Weegee (American, born June 12, 1899–died December 26, 1968) was the pseudonym of Austrian-born photographer Arthur Fellig. After moving to the United States in 1910, Weegee worked as an assistant to a commercial photographer and as a darkroom technician. In 1935, he became a freelance press photographer, taking pictures at night of the underbelly of New York City: crime scenes, fires, and gawking bystanders. His tendency to be the first on the scene, even before police or other authorities, earned him his pseudonym, which he adopted from the Ouija board game. In 1945, Weegee published a collection of his photographs as his first book, called Naked City. The same year, Edward Steichen (American, 1879–1973)—who was the director of photography at the Museum of Modern Art in New York at the time—included Weegee''''s work in one of the Museum''''s exhibitions. The monetary success of the book enabled Weegee to travel to Hollywood, where he began shooting portraits of famous film actors and actresses. In 1953, he published Naked Hollywood, as a collection of these images. Weegee published multiple books throughout his career as a photographer, and his style and subject matter influenced later photographers, such as Diane Arbus (American, 1923-1971) . Weegee''''s work has been exhibited at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, the International Center of Photography in New York, the Michael Hoppen Gallery in London, and the Indianapolis Museum of Art, among others institutions.

Timeline

1899
Born: Zloczow, Austria (now Lviv, Ukraine)
1910
Emigrated to the USA
1924
Worked as a dark-room technician with Acme Newspictures (later United Press International Photos)
1935
Became a freelance photographer
1945
Published his first book, Naked City
Gained the professional approbation of Edward Steichen, then Director of Photography at MOMA, New York
1953
Published Naked Hollywood
1968
Died: New York, NY

Exhibitions

2013
Weegee The Famous Photography - Ludwig Galerie - Schloß Oberhausen, Oberhausen
Weegee. Murder is my business - Palazzo Magnani, Reggio Emilia
The Radical Camera: New York’s Photo League, 1936-1951 - Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, FL
[blv] 5, Finir En Beauté - Musée Nicéphore Niépce, Chalon sur Saône
2012
Weegee - Murder is My Business - Fotomuseum Antwerpen, Antwerp
Weegee: Murder Is My Business - ICP - International Center of Photography, New York City, NY
Weegee: Naked City - Steven Kasher Gallery, New York City, NY
2011
Weegee - Retrosektive 1932 - 1960 - WestLicht. Schauplatz für Fotografie, Vienna
Weegee - Naked Hollywood - MOCA Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA
2010
Shots in the Dark: Photos by Weegee the Famous - Indianapolis Museum of Art - IMA, Indianapolis, IN
2009
Weegee from the Berinson’s Collection - National Museum in Cracow / Muzeum Narodowe w Krakowie, Krakow, Poland
2007
Weegee - Foam Fotografiemuseum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (solo)
Weegee - Musée Maillol - Fondation Dina Vierny, Paris, France (solo)
Weegees Story - C/O Berlin, Berlin, Germany
2006
Unknown Weegee - ICP - International Center of Photography, New York City, NY (solo)
2005
I Wanna Be Loved by You: Photographs of Marilyn Monroe from the Leon and Michaela Constantiner Collection, Brooklyn Museum of Art, NY
2004
Ubu Gallery: Weegee’s Story, NY
2000
Reflections in a Glass Eye: Works from the International Center of Photography Collection, International Center of Photography, NY
1998
Counter Culture: The Diner in America, Laurence Miller Gallery, New York, NY
1998
Vintage New York | Early and vintage photographs, Leica Gallery, New York, NY
1998
Flashback: The Fifties, Bonnie Benrubi Gallery, New York, NY
1997
Weegee's World: Life, Death and the Human Drama, International Center of Photography, New York, NY
1997
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.A., A potpourri of images of Brooklyn, Bonnie Benrubi Gallery, New York, NY
1997
Someone else with my fingerprints, A photography exhibition curated by the German collector Wilhelm Schurmann, David Zwirner Gallery, New York, NY
1996
delirium, Curated by W. M. Hunt, Ricco/Maresca Gallery, New York, NY
1996
Summer Salon III (Pictures We Like), Bonnie Benrubi Gallery, New York, NY

Public Collections

MoMA - Museum of Modern Art, New York City, NY
J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, CA
Los Angeles County Museum of Art - LACMA, Los Angeles, CA
ICP - International Center of Photography, New York City, NY
Fotomuseum Winterthur, Winterthur, Switzerland
Yokohama Museum of Art, Nishi-ku, Yokohama, Japan
Queensland Art Gallery / Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, QLD, Australia