Lot Details

Lucien Aigner, Ballet II, Paris Opera, 1934. Gelatin silver print, image size is 8 x 11 1/2 inches (20.3 x 29.2 cm); sheet size is 11 x 14 inches (27.9 x 35.6 cm). Signed and titled. Printed no later than 1984.

Lucien Aigner
Born Nove Zamky, Slovakia (then Ersekujvar, Hungary) 1901, died Great Barrington, Massachusetts, 1999.

Lucien Aigner studied law at the University of Budapest, having previously studied theatre in Berlin and worked as an assistant cameraman to Stefan Lorant (a lifelong friend, who later became one of the most influential picture editors of the early 20th century). In 1924 he became a reporter for the Hungarian newspaper group Az Est. A keen photographer (he was given a box Brownie camera for his 9th birthday), Aigner started to illustrate his articles with his own photographs.

In 1925 he moved to Paris to act as manager for a photographer – a short-lived association – and continued to work as a correspondent for Az Est. Because of his poor French, Aigner bought a Leica and concentrated more on photography. He soon became known for his informal ‘grabbed’ shots of political figures and published picture stories in the leading illustrated magazines in France, Germany and England.

After a trip to America in 1936, Aigner became the Life magazine correspondent in Paris. He moved to America in 1939 and settled in New York. In 1947 he got a job in radio broadcasting, in the Hungarian section of Voice of America, but was forced out of this post in the 1950s during the McCarthy era. He moved to New England and set up a portrait studio. The discovery of the negatives of his European photographs in an old suitcase in 1970 prompted renewed interest in Aigner’s life and work. [v&a]

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Provenance:
  • The Photographer's Gallery, 1984 to a private collector
  • Pickup Location: New York, USA
  • Shipping Dimensions: 8 x 11.5 in. (20.32 x 29.21 cm.)

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