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Hans Namuth photographs and papers, 1945-1985

Hans Namuth photographs and papers, 1945-1985

Namuth, Hans, 1915-1990

Photographer

Collection Information

Size: 4.5 linear feet

Summary: The papers of New York photographer and filmmaker Hans Namuth measure 4.5 linear feet and date from 1945 to 1985. The bulk of the collection consists of photographs taken by Namuth of New York artists. Also included are papers regarding Namuth's film about Alfred Stieglitz and other professional files.

Biographical/Historical Note

Hans Namuth (1915-1990) was a German-American photographer and filmmaker who lived and worked in New York.

Provenance

The collection was donated 1972-1985 by Hans Namuth.

Related Materials

A Finding Aid to the Hans Namuth Photographs and Papers, 1945-1985, in the Archives of American Art
AAA.namuhans
Author
Finding aid prepared by Kelly Overstreet
Biographical/Historical note
Hans Namuth (1915-1990) was a German-American photographer and filmmaker who lived and worked in New York. He was primarily known for his work photographing prominent American artists in the 1950s and 1960s.
Namuth was born in Germany but left for France in 1933 after the rise of the Nazi Party. While in France, he struck up a friendship with fellow German Georg Reisner. From 1935 to 1939, Namuth and Reisner worked together as photographers primarily in Paris. His first works to catch the public’s attention came from an assignment in Barcelona that accidentally coincided with the beginning of the Spanish Civil War in 1936. Following a short internment in Nazi-occupied France, Namuth left for the United States.
After taking photography classes with Alexey Brodovitch, art director of Harper's Bazaar, Namuth met Jackson Pollock at an exhibition in 1950 and asked to photograph the artist at work. His subsequent photographs of Pollock raised both artists’ profiles. Namuth would spend the next three decades photographing major New York artists, architects, and art-related events for commission and for his own studio. He directed a number of films in collaboration with Paul Falkenberg and published several books of photographs. Namuth died in Long Island in 1990.
Arrangement note
This collection is arranged as 3 series.
Series 1: Alfred Stieglitz Film Project, 1945-circa 1981 (Box 1, OV 11; 0.8 linear feet)
Series 2: Professional Files, 1953-1985 (Box 1; 0.3 linear feet)
Series 3: Photographs, 1945-1984 (Box 2-10; 3.4 linear feet)
Scope and Contents note
The papers of New York photographer and filmmaker Hans Namuth measure 4.5 linear feet and date from 1945 to 1985. The bulk of the collection consists of photographs taken by Namuth of New York artists. Also included are papers regarding Namuth's film about Alfred Stieglitz and other professional files.
The first series contains materials related to the planning and production of Namuth's film
Alfred Stieglitz, Photographer
. Documentation includes articles, correspondence, exhibition materials, grant program request sheets, magazines and catalogs, photo requests, photographs and photographic materials, notes and research, shot lists, script drafts and fragments, interview transcripts, and correspondence. Interviewees include Ansel Adams, Arnold Newman, Aaron Copland, Dorothy Norman, and others.
The second series contains various writings and papers relating to Namuth’s professional activities, including Namuth’s exhibition at the 1958 Brussels World Fair, business and financial records, papers on
The Construction of Boston
by Kennth Koch, correspondence, a notebook, and various printed materials. Namuth's correspondence is with James Boynton, Bernard Karpel, the Museum of Modern Art, Cynthia Navaretta, Elizabeth Shaw, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and the Yale University School of Art and Architecture.
Photographs taken by Hans Namuth depict prominent American (primarily New York-based) artists, architects, writers, musicians, and art critics. Artists are shown in their studios or homes, either at work or posing for the camera, and include Alexander Calder, Stuart Davis, Willem de Kooning, Grace Hartigan, Edward Hopper, Jasper Johns, Lee Krasner, Isamu Noguchi, Jackson Pollock, Robert Rauschenberg, Mark Rothko, and Andrew Wyeth, among many others. Photographs of other individuals include Marcel Breuer, John Cage, Leo Castelli, Buckminster Fuller, and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, and others. Also found are photographs of exhibitions, openings, and art-related events from the 1950s and 1960s, such as a traveling Picasso exhibit and a Robert Rauschenberg opening at the Jewish Museum. Most photographs are black and white, but a few color prints are included.
Provenance
The collection was donated 1972-1985 by Hans Namuth.
Related Archival Materials note
Also at the Archives of American Art is an oral history interview with Hans Namuth, Aug. 12-Sept. 8, 1971. Additional Hans Namuth papers are located at the Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona.
Processing Information note
The collection was processed by intern Kelly Overstreet in 2017.

Restrictions on Access

Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.

Restrictions on Use

All Photographs by Hans Namuth: All requests for image reproductions are to be sent to: Hans Namuth Studio, attention: Peter Namuth, 68 Jane Street, #4-W, New York, N.Y. 10014.The Namuth Studio will provide all reproductions to researchers. For further information, call the Namuth Studio at #212-691-3220; e-mail: pnamuth@me.com

How to Cite This Collection

Hans Namuth photographs and papers, 1945-1985. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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