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John Gutmann (American/German, 1905–1998)
LOT ID: 67040
Barber school, Bowery, N.Y.C., 1936

Silver Print, gelatin silver print
7.5 х 8.5 in. (19.05 x 21.59 cm.)
Signed, titled and dated on verso.
Lot description
John Gutmann, Barber school, Bowery, N.Y.C., 1936. Gelatin silver print, 7.5 x 8.5 inches (19.1 x 21.6 cm; frame size is 15 x 16 inches (38.1 x 40.6 cm). Signed, titled and dated.

Though he was an exemplary student of painting in his native country of Germany, it was the culture and street life of America in the 1930s that inspired John Gutmann (1905-1998) to change artistic paths and become a photographer. He left Germany for San Francisco in 1933 and, upon witnessing the American ways of life, felt a desire to capture, preserve, and relive his experiences, every moment, through photographs. Gutmann seemed to benefit from being self-taught as a photographer. He was willing to experiment with camera angles and viewpoints more than those closely studying the rules of the craft. Gutmann’s creative approach was also a product of his studies of painting genres like Cubism, Constructivism and Futurism.

During his life, the photographer dedicated much of his time to reproducing his works in books and publications. Gutmann’s photographs have also been included in numerous exhibitions, including a major retrospective of his work entitled “Beyond the Document,” which opened in 1989 and traveled from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art to the Museum of Modern Art in New York and lastly to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
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