Andre Kertesz PDF Print E-mail

Paris Art Studies - Andor Kertész



1894.  Born in Budapest in Jewish family, his father runs a bookshop and his mother a tearoom. He has two brothers Imre and his favorite, the younger brother Jenö.

1909.        Commercial studies in Budapest Lyceum. Death of his father.

1912.  Given his first camera by Jenö, an ICA box with 4,5x6 cm plates. Immediately begins experimenting with it in the company of his brother. Obtains his baccalaureate, starts working without enthusiasm at the Budapest stock exchange.

1914. Outbreak of WWI, enlisted in Austro-Hungarian army. His brother sends him a new camera which he will use throughout the war taking curiously tender pictures of daily life in the barracks.

1915. Comes down with typhoid fever and is later seriously wounded in arm and breast.

1917.  Publishes his first photographs in Hungarian weekly.

1918.  End of the War goes back to stock exchange. Practices photography constantly with the help of Jenö.

1919.  Meets his future wife Ersébet Salomon. The new Hungarian regime of Admiral Horty introduces anti-Semitic legislation, particularly in university education.

1921.  Leaves his job, meets Hungarian artists, works in the country for an apiculturist (“happiest weeks of my life”).

1922. Shows 3 photographs in exhibition of the national association of amateur photographers.

1925.  One of his photos is published for the first time on magazine cover. Leaves for Paris with new camera a Goerz Ango Anschütz 10x12,5 cm, a gift from his family. Registers with the prefecture de police as a “photo reporter” with an address on rue Vavin.

1926. Publishes his first photos in German newspapers and in French magazine Art et Industrie. Works as retoucher in Boulogne photography studio. Joins large Hungarian artistic community. Meets Piet Mondrian in his studio. Receives a commission from the architect André Lurçat.

1927.  Works as free-lance photographer for a variety of French and German papers. First solo show in Galerie du Sacre du Printemps. Shows also in 22nd French photography salon.

1928.  Buys his first Leica. Fitrst commissions from prestigious magazine Vu. Marries Hungarian neighbor Rozsa Klein (Rogi André). Participates in first avant garde photo exhibition in Paris (“Premier salon indépendant de la photographie”) in the company of Atget, Abbott, Krull, Man Ray, Albin Guillot, Paul Nadar…). Exhibits in photo salons abroad: Amsterdam, Prague, Brussels.

1929.  Experiments with images deformed by reflecting surfaces taken at the Luna Park fair ground of the Bois de Boulogne. Publishes in Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung. Participates in host of international exhibitions notably in Germany.

1931.  Erzebet Salomon arrives in Paris. Kertész leaves his wife Rogi. Participates in photo shows in Paris, Basel, Brussels, Essen and New York.

1932.  Divorces Rogi. Exhibits with Royal Photogaphic Society in London, at the Julien Levy gallery in New York and also in Brooklyn, Buffalo and Brussels.

1933.  Publication of his first book, “Enfants” (“Children”). 12 “distortions” are published in Sourire. Marries Erzsébet Salomon. His mother dies in Budapest.

1934.  Publication of “Paris seen by André Kertész” 60 photos with a text by Mac Orlan. 

1936.  Publication of “Nos amies les bêtes”.  The Kérteszes leave for New York. Under contract with the Keystone photo agency.

1937.  Leaves Keystone, works as a free-lancer. First solo show in New York at the PM galleries. Participates in historic photo show at MoMA.

1938. Works for House and Garden and Vogue. Shows with Julien Levy and at the Baltimore museum of Art.

1939.  Commissions from General Motors and the American Ballet Theater.

1941. His Hungarian nationality makes of him an enemy alien when the USA enters WWII. Participates in “The Image of Freedom” show at MoMA.

1944. Obtains American nationality with Elizabeth. Begins working again.

1945. Joins American Society of Photographers.

1947.  Under contract with House and Garden.

1948. Returns to Europe, commission of French embassy in Washington to photograph French monuments and country side.

1950. Kertészes suffer from health problems.

1952. They move to 2, 5th Avenue from which Kértesz will frequently photograph Washington Square Park.

1956. They buy country house in Newtown Connecticut.

1960. Exhibits in “Photography in the Fine Arts II” a travelling exhibition organized by the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

1961. Hospitalized at Mount Sinai in New York. Ceases work with Condé Nast.

1962. Visits his brother Jenö, now in Buenos Aires. First retrospective exhibition at Long Island University in Brooklyn. A MoMA exhibition is cancelled because of the departure of Edward Steichen, director of the Photography Department.

1963. Solo exhibition at the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris. Shows at Venice Biennale. Recovers suitcase of negatives left in France with an agent before the war and hidden in the Dordogne.

1972. Signs exclusive contract with Light Gallery in New York.

1973. Four solo shows in New York and California.

1974. Receives Guggenheim grant to restore his old negatives. Publication of “J’aime Paris. Photographs since the Twenties”.

1975. Publication of “Washington Square”.

1976. Publication of “New York…” and “Distortions”. Made commander of Arts and Letters in France. BBC makes a documentary on his career.

1977. CBS documentary. Death of Elizabeth. Retrospective exhibition at the just inaugurated Pompidou Centre in Paris.

1979. Solo exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery, London.

1980. “Photographs of a Lifetime” at the Israel Museum of Art in Jerusalem.

1982. Receives Grand prix national de photographie in France.

1983. Made Commander of Legion of Honor.

1984. Donates his negatives, archives and correspondence to the French state. Metropolitan Museum buys 100 photos.

1985. Visits his brother Jenö in Argentina who dies during the visit. Kertész dies shortly afterwards in his sleep on his return to New York.







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