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Hans Namuth photographs and papers, 1945-1985

Biographical 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.