Bill Brandt (British (born Germany), Hamburg 1904–1983 London)
Gelatin silver print
22.2 x 19.1 cm (8 3/4 x 7 1/2 in.)
Purchase, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation Gift, through Joyce and Robert Menschel, and The Elisha Whittelsey Collection, The Elisha Whittelsey Fund, 1986
Not on view
Born to a prosperous mercantile family in Hamburg and educated in Europe, Brandt absorbed the lessons of the Surrealists while perfecting his photographic technique in Man Ray’s studio in Paris in 1929. He then settled in London, where, like his contemporaries André Kertész, Brassaï, and Henri Cartier-Bresson in Paris, he made his name in the 1930s with photographs that pretended to objective reportage. His constant search for more expressive and poetic subjects brought him to the realization that his richest storehouse of imagery was not the external world but the mysterious chambers of his own imagination. In the psychologically haunting and formally inventive portraits and nudes of the next fifteen years, the photographer explored his private fantasies through the distorting lens of a wide-angle camera.
Inscription: Titled on verso in photographer's hand; photographer's stamp, verso.
The Estate of Bill Brandt
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Photographs from the 1940s and 1950s: Selections from the Collection," December 18, 1990–March 17, 1991.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Naked before the Camera," March 27, 2012–September 9, 2012.
Brandt, Bill. Shadow of Light: Photographs by Bill Brandt. 1st American ed. New York: De Capo Press, 1977. no. 132.
Hermanson Meister, Sarah. Bill Brandt: Shadow & Light. New York: Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2013. p. 154.