Photographs by Arnold Newman, one of the most influential portraitists of the 20th century, will be on view at Howard Greenberg Gallery from May 10 through June 30, 2018. Celebrating the centennial of Newman’s birth, the exhibition of 45 works from the 1930s through the 1990s will be on display.
Newman is known to be a photographer who has made a name for his environmental portraits displaying his models in environments expressing who they were, and integrating them with their work into compositions that referenced the work. His sense of tension, rhythm, and balance guides the eye through his command of composition. He structured his own visual language, setting up photographs with jaunty geometric grace and inventing visual elements where none existed thus adding complexity and depth to his portraits.
The exhibition will also present early work – collages, still life, and graphic images – made in the ‘40s and ‘50s, that show the development of the formality of structure that became his signature. He mastered the abstract arrangement of lines and shapes, light and dark, space and volume – all in service of a purely visual moment and culminating in iconic portraits.
“Arnold Newman conceived a new vocabulary for photographic portraiture,” writes Gregory Heisler, Professor of Photography, Syracuse University, in the introduction to the book Arnold Newman: One Hundred. “It is difficult today to truly appreciate the magnitude of his breakthrough. Before Arnold’s arrival, the photographic portrait was generally a box with somebody in the center. Arnold used what was around him to create visually complex, spatially intriguing portraits that had a psychological dimension. He didn’t just show the environment, he actively employed it for its narrative power.”
The exhibition, containing portraits of many celebrities such as Jean Dubuffet, Marcel Duchamp, David Hockney, Isamu Noguchi and Georgia O’Keefe, ends on June 30, 2018.