|Product Details |
Harry N Abrams
From Publishers Weekly
This handsome and long-awaited 10 1/4" x 12 1/4" monograph is, surprisingly, the first to be devoted to the work of Swiss-born photographer, filmmaker and painter Rudy Burckhardt (1914-1999). While his name may not be known to many outside of that loose agglomeration of downtown artists, poets, dancers and filmmakers usually referred to as the New York School, many of Burckhardt’s photographs—particularly his stunning shots of New York buildings in the 1940s—have become iconic images, appearing on posters and postcards worldwide. The 300 or so photographs presented here, including New York street scenes, European cities, artists in their studios (DeKooning, Guston, Pollock and Rothko among them), still lifes and nudes, are linked by Burckhardt’s eye for the subtle, his writerly sense of indirection and a gentle mischief. Burckhardt immigrated to the U.S. in 1935 in search of adventure, quickly forming a lifelong friendship with the writer and art critic Edwin Denby, who introduced him to his many friends in the worlds of music and theater, including Paul Bowles, Virgil Thomson and Orson Welles. As Lopate points out in a warm and insightful essay, Burckhardt’s own artistic strategy was to "hide in plain sight" by quietly attaching himself to New York’s most progressive artistic circles. Indeed, it was probably the relative insularity of the then avant-garde that, combined with Burckhardt’s own lack of interest in self-promotion, has resulted in his being so unknown outside of a tiny, if luminous, circle: writing in 1980, the poet John Ashbery described Burckhardt as a "subterranean monument." Happily, this book should go a long way towards bringing his work above ground.
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Rudolph (Rudy) Burckhardt (1914-1999) was born in Basel, Switzerland, and immigrated to the United States in 1935, hoping to forge a career in photography. By the 1940s, he had begun to create a series of now-classic photographs of New York, which uniquely capture the energy and chaotic beauty of the city. Burckhardt soon became well-known in New York art circles, and began to photograph the great New York artists of the time, creating legendary portraits of icons like de Kooning and Pollock. Gradually, he became an important cultural force in his own right, not only as a photographer, but also as a maker of underground films, and, later in life, as a painter. This book is the first comprehensive monograph on Burckhardt's photographs. It includes not only his New York street scenes and his artists' portraits, but also his views of European cities, studies of children and the female nude, and views of the natural world. The range and brilliance of Burckhardt's work have only begun to become known outside the inner circle of his creative associates. This book will help redress that lack of recognition-it is a feast for the eyes of anyone who loves good photography.