|Born: Marshall Rutgers Kernochan
Other: Marshall Kernochan
|1880 - 1955
Approved biography for Marshall R. Kernochan
(Courtesy of Christian Peterson)
Marshall Rutgers Kernochan was born in 1880 into a wealthy family. In 1900, he began extensive studies in music composition, both in this country and Germany. Around the same time, he took up pictorial photography. He joined the prestigious Camera Club of New York and in 1901 three of his landscapes were included in the club’s annual members’ exhibition. He probably met Alfred Stieglitz there, as he soon became allied with Stieglitz’s new breakaway group, the Photo-Secession.
As a member of the Secession, Kernochan exhibited in a number of its shows, though always in modest numbers. His work first appeared in A Collection of American Pictorial Photographs Arranged by the Photo-Secession, seen at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Institute in 1904. It was included in the group’s first three annual members’ shows at the Little Galleries of the Photo-Secession, from 1905 to 1907. And Stieglitz also presented Kernochan’s pictures in the 1909 show at New York’s National Arts Club and the International Exhibition of Pictorial Photography, seen at Buffalo’s Albright Art Gallery in 1910.
Kernochan contributed one image to Stieglitz’s exquisite quarterly Camera Work, the mouthpiece of the Photo-Secession. In October 1909, it featured his Ponte-Vecchio—Florence, as a richly printed photogravure. The picture, undoubtedly made on a leisure trip to Europe, is dark, suggestive, and compositionally bold, with fading sunlight and significant reflections.
In 1910, Kernochan was considered one of the best amateur pianists and composers in New York. The next year, five songs he wrote were performed in a musical in Holmesdale, Massachusetts, but he generated little income from music at this time. At age thirty-three, he was still living at home with his wealthy, widowed mother and enjoying a private chauffer and membership in a dozen New York social clubs. Needing more money than his mother was apparently willing to provide, he attempted to secure steady income from the estate of an insane aunt, but was rebuffed by the state Supreme Court, according to a March 28, 1914, article in the New York Times.
In 1931, Kernochan founded the Galaxy Music Corporation. He remained president of this publishing firm until his death in 1955, when his son, John, took over. John Marshall Kernochan eventually went on to become a prominent copyright lawyer and founder of the Kernochan Center for Law, Media and the Arts at Columbia University.
Christian A. Peterson Pictorial Photography at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (Christian A. Peterson: Privately printed, 2012)
This biography is courtesy and copyright of Christian Peterson and is included here with permission.
Date last updated: 1 June 2013.
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