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HomeContents > People > Photographers > Paul Burty Haviland

Names:
Other: Paul B. Haviland 
Other: Paul Haviland 
Dates:  1880, 17 June - 1950, 21 December
Born:  France, Paris
Died:  France, Paris
Active:  US
 
  
Involved with Alfred Stieglitz and the Photo-Secession in New York and in 1910 he became associate editor for "Camera Work".

Preparing biographies

Approved biography for Paul Burty Haviland
(Courtesy of Christian Peterson)

 
  
Paul Burty Haviland was born in Paris, on June 17, 1880, the son of the founder of Haviland and Company, a china manufacturer in Limoges. In 1898, he obtained a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the University of Paris, and three years later, another undergraduate degree from Harvard University. Shortly thereafter, he became the American representative for his father’s firm, working in New York and summering back in France.
 
In early 1908, Haviland went to the Little Galleries of the Photo-Secession to view a show of drawings by August Rodin, where he met Alfred Stieglitz. A few months later, he put up the money to allow Stieglitz to continue operating the gallery, which soon was known simply as 291, after its address on Fifth Avenue. Haviland became close to Stieglitz, began making creative photographs himself, and was admitted into the Photo-Secession, the exclusive group of pictorial photographers. He produced portraits, figure studies, and pictures of New York at night, printed in platinum and gum-bichromate. His most striking image, however, was made on one of his trans-Atlantic trips, in 1910. Titled Passing Steamer, it features railings and other geometrical elements in the foreground, making for a modernist image, despite its soft-focus effects.
 
This image, along with others by Haviland, appeared as a photogravure in Stieglitz’s exquisite publication, Camera Work. A total of nine by him were featured, in the issues of October 1909, July 1912, and April 1914. In 1910, Haviland became an associate editor for the quarterly, regularly contributing articles, reviews, and French translations, over the next four years. For the special issue of July 1914, comprised of many essays addressing "What 291 Means to Me," he described the gallery as a "unique oasis of cultivation."
 
Haviland rarely exhibited his pictures. Some were seen in 1909 at the photographic salon organized by the Photo-Club de Paris. The next year, seven were included in Buffalo’s International Exhibition of Pictorial Photography, which Haviland assisted Stieglitz in hanging. And, in 1912, he won first place in the annual exhibition sponsored by the John Wanamaker department store in Philadelphia.
 
By this time, Haviland’s interests were veering increasingly towards modern art, and he eventually owned work by Rodin, Claude Monet, and John Marin. Along with Edward Steichen, he helped find contemporary French paintings and sculpture for shows at 291. In 1913, he coauthored with Marius de Zayas, the book A Study of the Modern Evolution of Plastic Expression, and two years later he helped found the avant-garde magazine, 291. For its September-October 1915 issue, he wrote, "We are living in the age of the machine. . . The photographic print is one element of this new trinity: man, the creator, with thought and will; the machine, mother-action; and their product, the work accomplished."
 
In 1915, Haviland returned to France to continue work in the family business. Five years later, he took over another high-end manufacturer, Lalique, run by a family he had recently married into. After his father died in 1922, ownership of the Haviland company was disputed in court for three years, creating financial challenges to his lifestyle. He unsuccessfully attempted commercial photography, and in 1934 became a gentleman vintner. Paul B. Haviland died in Paris, on December 21, 1950. 
  
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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We welcome institutions and scholars willing to test the sharing of biographies for the benefit of the photo-history community. The biography above is a part of this trial.
 
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