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André Kertész

André Kertész

Hungarian, 1894-1985

André Kertész was a Hungarian, self-taught photographer who is remembered for his historical contributions to photography. He was born in Budapest, Hungary in 1894. He first encountered photographs in magazines during his youth, which inspired him to pursue photography later in his life.

In 1912, he purchased his first camera and began photographing local peasants, gypsies, and landscapes. His work was first published in the magazine Érdekes Újság in 1917 while he was serving the in the army during World War I where he photographed life in the trenches and the frontlines of the war. After the military, he worked in the stock exchange and continued to photograph in his spare time, frequently being published and winning awards for his work in Hungary.

In 1925, Kertész left Hungary to pursue his photography career in Paris. He worked on commission for magazines in Germany, France, Italy, and Britain. In 1927, he was the first photographer to have a solo exhibition, after which he became connected with members of the Dada movement. In 1932, many of his works successfully sold at the Julien Levy Gallery in New York.

Kertész moved to New York City in 1936 to escape the growing strength of the Nazi party. His photographs were shown at the MoMA’s Photography 1839-1937 show and his first solo exhibition took place at the PM Gallery in 1937. In that same year, he worked for Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, and Life magazines. In 1946, he had a solo exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago featuring his Paris photographs, a solo show at the MoMA in 1964 and many others throughout Europe and North America throughout the 1970s.

He received many accolades during his lifetime. He was awarded a membership of the American Society of Media Photographers, the Guggenheim Fellowship, and an honorary Doctorate from the Royal College of Art, and many other honours.