Andrè Kertèsz and the Paris Avant-Garde

New York

21 April — 4 June 2005

Press Release

Andrè Kertèsz (American, b. Hungary, 1894-1985) is considered by many to be the single greatest photographer of the 20th century. Kertèsz began his photographic career in his native Hungary, but it was during the eleven years in Paris, between the two World Wars, that the artist cultivated the experimental innovations and foundations of his oeuvre. A pioneer of Formalism, Surrealism, and the lyrical street photograph, Kertèsz was a member of a celebrated milieu that included Piet Mondrian, Fernand Leger and Tristan Tzara. Thanks to his progressive vision and evinced by his influence on artists such as Man Ray, Brassai, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy and Henri Cartier-Bresson, Kertèsz established himself as one of Europe’s leading photographers of the 1920s and 1930s.

Within the first decades of the 20th Century, Paris became the art capital of the world, attracting artists, writers and poets from Hungary, Germany, England and the United States. The hub of a burgeoning art mecca, and the birthplace of photography, Paris provided an environment conducive to cultivating, expressing and experimenting with wild forms of creative energy. The years between the two World Wars proved particularly fertile for the arts. Kertèsz and his contemporaries thrived off one another, each on the brink of discovery and even greater creativity. Taking full advantage of all that modern urban life presented by capturing the fantastic nature inherent in daily experience, these artists worked in radically new ways. No single photographer embodies this legacy more completely than Andrè Kertèsz, as this exhibition seeks to illustrate.