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André Kertész was born in Budapest, on July 2, 1894. He graduated from the local Academy of Commerce in 1912 and subsequently worked as a clerk at the Budapest stock exchange. It was during this time that he bought his first camera and spent his time photographing scenes from everyday life, often on the city’s streets. In 1914 he was drafted by the Austrian-Hungarian Army and sent to the front. He took his camera with him and took photos of other soldiers. He was badly injured on the battlefield and was forced to undergo a long period of convalescence. Emerging from it in 1925, he went back to work at the stock exchange, as he was unable to support himself solely through his photography.
The same year he moved to Paris, working as a freelance photographer and collaborating with various European journals, including Vu, Art et Medicine, and The Times. He took up residence in Montparnasse and became part of the city's artistic and literary circles, photographing artists such as Constantin Brancusi, Alexander Calder, Marc Chagall, Fernand Léger, and Piet Mondrian. He also took shots of life on the city streets. His talent was soon recognized, and in 1927 he exhibited his photographs in a solo exhibition at the Au Sacre du Printemps gallery. In 1933 he made the now famous series of Distortions that adopted the visual language of Jean Arp, Henry Moore, and Pablo Picasso. The following year he published his book Paris vu par André Kertész.
In 1936, along with his wife of three years, Elisabeth Saly, he moved to New York and worked for a year at Keyston Agency. World War II prevented him from returning to Paris, so he continued working in the United States where, despite appearing in Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, and Coronet, and showing in exhibitions at the PM Gallery and the Art Institute of Chicago, the importance of his work went unrecognized for nearly twenty years. Only after a retrospective of his work at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 1964, was he regarded as one of the leading figures of modern photography. Since then his work has been shown widely throughout the world. He also wrote many books and monographs. Kertész died in New York on September 28, 1985.