Hans Namuth: Portraits by Carolyn Kinder CarrHans Namuth: Portraits by Carolyn Kinder Carr

Hans Namuth: Portraits

byCarolyn Kinder CarrForeword byAlan Fern

Hardcover | March 17, 1999

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During the summer and early fall of 1950, as Jackson Pollock moved about the huge canvases on the floor of his Long Island studio, defining their surfaces with dripped and thrown paint, a young photographer named Hans Namuth documented the artist at work. The best of his nearly five hundred photographs, first published in Portfolio and Art News magazines, enhanced public understanding of Pollock's paintings and began for Namuth a forty-year career of photographing America's leading painters, sculptors, writers, musicians, and architects.

Accompanied by a biographical essay by Carolyn Kinder Carr, this collection of seventy-five of Hans Namuth's photographic portraits, taken between 1950 and 1989, shows how his friendships with his often reclusive subjects and his determination to capture the essence of each artist's style resulted in revealing portraits of such notable painters as Willem and Elaine de Kooning, Mark Rothko, Roy Lichtenstein, Jasper Johns, Andrew Wyeth, Helen Frankenthaler, and Andy Warhol. Although Namuth identified most closely with the Abstract Expressionists who became famous in the 1950s and early 1960s, his repertoire included a new generation of 1980s artists, among them Julian Schnabel and David Salle. In both his black-and-white and color photographs, Namuth used subtle but telling poses, settings, and details: John Steinbeck appears with his famous dog Charley; Philip Johnson stands jauntily on a staircase in the Museum of Modern Art beside a painting that he donated; Louise Nevelson wears jewelry that echoes the sweeping lines of her wood sculpture.

Carr sets the stage for Namuth's photographic career in America by describing his youth in pre-war Germany, his early work as a documentary photographer in Paris and Spain, his immigration to New York in 1941, and his wartime intelligence work for the United States Army. Returning to professional photography in 1949, he soon concentrated his efforts on photographic portraiture.
Carolyn Kinder Carr is the deputy director of the National Portrait Gallery and the author of Gaston Lachaise: Portrait Sculpture (Smithsonian Institution Press, 1985).
Title:Hans Namuth: PortraitsFormat:HardcoverDimensions:166 pages, 12.06 × 9.35 × 0.78 inPublished:March 17, 1999Publisher:SmithsonianLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1560988096

ISBN - 13:9781560988090

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Foreword Chapter 2 Acknowledgements Chapter 3 Chronology Chapter 4 Photographing the Arts in America: The Portraits of Hans Namuth, 1950-1990 Chapter 5 Plates Chapter 6 Plate Credits Chapter 7 Selected Bibliography

Editorial Reviews

Many of the familiar images of artists and intellectuals living in this country following World War II are the work of German-born American photographer Hans Namuth (1915-90). The Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery is currently displaying its collection of 75 of Namuth's photographs. Although his work has appeared in magazines, books, and documentary films, little is known about him. Carr, the National Portrait Gallery's deputy director and organizer of the exhibition, has written the most comprehensive biographical study to date for this accompanying catalog. In 1950, Namuth took over 500 stills of Jackson Pollock working in his studio, which he described in Pollock Painting (LJ 3/15/81), and launched a career filming the "essence" of artistic creativity. Namuth's intimate, straightforward portraits chronicle the working techniques of such legendary figures as Frank Lloyd Wright, Walter Gropius, John Steinbeck, Edward Hopper, Andrew Wyeth, Louise Nevelson, Stephen Sondheim, and, most notably, the Abstract Expressionists. Recommended as a record of America's cultural achievements in the 20th century. (From Library Journal; A Joan Levin, MLS, Chicago; Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.)