Photographs by André Kertész. Text by Sarah Greenough. With Essays by Robert Gurbo and Sarah Kennel.
Princeton University Press,
272 pp., 25 color plates 125 tritiones 25 halftones, 9½x11".
The National Gallery of Art presents this definitive volume on André Kertész, with excerpts from his correspondence and date books, a meticulously researched chronology, and essays that establish him as one of the most important photographers in the 20th Century. Kertész's playful juxtapositions of street life, his lyrical portraits and landscapes, and his modern sense of composition and line have influenced greats like Cartier-Bresson and Brassaï. The book includes his most famous pieces—“Chez Mondrian” and “The Melancholy Tulip” for example—but really showcases the vastness of his 70-year career as an image maker, featuring work from his native Hungary in the 1910s and 20s, to his famous studies of Paris in the 30s, New York from the 40s, until his late color work in the 1980s. His earliest work is some of the most enchanting in the book. Printed about the size of a contact print, these delicate 35mm pieces depict atmospheric European cityscapes, portraits from the War, and a few joyous photographs of his brother, Jeno, frolicking nude in the countryside. Kertész stated repeatedly over his life that he was an amateur, driven by the love of seeing, not professional strictures. This sense of amour is felt throughout his entire oeuvre. - Denise Wolff
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