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HomeContents > People > Photographers > Arnold Newman

Born: Arnold Aber Newman 
Dates:  1918, 3 March - 2006, 6 June
Born:  US, NY, New York
Died:  US, NY, New York
Active:  US
Portrait photographer who specialized in using a minimal number of items in the shot but the selected objects really inform us about the subject. His photographs of Igor Stravinsky sitting at a grand piano and Alfred Krupp in his factory are particularly famous.

Preparing biographies

Biography provided by Focal Press 
Born in New York, Newman might have become a painter but for the fact that his family’s finances from several oceanside hotels evaporated in 1938 while he was studying art at the University of Miami. As compensation for disrupted academic study, Newman accepted work with a family friend who ran a chain of cheap, mass production portrait studios (Perskie’s in Philadelphia area department stores). For about a year, Newman makes 49 cent portraits, toils in the darkroom but becomes encouraged by his vision for meaningful photographs. By 1940 Newman adopts the camera as his artist’s tool and makes portraits (especially artists), abstractions, and social documentation. In 1946 he is in New York and begins freelance assignments for Harper’s Bazaar and LIFE. His most famous image is a 1946 portrait of Igor Stravinsky in the extreme lower left corner of a graphic space dominated by the silhouette lid of his piano — ironically, rejected for publication by Brodovitch for Harper’s Bazaar. During the next half century, Newman’s portraits established the high water mark for "environmental portraiture." The highest echelon of these groups — artists, presidents, corporate leaders, musicians, authors — have been the subjects of Newman compositions (most in black and white) that place the personality in a dynamic equilibrium with that person’s tools, creations, symbols, or work space. Max Ernst sits in a high-back, ornate throne next to a kachina, his head wrapped in surreal curls of smoke; Mondrian is amid a geometric grid of his canvases and an easel. Shooting 24 covers for LIFE, Newman’s work has also appeared in Fortune, Look, Holiday, Esquire, Town and Country, and The New Yorker. A recent monograph, Arnold Newman (Taschen, 2000), is a comprehensive survey of Newman’s photographic oeuvre with biographical essays, a chronology, and extensive bibliography. 
(Author: Ken White - Rochester Institute of Technology) 
Michael Peres (Editor-in-Chief), 2007, Focal Encyclopedia of Photography, 4th edition, (Focal Press) [ISBN-10: 0240807405, ISBN-13: 978-0240807409] 
(Used with permission) 

Further research

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René De Carufel
Arnold Newman 
[The Photographer's Eye] 
2003, November
Family history 
If you are related to this photographer and interested in tracking down your extended family we can place a note here for you to help. It is free and you would be amazed who gets in touch.

Visual indexes

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Visual indexes for this photographer are available for subscribers.There is so much more to explore when you subscribe. 

Supplemental information


Arnold Newman

In September 2006 the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at the University of Austin purchased the archive of Arnold Newman. The archive consists of all his slides, negatives, contact sheets and over 2,000 prints. 

Internet biographies

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Wikipedia has a biography of this photographer. Go to website
Getty Research, Los Angeles, USA has an ULAN (Union List of Artists Names Online) entry for this photographer. This is useful for checking names and they frequently provide a brief biography. Go to website
Grove Art Online ( has a biography of this artist. 
[NOTE: This is a subscription service and you will need to pay an annual fee to access the content.]
 Go to website

Internet resources

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Arnold Newman ... 
Arnold Newman ... 
Getty images: Masters gallery 

Printed biographies

The following books are useful starting points to obtain brief biographies but they are not substitutes for the monographs on individual photographers.

• Beaton, Cecil & Buckland, Gail 1975 The Magic Eye: The Genius of Photography from 1839 to the Present Day (Boston and Toronto: Little, Brown & Company) p.226 [Useful short biographies with personal asides and one or more example images.] 
• Capa, Cornell (ed.) 1984 The International Center of Photography: Encyclopedia of Photography (New York, Crown Publishers, Inc. - A Pound Press Book) p.358-359 
• Evans, Martin Marix (Executive ed.) 1995 Contemporary Photographers [Third Edition] (St. James Press - An International Thomson Publishing Company) [Expensive reference work but highly informative.] 
• Lenman, Robin (ed.) 2005 The Oxford Companion to the Photograph (Oxford: Oxford University Press)  [Includes a short biography on Arnold Newman.] 
• Witkin, Lee D. and Barbara London 1979 The Photograph Collector’s Guide (London: Secker and Warburg) p.202 [Long out of print but an essential reference work - the good news is that a new edition is in preparation.] 

Useful printed stuff

If there is an analysis of a single photograph or a useful self portrait I will highlight it here.

• Gruber, Renate and L. Fritz Gruber 1982 The Imaginary Photo Museum (New York: Harmony Books) p.255 
• Newhall, Beaumont 1982 The History of Photography - Fifth Edition (London: Secker & Warburg) [One or more photographs by Arnold Newman are included in this classic history.] 
• Szarkowski, John 1973 Looking at Photographs: 100 Pictures from the Collection of The Museum of Modern Art (New York: The Museum of Modern Art) p.140 [Analyzes a single photograph by Arnold Newman.] 


Photographic collections are a useful means of examining large numbers of photographs by a single photographer on-line. 

In the 1990 survey of 535 American photographic collections Arnold Newman was represented in 65 of the collections. Source: Andrew H. Eskind & Greg Drake (eds.) 1990 Index to American Photographic Collections [Second Enlarged Edition] (Boston, Massachusetts: G.K. Hall & Co.) 
Library of Congress, Washington, USA 
Approximate number of records: 12 records 
Note: A single record may contain more than one photograph.
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