrcra , 8-9
.. In rage of Frwdonr (:\lew York. 19-t I).

:30. 35.5
lll{illit) ; 279
Cllltrausigeallt, 19
lwanami Shoten , 282
lzis. 12. 1G

.laboune (Jean Nohain ). 15, 21. :3.5-t

.laguer. Edouard. 88
J'ai111 e Paris, 279. 280
Jancs6. ,\1ikl6s. 27-t
.lasclrik. Alnros. -+ 1
Jefferson. Thomas. 291
.Tclfy. Crula, 38
John son , Lady Bird. 279
.Johnson. Lyndon 13 . 279
.Johnson , Mi ss. 90, !57
.Iones, Bet tina. 19
.l6zsef. Auila. -+3
Karger. Ceorgc., 27
Karimhy. Frigyes. -tO
Karolvi. Madarne, -t'l
Ka sin e. i\'adia. 18. 198
Ka ssuk. Lajos, 10. -t1
Kern stock , Karolv. -t1
Krrn stock Studio, 39
Kertesz. Elizabeth (Salamon or S al)~)
(wife ). 7, 9. 10. II , 12, 15. 16. 20, 2.3.
2-t. :2-J, 25. 28. 31. 32. -10. 41. 7-J, 9.3 ,
168,169, 27-t. 276, 278, 279.281-

282.283. 28-t. 354, 35.5

Lartigrre, .lacqrws-IIenri. 13. 1.5. 31. 274

Langlrlin. Clarence .lohn. 229
Laure11cin , :VIarie. 18
Lauren s. llenri. 199
l ~ rge r. Frrnand , 20. 22. 2-t. 85. 86. 88.
173. :3.)-t

Le GraY. Gu stave. 275

Leica camera , 14. 89. 9.5. 276. 3.54
Leiter.. Saul. 229
Lemagrw. .lean-Claude. 19. 20, 88. 277
Lesznai. Anna. -+2, 85
Levinstein. Leon. 227, 229. 283
Levi -Strauss. Claude, 2-t
Levitt. Helen. 227-230. 283
Levv. Julien. 21. 30, 227.228
Llrot e. Andre. 1-t, 86. 88. 172
Lilwrrnan. Alexander, 18. 29, 31. 226.

2:)1. 283
'Lichtbilcl. Das .. (Munich., 1930). 21
L1{e, 2.5-27. -+3. 226, 277
Lifson. Ben. 281
Lil!ht Callery (New York ). 280
Linlrof chamber. 18, 199
Livingston. Jane. 283
Loeb. Pierre. 12
Look, 2.5. 27, 355
Looking at Photographs, 276-77
Loos. Adolf. 20
Loranl. Stefan. 18. 2.5, 43
Simon Lowin sky Callery (San Frarrcisco ).

Luce, 1-fenrv., 25. 226
Ludclington family. 25
Lur<;at. Jean , 1-t. 86, 152, 354
Lvaute\~, Marshal. 19, 3.5-t
L~~nes ..George Platt, 28

KPrtesz, Ernesztin (mother ). 8. 10. 11, 12.

llalsman. Philippe. 12
llal stecl Callerr (Birmingham ). 280
llarnp. Pi erre, 21
[ larbutt , Charles. 283
I larder, Sn san. 280. 28.3-84, 355
llatp er :s /Ja::aw; 26. 28. 226, 3.5.5
llatvany. Lajos. 40
Hau smann , Raoul , 200
C. Ha)' llawkin s Callen ( Los Angeles) .

llearst, William Handolplr , 25, 226
llenri , Florence, 12. 17, 85
ll erczeg, Ferenc. -tO
Hill , David Octaviu s, 28
llill , Paul. 281
1-line, Lewi s, 28, 283
lloffmann, Lip6t (uncle ), 8. 12
lli:ilderlin , Friedrich , 12
lloll ender, Alex , 281
l-lont, Fcrcn c, -+3
llorst. Horst P.. 12, 20, 26, 276, 283
llortlr y, Miklos. 12
llouk. Edwynn. 280
llollse and Carden , 28-32. 29, 229-231.

llou seman. William , 279
l-loyningen-Hucne, George. 12, 17, 20
1-Iuara, Hclba, 153

1.5. 23, 39, 3.54

Kertesz, lrnre (brother). 8. 10. 12, 21 , 39
Kertesz, Jeno (brother ). 8. 9, 10. 11. 12,
21. 31 , 88, .39. 4S
Kertesz, Lip6t (father). 8, 35-t
Keystone, 23 .. 2-t. 26, 35.5
Kl ~e. Paul. 12
Kl eirr , R6sza. See Andre, Rogi
Kl ein , William. 229
Klopfer, R6zsi. 39
Knight. John Adam. 28
Koch. Edward. 279
Kodachrome. 283 , 337-352
Kollar. Fran<;oi s, 12. 17, 18, 29. 8-t, 354
Kolos- Viiry, Zsigmond, 14, 42
Korda , Alexander, 43
Korda. Vincent, 43
K6s, Kiirolv, 41
Koudelka . .Josef, 17
Kovacs, Margit. 8.5
Kramer. llilton , 10, 44
Krull. Germaine, 12, 16. 17, 18. 84. 86,

90.91 , 354
Krump , Kalman, 9
Kun , Bela. -+ 1
Landau. Erg)', 12. 16. 17, 43. 84
Landscapes. 279, 280

!Vfa (TodaJ ) . 11
.. MA ,. group , 85
.\1cCullin , Don , 10
\tac Orlan. Pierre, 18. 21. 91 , .179, 3.54
:VIaeterlinck, Maurice. 18, 40. 354
\'lagnurn. 280
Maiakovski , Vladimir V.. 20
Mainbocher. 30
Mal colm. Jan et. 277
Manu el brothers. 13
Mapplethorpe, Hobert. 277
Marai. Sandor, 43
Marville. Charles, 13. 16
Ma sclet. Daniel. 13
Masson , Andre. 12
Matin, Le, 12
Mati sse. Henri. 14., 20. 282
Mati sse, Pi erre. 24
Matta. 2-t
Mauroi s. Andre. 18
Merk el. Anne-Marie. 93
Metropolitan Mu seum of Art (i\'ew York ).,

279. 280. 355

.\1ikl6s. ]utka. -+3
,.\1ilha lik. Lajos. 10
Mili. Cjon. 283
Miller, Lee. 20. 228
..\1iller, Wick. 26


Minica 111 Photograph) ; 28

Miro. Ju an. 12
Model. Liselle. 12, 43. 227 . 228, 23 0,
:\1odern Age Stud io (i\ew Yo rk ). 31
.. Mode rn Eu ropea n Photography'- (New
York. 1932) , 21. 354
Moholy-Nagy. Lasz lo. 12. 17, 27, 40, 41 ,
43. 44. 85, 88. 200.226-227.276
Molnar, Ferenc. -t O
Monde, Le, 274
Mondrian. Piet. 14, 20-2 1, 22. 22, 30. 43,
85. 86. 1 7~. 275.284.354
Moore, ll enrv. 19. 87, 199
Moreau , Gustave, 14
Mostra Bicnnale lnt crnaz ion a lr della
Fo tog rafia (Ve ni ce. 1963). 30, 355
MLillncr. Ja nos. 38
Jl !iillcftener !llllstrierte PressP, 18, 43. 35 -t
Munkacsi, Mart in . 17. 26, 28. 43. 85, 227
Musee d'Art Moderne de Ia Vi ll e de Pari s.
Mu see des Arts Dccoratifs (Pa ris). 21
Mu scc Folkwang ci' Esscn. 86
Mu sec Natio na l d'Art Modern c (Paris ).
Muse um of Modern An (MoMA ) (New
York ). 24. 30, 31, 226. 230 280. 3.55


Nachtwcv. James. 10
Nada r (Caspard-Fclix Tournachon ), 13. 14
Naef, Wes ton. 32 , 282
Nagy. lmre, 41
:\fast. Co nd e, 2.5. 28. 29, 30. 31 ..32, 226,
Nationa l Ca ller ~ of Victoria (Me lbourn e).
Nemes. Yladamc..39
Neuesle 11/ustrierte, 18. 354
New Bauhaus American Sc hoo l of Design
(C iti cago). 27, 43 . 227
Newhal l. Beaumont. 24. 226. 230. 276
Newha ll. Nancy. 226
New Vork Post, 28
New York Schoo l. 228, 229, 230, 283
Ne111 Vork Ti111es, 284
:\e,. Hos ie. -+3
,\ 'ietzsc hc. Friedri ch. 22
Noa ill cs. Comtessc de, 18
i\'ojima . Ya sz uo. 276
Nos A111ies les betes (Our Friends the
Aui111als), 21
0.'ouvellc Objectivit c. 91
:\ouvcllc Photographic. 91
:\oll\cll e Vision. 17, 88. 90
.\ 'ovo tn\. Emi l. -+ 1
Ayuga/ (West), 11

O(Xe/1' !rHk. 279. 280

Ois<'aux. 279. 280
011 lleodillg, '2.79
Orozm . .losf. Cltnlf'IIH'. 20
Outtrhrirlgt. l'at d. '17. '2.76
Oztnfanl. Atn f. df.t. ll.)

Pacr/\lcCill Ca lle n . 280

Paouillac. Jacquelin e. 274
Pa psz t. Ede. 73
Paris-11 /aga::;ine, 21. :35-t
Parkinson. :'\onn a n. 283
PatT\'. Hoger, 18. 228
Pass uth. Krisztinn , :~6
Paul. l ~ lli ot. 29
Pccs i (Phln) . .lozscf. 38. 39
Penn. Irvin g. 1.5. 28. 275. 28:3
Pcrsc. Sai nt -John (Marie Leger ). 2-t
Phillips. Sa ndra. 12. 279, 282
Photographer, Ca ll erv (London ).
Photo Leag ue, 227
Photo-Secession. 10
Pi casso. Pablo. 10. 12, 19. 199
.. Pioneers of Modern Frenc h Photograplw ..
(i\ew York . 19:37) . .'30
Plaisir de France, 18. 354
P:\1 Ca llen (;\lew York ). 30. :355
Polaroid .. 281. 28:3. :3;)5
Pollack. Peter. 276
Pomii-s., 140
Popular Photograph); 283
Por. Be rt a lan. -+2
Porter. Co le..31
Portmits. 279, 280
Pra mpolini . Enrico. :2 1
Prince. Erney. 2:3. 2-t. 26, 27
Public Broadcastin g Service. 28 1
Puyo. Co nsta nl. 276
Querrllc. 18. 198
Querscllllitt, Det; 18
Rajk. Istvan , 119
Ra,-. Ma n. 12. 16. 17, 18. 8-t. 85, 86. 87,
.200. 228, 275, 276. 35-t
Regards, 18
Reich ental. Ferenc, 42
Hencontres lnrernat iona les de Ia
Photographic a Ari es (1975).
279 cq ues, 16. 24
Rengcr-Patzsc h. Albert. 17. 22. 91
Hevai , Eva , 85. 55
Heva i, llk a, 4.'l. 55
Him. Car lo. 18. 21, 198
Hivera. Diego. 20
Hiversidc Mu se um (New York ). 280
Rockefeller, Winthrop, 30
Rodtchenko. Alexander. 20
Homer. Erzsi. 39
Ronai. Denes. 38
Bonis. Will y. 16, 24
Hosrnb hnu. Walter. 227
Rosska rn . Edwin. 150
Hiiss ltr. .laros lav. 12
Hoth . Ftnnc. -t:3
Ftnnc Hot h Quartet. 16 7
Houiii P. And rf.. 277
.. Hudlt'. th e .. ll6

Sa la rn on , Elizabrt l1. See Kertesz. El izabc tlt

Sa lonr on , Erich. 19
Sa lon de I'A ra ignf.e (Paris. 19:30 ). 21,
Sa lon de I'Esca li er (Paris. 19:28). 1-t. :2 1.
Sa ly. l ~ li zabct h . See Kntcsz. l: li zabctlr
Sa nd er. Augusl. 1.)
Sc ha ll. Hoger. 28
Seuphot. l\li chcl. 1-t. 20. :20. :2 1, 86
Se,nt our. David. 12. 279
Shaw. Geo rge Benlllrd, -tO
Siqu cims. David Alfam. :20
Siskind. Aamn. :2:3 1
Si.lty !'ears o_( fJ/wtographJ; :279, 280
Sli,,inskv. .I nn, 20
Srnitl1. l ~ ugcne. '2.7
So nun er. F rederick. 229
So rnniCr. .lcno. 60. 6:2
So 11t ag. Susa n. 277
So ugrz, Emman uc l. 1.'3. 18. 8-t ..)5 -t
So upa ul 1. Philippe. 18
So1u-ire. Le. 18. 19. 87, 198. :).)-+
StcidHu , Edwa rd . 26. 28. 29. :3 1, 226
Stci ucr. Andre. 8-t
Sti<'glit z. Alfred. 1:3. 20. 2-t . :28. 92.
Stotz, Gustav. 17
St rand. Paul, 20. 28
St rvker. HO\. 227
Sudek. Josc.f. 276
Surren li snr. 86-88
Szabo. Istva n Soko ropri tkai. 4:3
Sza rk owski. John , 10..31. 3 / , 276
Szekely, Alad<1r. :33
Szo nt orY. Dezso. -t O
Szo uvi. 1st van , 41
Tabard. ~I aur i ce .. 15, 16, 17.18. 8-t. 228.
Tageschronik der Ku11st (/Jai()' Chrouicle o_l
Art). 21
Te ri ade. 10. 199
Tha i. Id a. 20, -+ 2. -t3
Tihanyi , Lajos. 12, 1-t. 41, 42. 85, 93.
To11 11 a11d Countt:): 26. 28, :355
.. Trava il ~ gm up. 11
Travis., David. 282
Tzam. Tristan. 21, :~.54
Ubac. Haou l. 87
U/1/J, 18, 3.')4
Un ive rsa l Expo (1970). 279
lJnivcrs it v of Long Isla nd. 30
Yadasz. Vliklos. 41
Vago. Pierre. 42
\'al{ry Paul. 87
l (m ity Fait; 227
l'anhh 18
Yerackhatz. '1/ajinskaya. 19. 198
Yen. Lo ui s. 90
\'ert es. \'larcel. -+1. -+ 2. S7

VidaL .kan. 19
Vigneau. Andre.. 8-t
Vi sco nti . Luchino. :20
\ 'ision Callen ( Bost<m ). 280
\'i sua I Books. 280
\ 'ogc l. l ~ n c i en. 18. 2.5. S6. 3.5 -t
I (,g,w, 18. 26. 28. 198. 3.)-t ..'Fi.i
l 'oilil , 18
l o\ol/s roir, 28 1
l i1, / 6,17. 17. 18. 23. 3.5 -t
\ \ darem .. l nl n ..38

Warde ll. J3enha , 20

\rcber. Pierre. -+ 1
\\'eegee. 2.). 228. 229. 283
Wrl nl -Damich, Tcri , 198. 281
\Veiner. Dan. 279
\X'eston. Edward. 20. 2.5, 28. 2:30
\~' l1itP , Nliuor. 229
Stephen \\'hire Ga ll ery (Los Angeles) . 280
Winterstein. Maxim ili an , :39
\Vol s., Alfred. 8-t. 8.5
World War L 8-10. 12. 33-

Yll a ( Kamilla Koffl er ). 16, 43. 84

Zndk in c. Ossip . H. 2-. 30. 86, 171 , 3.54
Zenos. Ch ri st ian , 17
Zilzer. CI'Lda. 12, 14. -+1. -+2. 8.5
Zil::era11d Noe. 39
Zuber. Rene. 8-t. 3.54


Pierre Borhan is the head of the Mission du

Patrimoine Photographique, which hou ses the
collection of Andre Kertesz's correspondence
and photographic negatives. He resides in
Laszlo Beke is the curator of the Hungarian
National Gallery and a professor at the Academy
of Fine Arts in Budapest.
Dominique Baque is an art critic and lectures
at the Uni versite de Paris VIII.
Jane Livingston h as been the curator at the Los
Angeles County Museum of Art and the associate
director and chief curator at the Corcoran
Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. She is the
author of several books, including The New York
School: Photograp hs 1936-1963.
Front cover photograph: Poughkeepsie, New York, 1936
Back cover photograph: i'Vfx brother as a "sc!terzo, "
Hungary, 1919

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ISBN 0-8212-2648-7