Friday, June 24, 2011

In the spotlight: Mad men

In the spotlight: Anton Bruehl photographs 1920s-1950s opens at MGA tomorrow 3pm Saturday 25 June.

Anton Bruehl was one of the most successful celebrity portraiture, advertising and fashion photographers in New York from the 1920s to the 1950s - and he was Australian.

Bruehl was at the top of his profession for 40 years, regularly producing work for the top Condé Nast publications and photographing the stars of stage and screen.

Bruehl was at the forefront of fashion and advertising magazines moving from illustration to photography. A generation of Australian photographers such as Max Dupain and Athol Shmith admired his work and dreamed of his success.

Gael Newton, Senior Curator of Photographs, The National Gallery of Australia says , “Bruehl pioneered a new colour separation process and produced hundreds of colour photographs for magazines such as Vogue and Vanity Fair.”

Some of Newton's favourite Bruehl images include a classic study of Marlene Dietrich in 1935 (pictured), and a 1938 portrait of Gene Tierney: "It's very evocative of the Mad Men era and a reminder that it started long before the '50s. It's also characteristic of his use of colour and his slightly strange, surreal composition."

Read more:

Portrait of Marlene Dietrich, Hollywood 1935
direct positive colour photograph
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
Gift of American Friends of the National Gallery of Australia Inc., New York NY USA
made possible with the generous support of Anton Bruehl Jr, 2006

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