Fun During Coffee Break

Martin Munkácsi American, born Hungary

Not on view

Martin Munkacsi began his photographic career in 1921 taking pictures for a daily sports journal in Budapest. In 1927 he moved to Berlin, where he gained international recognition as a photojournalist, particularly for his work at Ullstein-Verlag, publisher of the weekly illustrated newspaper "Berliner Illustrierte Zeitung" and magazines such as "Die Dame" and "Uhu." In 1934, Munkacsi emigrated to the United States, where he was hired by "Harper's Bazaar." As chief fashion photographer he removed models from the confines of studio settings, photographed them out of doors in bold poses, and encouraged spontaneity and movement. His images revolutionized the fashion industry. Energized both by motion and active surface design, they capture--with faster, more light-sensitive film and the split-second shutter speeds of hand-held cameras--the very flexibility and freedom of modern life.
Munkacsi's photograph of the dancers Tibor von Halmay and Eva Sylt appeared in a November 1932 issue of "Die Dame." The picture is enlivened by the man's acrobatics, his morning coffee presumably having jolted him with a burst of energy. His partner's nonplused self-absorption, her oblivion to the odd goings-on above her head, and the electrical cord that snakes up the wall infuse the picture with a quirky, surrealistic incongruity.

Fun During Coffee Break, Martin Munkácsi (American (born Hungary), Cluj-Napoca (Kolozsvar) 1896–1963 New York), Gelatin silver print

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