Last Updated July 13, 2018

Arnold Newman

American (Born 1918 - Died 2006 ) PREMIUM LISTING Featured
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Address: Arnold Newman Archive


People and portraits
Influence: Historically influential or important

Arnold Newman is known for pioneering the environmental portrait. He preferred to shoot in the subject’s home or workplace and use their surroundings to give additional insight into their personality. He is also known for his carefully composed, abstract still lifes.

Newman was born in 1918 in New York City. He was raised and attended schools in Atlantic City, N.J. and Miami Beach, FL. He studied art under a scholarship at the University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL from 1936 to 1938. As well as being acknowledged as the pioneer of the environmental portrait, he is also known for his still life and abstract photography. He is quoted as saying, 'We do not take pictures with our cameras, but with our hearts and minds.

Newman began his career in photography in 1938 working at portrait studios in Philadelphia, Baltimore, and West Palm Beach, and at the same time pursued his interest in abstract and documentary photography. In June of 1941, Beaumont Newhall of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and Alfred Stieglitz “discovered” him, and he was given an exhibit with Ben Rose at the A.D. Gallery in September. There he began working on experimental portraiture, developing an approach that has been influential in portrait photography today. In June of 1942, he returned home to Miami Beach, Florida, because of the war.

In 1945 his Philadelphia Museum of Art one-man exhibit, 'Artists Look Like This', attracted nationwide attention. Now well established, he moved to New York in 1946 and opened his studio and became a member of the American Society of Magazine Photographers (ASMP.) Newman’s new approach to portraiture began its influence through key publications in America and abroad. Exhibits and purchases of his work by major museums quickly followed.

Arnold Newman authored many books, including Bravo Stravinsky, 1967; One Mind’s Eye: The Portraits and Other Photographs of Arnold Newman, 1974 (soft covers published 1976 and 1985); Faces USA, 1978; The Great British, in English and American editions, 1979; Artists: Portraits from Four Decades, 1980; I Grand Fotographi-Arnold Newman, Gruppo Editoriale Fabbri, Milan Italy, in Italian, Spanish, English and American editions, 1983-84;Arnold Newman: Five Decades, 1986; Arnold Newman in Florida, 1987; Arnold Newman’s Americans, 1992; Arnold Newman, in Japanese and Korean, 1992; Arnold Newman-Selected Photographs, 1999; Arnold Newman, Taschen Publishers, in English, German and French, 2000; Arnold Newman: The Early Work, Steidl publishers, 2008.

In 1972 an exhibit “Arnold Newman” at G.E.H. circulated throughout America and abroad. “The Great British” was commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery, London, in 1978 for a major exhibition (and book) and for their permanent collection.

'If the background becomes overwhelming and you lose the personality, then I have not made a good portrait and it is not a good picture. I think the world is full of intelligent people who are not really trying to be flattered; what they really want is to be understood'.

Newman died in New York City on June 6, 2006.

The Arnold Newman Prize is awarded annually to a photographer whose work demonstrates a compelling new vision in the genre of portraiture. The Arnold Newman Prize was established by the Arnold and Augusta Newman Foundation in 2009 to recognize and reward excellence in new directions in photographic portraiture. The annual prize winner receives an award of $20,000 and is acknowledged in New York City with an exhibit and celebration. The winner’s work will also be exhibited at the PhoPa Gallery in Portland, Maine. The prize is funded by the Arnold and Augusta Newman Foundation and administered by Maine Media Workshops + College.

The Newman Prize is administered by Maine Media Workshops + College. Photographers must submit twelve photographs that represent a cohesive vision and body of work, a resume, and a statement of up to 500 words. The statement should address how the award will make a difference in the photographer’s art, practice, and career. A panel of renowned jurors will review the applications and select a finalist for the award. There is a $55 entry fee per submission. See the website for further information.

Getty Images handles the reproduction rights for Arnold Newman's images.


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