Elliott Erwitt (American, b. July 26, 1928) is a respected photographer, who is known for his unusual black-and-white images. Erwitt's parents were Russian immigrants, and he spent much of his youth in Italy. When the artist was 10 years old, his family moved back to France, where they lived for two years before heading to America. He attended Hollywood High School and worked as a darkroom processor.

In 1949, he moved back to Europe, where he traveled and took photographs. Erwitt was drafted into the United States Army in 1951, and continued taking photographs while stationed in New Jersey, Germany, and France. After his service was complete, the photographer settled in New York. Erwitt was mentored by Edward Steichen (American, 1879–1973) and Roy Stryker (American, 1893–1975), who appreciated his work. In 1953, Robert Capa (Hungarian, 1913–1954) invited the young artist to join Magnum Photos. Erwitt eventually served three terms as president of the agency, and continues to be an active member. He started his career as a freelance photographer, and worked for top magazines such as Look, Life, and Holiday. He loves dogs, and they became the subject of many of his photos. One black-and-white piece is simply titled Dog, and features a small dog in a sweater standing at the feet of a woman wearing strappy sandals. Many of Erwitt’s photographs are infused with his sense of humor. Dog Show features four individuals watching a dog competition. Between two of these individuals, a large poodle stands on its hind legs and appears to be enjoying the show.

Erwitt has filmed several documentaries, including Beauty Knows No Pain and Red, White, and Bluegrass. In the 1980s, he worked for Home Box Office and produced 17 comedy programs. He continued his photography career and published several books. Son of Bitch, Dog Dogs, and Woof all feature canines as the main subject matter. His photographs have been featured at the Paul Smith Gallery in London and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Erwitt lives and works in New York, NY, and continues to travel.

Timeline

1928
Born in Paris to Russian parents, Erwitt spent his childhood in Milan, Italy
1939
Emigrated to the US, via France, with his family
1942–1944
Photography, Los Angeles City College, Los Angeles, CA
1948
Moved to New York, NY
1948–1950
Film, New School for Social Research, New York, NY
1953
Worked as a freelance photographer for Collier's, Look, Life, Holiday and others
1954
Became a Magnum Photos member
1960–1963
Served as Magnum's president
2011
Awarded the ICP Infinity Award for Lifetime Achievement from the International Center of Photography
Lives and works in New York, NY

Exhibitions

2013
Light Sensitive - Nasher Museum of Art, Durham, NC
2012
Dog Dogs - Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, Kalamazoo, MI
Elliott Erwitt - Mensch im Hund Fotografien 1949 bis 2001 - KunstHaus Wien, Vienna
Elliott Erwitt - Kamera und Fotomuseum Leipzig, Leipzig
"Sequentially Yours", Elliot Erwitt - Polka Galerie, Paris
2011
Summer in the City - Robert Klein Gallery, Boston, MA
Elliott Erwitt - Edwynn Houk Gallery, New York City, NY
Elliott Erwitt - Icons - kunst Meran, Meran
Elliott Erwitt: Personal Best - ICP - International Center of Photography, New York City, NY
Elliot Erwitt - Fréderic Got Fine Art, Paris
I am serious about not being serious - Elliott Erwitt - Fotografie - Ludwig Galerie - Schloß Oberhausen, Oberhausen
The World of Elliott Erwitt - Peter Fetterman Gallery, Santa Monica, CA
Elliott Erwitt - Sequentially Yours - Atlas Gallery, London (England)
Elliott Erwitt: Small, Serious and Otherwise - Stephen Daiter Gallery, Chicago, IL
2010
Elliott Erwitt - ... von Menschen und Hunden - in focus Galerie, Cologne
Elliott Erwitt - Weinstein Gallery, Minneapolis, MN
Elliott Erwitt: New York - Robert Koch Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2009
Elliott Erwitt - Retrospective - Gemeentemuseum Helmond - Boscotondohal, Helmond
Elliott Erwitt: New York - Galerie Wouter van Leeuwen, Amsterdam
New York - Edwynn Houk Gallery, New York City, NY
2008
80th anniversary - Photographien - Galerie Stephen Hoffman, Munich
Personal Best - Catherine Couturier Gallery, Houston, TX
Elliott Erwitt - Unseen - HackelBury Fine Art Limited, London (England)
Elliott Erwitt: Dog Dogs - James A. Michener Art Museum, Doylestown, PA
Elliot Erwitt, Unseen - A Gallery for Fine Photography, New Orleans, LA
Elliott Erwitt: Personal Best - Galerie Wouter van Leeuwen, Amsterdam
Elliott Erwitt - Seen & Unseen - Galerie Esther Woerdehoff, Paris
2007
Seen and Unseen - Flo Peters Gallery , Hamburg
Elliott Erwitt - IO E GLI ALTRI - Forma - Centro Internazionale di Fotografia, Milan
Personal Best - Photographs by Elliott Erwitt - Portland Art Museum, Portland, OR
Elliot Erwitt - Edwynn Houk Gallery, New York City, NY
2006
Elliott Erwitt - Six Decades - Andrew Smith Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
Eliott Erwitt - The Art Museum at the University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY
EL MUNDO SEGÚN ELLIOTT ERWITT - MNBA - Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes Santiago Chile, Santiago
Personal Exposures - Robert Morat Galerie, Hamburg
Elliott Erwitt - Robert Klein Gallery, Boston, MA
Elliott Erwitt - Leica Gallery Tokyo, Tokyo
Elliot Erwitt - A Retrospective - National Media Museum, Bradford (England)
Elliott Erwitt - Retrospective - Jackson Fine Art, Atlanta, GA
2005
Magic hands - Leica Galerie Frankfurt, Frankfurt
Elliott Erwitt - Edwynn Houk Gallery, New York City, NY
Elliott Erwitt - Vintage and Modern - Stephen Daiter Gallery, Chicago, IL
Elliott Erwitt - Galerie Stephen Hoffman, Munich
61 fotografii - Yours Gallery, Warsaw
Elliott Erwitt: Homeland, USA - Robert Koch Gallery, San Francisco, CA
Magic Hands - Elliot Erwitt - Kunsthallen Brandts, Odense
Elliott Erwitt - Magic Hands - Leica Gallery São Paulo, São Paulo
Elliot Erwitt – Schnappschüsse - NRW-Forum Kultur und Wirtschaft, Dusseldorf
2004
Elliott Erwitt, retrospective - Botanique, Brussels
Elliott Erwitt - L'umorismo intelligente - Galleria dell'Incisione, Brescia
Elliott Erwitt - Magic Hands - WestLicht. Schauplatz für Fotografie, Vienna
Elliott Erwitt - L'umorismo intelligente - Galleria dell'Incisione, Brescia
Snaps - Museo Marino Marini, Florence
Magic Hands - Leica Gallery LGP, Prague
2003
Elliott Erwitt - Camera Work, Berlin
Elliot Erwitt - Centro de Exposiciones de Benalmádena, Benalmádena
Elliot Erwitt: Selected Photographs - Oklahoma City Museum of Art, Oklahoma City, OK
2002
EE 60/60. Fotografías de Elliott Erwitt - Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid
2001
Snaps - A Gallery for Fine Photography, New Orleans, LA
Elliott Erwitt – Snaps - Photographic Center Northwest , Seattle, WA
Elliott Erwitt - Robert Koch Gallery, San Francisco, CA
Elliott Erwitt - HackelBury Fine Art Limited, London (England)
Elliot Erwitt . Personal Exposures . Photographien 1951 - 2000 - C/O Berlin, Berlin
Elliot Erwitt - Victor Barsokevitsch Photographic Centre, Kuopio
1999
Elliott Erwitt - Dog Dogs - Gallery of Photography, Dublin
1998
Elliott Erwitt - Galleria Carla Sozzani, Milan
1997
Personal Exposures - Städtische Galerie Iserlohn, Iserlohn
1993
Elliott Erwitt - Konsthallen Trollhättan, Trollhättan
1979
Elliot Erwitt - Kunsthaus Zürich, Zurich
1977
Dog Day - ICP - International Center of Photography, New York City, NY
1976
Photographs and Anti-Photographs - IMA Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane, QLD
1974
Photographs by Elliott Erwitt - The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
1964
Elliott Erwitt: Improbable Photographs - MoMA - Museum of Modern Art, New York City, NY

Public Collections

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
New South Wales Museum of Art, Australia
The Barbican, London, UK
Camera Work, Berlin, Germany
NRW-Forum Düsseldorf, Germany
Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain
Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, France
Museum of Modern Art, New York
Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
Photokina, Cologne, Germany
Kunsthaus, Zurich, Switzerland

Literature

2008
Elliott Erwitt's Dogs, teNeues, Germany
2008
Elliott Erwitt's New York, teNeues, Germany
2006
Personal Best, teNeues, Germany
2005
Woof, Chronicle Books LLC, USA
2003
Elliott Erwitt’s Handbook, The Quantuck Lane Press/W.W. Norton & Company, USA
2002
Snaps, Phaidon Press Ltd., USA
1999
DogsDogs, Phaidon Press Ltd., USA
1999
Museum Watching, Phaidon Press Ltd., USA
1994
Between the Sexes, W.W. Norton & Company, USA
1992
To the Dogs, DAP/Scalo, Zurich
1991
On the Beach, W.W. Norton & Company, USA
1988
Personal Exposures, W.W. Norton & Company, USA
1974
Son of Bitch, Viking, USA
1972
Photographs and Anti-Photographs, New York Graphic Society, USA