ANDRE KERTESZ "VIOLIN SHOP", 1984
André Kertész (1894 - 1985) was a Hungarian-born photographer renowned for his trailblazing contributions to both photojournalism and the medium as an art form.
Expected by his family to follow in his father's footsteps as a stockbroker, Kertész's banking career was side-tracked when he was drafted into the Austro-Hungarian army during World War I in 1914 at 20 years old.
Having already fallen in love with photography after purchasing his first camera at the age of 18, Kertész photographed both his life at war and during recovery, when a bullet-wound decommissioned him from service.
Kertész moved to Paris to study photography and began photographing his surroundings in France. Soon he was exhibiting works and gaining recognition for his observant, gentle aesthetic. His images bordered on formalist with their impeccable lighting and composition.
In 1936 as the Nazi party grew more powerful in Europe and the threat of war approached, Kertész and his wife Elizabeth made the decision to flee Europe to New York. In America, Kertész began to focus on commercial photography, focusing on architecture and interiors, for Vogue, House & Garden, and Harper's Bazaar - eventually being contracted by Condé Nast.
After retiring from commercial work in the early 1960's, Kertész began photographing his surroundings, much like in the beginning of his photography career. The works from this period until his death in 1985 are highly coveted by collectors and praised by critics. Kertész demonstrates his vision honed through decades of practice and perfection, resulting in carefully captured images of strikingly simple, elegant compositions.
This black-and-white photograph printed one year before his death is a classic example of Kertész's work. The image shows a still-life composition taken within a violin shop. Utilizing the window light, wood shavings, and unfinished violins amidst a dark background, Kertész demonstrates his signature eye for capturing, texture, shadow and light.
On the back of this work, Kertész hand-wrote an inscription in pencil dedicating it to his friend Igor Bakhr, whom he met in the mid-60's. A skilled darkroom technician, Igor eventually became Kertész's personal developer/printer exclusively handling his negatives until Kertész's passing.
Kertész has been the recipient of numerous honours and awards including a Guggenheim fellowship, induction into the French Legion of Honor, and the inaugural Master of Photography Award from the International Centre of Photography. His work has been exhibited globally including major solo shows at the Museum of Modern Art (NYC), Bibliothèque Nationale (Paris), the Art Institute of Chicago, and the National Gallery of Art (Washington, D.C.) to name a few.
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Signed and dated by artist in pencil on verso.
Artist inscription in pencil on verso: "For my ____ friend Igor"
Printed by Igor Bakht hand-stamp on verso.
9.5"W 6.5"H (work)
17"W 13.5"H (framed)
Framed with museum glass
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