Philippe Halsman (American, 1979)

During his lifetime, Phillipe Halsman (American, 1906–1979) produced portraits of iconic individuals that graced the pages and covers of popular publications, such as Life and Vogue. Through these images he became one of the most significant and recognizable photographers of the mid-20th century. Born in Riga, Latvia, Halsman initially studied electrical engineering in Dresden before moving to Paris, where he set up his first photography studio. While in France, Halsman gained notoriety for his bold, sharp images that broke from previous tradition of fuzzy romanticized portraiture. With the help of his close friend Albert Einstein, Halsman was able to escape Europe during the war and immigrate to New York in 1940. While in New York, Halsman started collaborations with other émigré artists, such as Salvador Dalí (Spanish, 1904–1989), with whom he collaborated to create two of his most famous images, Dalí Atomicus and Voluptas Mors. In 1958, Halsman was listed by Popular Photography as one of the World's 10 Greatest Photographers, and in 1975 he received the Life Achievement in Photography Award from the American Society of Magazine Photographers. His work is part of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Museum of Modern Art, New York, among many others.

Timeline

1906
Born in Riga, Latvia
1934
Opened a portrait studio in Montparnasse, where he photographed André Gide, Marc Chagall, André Malraux, Le Corbusier, and other writers and artists using an innovative twin-lens reflex camera that he had designed himself
1940
Obtained a visa to enter the USA, after the Nazi invasion of Paris, through the intervention of his friend Albert Einstein
1941
Began a thirty-seven-year collaboration with Salvador Dalí
1942
His first major break came when Life magazine commissioned him a shoot
1945
Elected the first president of the American Society of Magazine Photographers
1951
Joined Magnum Photos
1956
Became a contributing member of Magnum Photos
1942–1972
His portraits of celebrities, intellectuals and politicians appeared on the covers and pages of big picture magazines including Look, Esquire, Saturday Evening Post, Paris Match, and Life
1979
Died in New York, USA

Exhibitions

2009
Musee de Elysee, Lausanne, Switzerland
2009
Scott Nichols Gallery, San Francisco, USA
2008–2009
Unknown Halsman, Magnum Gallery, Paris, France
2006
Galerie Stephen Hoffman, Munchen, Germany
2005
Philippe Halsman: A Retrospective, ArteF Fine Art Photography Gallery, Zurich, Switzerland
2004
Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York, USA (solo)
1998
Philippe Halsman: A Retrospective, National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C.
1979
Philippe Halsman: Retrospective, International Center for Photography, New York, USA

Literature

1949–2006
The Frenchman, Simon & Schuster, USA; Benedikt Taschen, UK
1998
Halsman Retrospective, Bulfinch Press, USA; Editions du Collectionneur, France
1954–1994
Dali’s Mustache, Simon & Schuster, USA
1989
Halsman at Work, Harry N. Abrams, USA
1959–1986
Jumpbook, Simon & Schuster, USA; Harry N. Abrams, USA
1983
Portraits, McCraw-Hill Book Company, USA
1979
Halsman, International Center of Photography, USA
1972
Sight & Insight, Doubleday & Company, USA
1961
Philippe Halsman on the Creation of Photographic Ideas, A.S. Barnes and Company, USA