Arnold Newman

Arnold Newman ( born March 3, 1918 in New York City; † June 6, 2006 in New York City ) was one of the most influential portrait photographers in the second half of the 20th century.


Newman grew up in New York and Miami, and was interested in already as a boy very much for the fine arts. For financial reasons, he had to cancel his art studies in Miami and found a job in a cheap portrait studio in Philadelphia. Despite the stupid work there he learned the importance of attention to the customer. In 1938 he started at leisure to photograph friends and to develop his own style. In 1941 he went with a portfolio to New York, where he presented his work Beaumont Newhall, the curator of the photographic department at the Museum of Modern Art. His wife Nancy recommended him to the famous photographer Alfred Stieglitz. Even he recognized Newman's talent and passion for people - especially artists - and encouraged him.

Soon, Newman was able to exhibit his work in a gallery and got orders from leading journals. Since 1945 he worked as a freelance photographer in New York. Unlike some of his colleagues, such as Henri Cartier -Bresson, he never returned to his original plan to become a painter.


Thanks to his unique style of Newman was one of the most important and influential portrait photographers of the 20th century. When his colleagues the benefits of small-format camera - Agility and Quickness - recognized and used, he did the opposite: he liked to be forced by the large-format camera has to move with calm and reflection on his tasks.

Newman said (paraphrased ) that " we never pictures with the camera alone " record, but " with the heart and the mind. ... My work is an expression of myself, the way I feel and think. ... I'm interested in what drives individuals, what they do with their lives. The portrait ... is a kind of biography ... Even if the person is unknown or almost forgotten the photo for the viewer should be interesting or even exciting. "

With this attitude, Newman went to the sitter and to not just cleared from the person, but moved an environment, plant or the spiritual background of the portrayed - and this seemed sometimes to put in the foreground.

So one thinks Marc Chagall (1942 ) merge with the paintings in his studio, while the father of Anne Frank (1960 ) is almost overwhelmed by the shadows on the wall of his room. Likewise, the composer Igor Stravinsky appears in 1946 in his own portrait only as a marginal figure, while the unfolded wing occupies most of the image and the sitter with his blackness rather forget; it is subtly highlighted the analogy between the person and music in the small triangular shape of the propped arm and the great of the wing: the music appears to be larger than the composer, their subordinates, but forms a formal congruence.

Newman's "customers" were often his friends. Famous were his portraits of Piet Mondrian, Man Ray, George Segal, Leonard Bernstein, Isaac Asimov, Allen Ginsberg, Norman Mailer, Robert Oppenheimer Arno Penzias or.


  • 2012: Arnold Newman. Master Class, retrospective, 3 March to 20 May 2012 in Berlin