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Nickolas Muray papers, 1910-1978

Biographical Note

Photographer Nickolas Muray (1892-1965) lived and worked in New York, New York and was known for his portrait, fashion, and advertising photography and for his mastery of the carbro color printing process.
Born in Szeged, Hungary, Muray spent time in Budapest as an engraver's apprentice and moved to Germany at the age of 16 to expand his technical knowledge of photo-engraving and photography. In 1913, Muray immigrated to America where he worked as a photo engraver at Stockinger Engraving Co. and eventually opened his own photography studio in 1920. After successfully completing a commission to photograph Broadway star Florence Reed, Muray continued to build his portfolio with regular commissions for Harper's Bazaar and Vanity Fair to photograph movie stars, artists, musicians, artists, and models. In the 1930s, Muray mastered the carbro printing process and established one of the first color labs in America. His color fashion and advertising work continued to appear regularly in Vogue, Ladies' Home Journal, Woman's Home Companion, McCall's and other periodicals.
In addition to his professional work, Muray wrote reviews for Dance magazine and represented the United States in 1928 and 1932 as a member of the Olympic fencing team. He maintained a long distance affair with artist Frida Kahlo throughout the 1930s, eventually ending the relationship but remaining friends until her death in 1954. In 1942, Muray married his fourth wife, Margaret (Peggy) Schwab, with whom he had a daughter, Mimi. Muray died of a heart attack in 1965.