Approved biography for Louis A. Goetz
(Courtesy of Christian Peterson)
Louis Albert Goetz was active as a pictorialist in Berkeley, California, for about twenty-five years, beginning in 1900. He was known almost exclusively for his images of nude females, set in nature and often illuminated by heavenly rays. Beginning in 1922, he produced many of his prints as bromoil and bromoil transfers, which allowed handwork and produced rich results.
Goetz became friends with Sigismund Blumann, a prominent San Francisco-based photographic critic who wrote a lead article on him for the February 1926 issue of Camera Craft. In it, Blumann stated that Goetz bought his first camera (a 4-x-5-inch model) in 1895, after seeing it advertised in a French newspaper, suggesting that he was living in that country at the time. He also wrote, "Louis A. Goetz is a Frenchman of the best sort, with all the temperament, artistry, and finesse of that race." Goetz himself is quoted in the article, saying "I had an idea that the nude could be made acceptable in photography as in painting, to even the most fastidious tastes, by subordinating the nudity to the entirety of the picture by making the figure a part of the whole rather than its outstanding feature."
Goetz joined San Francisco’s California Camera Club in 1900, but did not start exhibiting until about fifteen years later. His first known appearance was a solo show at the club in 1914. The next year, two of his nude-in-landscape pictures were included in the photography exhibition at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, winning him a gold medal. From the mid-1910s until 1927, Goetz’s work was regularly accepted by salon juries here and abroad, in Oakland, Los Angeles, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Buffalo, New York, Toronto, London, Glasgow, Madrid, and Turin. Reproductions of his work appeared every year in the American Annual of Photography between 1918 and 1926.
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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