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HomeContents > People > Photographers > Paul Outerbridge

Names:
Born: Paul Everard Outerbridge Jr. 
Other: Paul Outerbridge Jr. 
Dates:  1896, 15 August - 1958, 17 October
Born:  US, NY, New York
Active:  US
 
  
American photographer. He experimented with early color processes (tri-color carbro) and later gained reputation as a fashion and portrait photographer frequently using nudes.
 
The Paul Outerbridge Papers (1915-1979) are held at the Getty Research Insitute, Special Collections.
 
Laguna Beach Museum of Art received his estate and they may hold the copyright. 
  
Artist statement: 
  
Art is life seen through man's inner craving for perfection and beauty--his escape from the sordid realities of life into a world of his imagining. Art accounts for at least a third of our civilization, and it is one of the artist's principal duties to do more than merely record life or nature. To the artist is given the privilege of pointing the way and inspiring towards a better life.

Preparing biographies


Biography provided by Focal Press 
  
Trained in sculpture, illustration, and theater design, Outerbridge quickly switched allegiance to photography after service in the Canadian Royal Air Corps and a job photographing airplane parts in Oregon. In 1921 he enrolled in the Clarence White School in New York. Within a few years he was teaching aesthetics and composition there. By 1924 he did commissions for Vanity Fair, Harper’s Bazaar, and Vogue. While in Paris (1925–1929) as art director of Paris Vogue, he was embraced by the group of avant-garde artists that included Duchamp, Dali, Picabia, and Man Ray. He returned to the United States in 1929 and continued as a popular commercial photographer for his usual magazine clients now including House Beautiful. During the 1920s and 1930s his platinum prints were mostly done in the studio and were characterized by bold composition, a concern for volume, line, and abstraction that were, as he stated, "devoid of sentimental association." His technical skill was unrivaled in the unique production of tri-color carbro prints; this process and his philosophy were described in his book, Photography In Color (1940). Later in his life he moved to Laguna Beach, California, and traveled extensively. After WWII his more provocative 1930s color work with the female nude gradually became known. This work, held in his private collection, revealed more Freudian preoccupations with sexual fetishism, decadence, and erotic surrealism. 
  
(Author: Ken White - Rochester Institute of Technology) 
  
Michael Peres (Editor-in-Chief), 2007, Focal Encyclopedia of Photography, 4th edition, (Focal Press) [ISBN-10: 0240807405, ISBN-13: 978-0240807409] 
(Used with permission) 
  

Further research

 
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Thumbnail
Paul Outerbridge
Self-portrait 
1930 (ca)
 
  
Family history 
  
If you are related to this photographer and interested in tracking down your extended family we can place a note here for you to help. It is free and you would be amazed who gets in touch. 
  
alan@luminous-lint.com
 
  
 
  

Visual indexes

 
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Internet biographies

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Wikipedia has a biography of this photographer.Show on this siteGo to website
Getty Research, Los Angeles, USA has an ULAN (Union List of Artists Names Online) entry for this photographer. This is useful for checking names and they frequently provide a brief biography. Go to website
Grove Art Online (www.groveart.com) has a biography of this artist. 
[NOTE: This is a subscription service and you will need to pay an annual fee to access the content.]
Show on this siteGo to website
The Cleveland Museum of Art, USA has a biography on this photographer. [Scroll down the page on this website as the biography may not be immediately visible.]Show on this siteGo to website
 

Printed biographies

The following books are useful starting points to obtain brief biographies but they are not substitutes for the monographs on individual photographers.

 
• Capa, Cornell (ed.) 1984 The International Center of Photography: Encyclopedia of Photography (New York, Crown Publishers, Inc. - A Pound Press Book) p.372 
  
• Coke, Van Deren with Diana C. Du Pont 1986 Photography: A Facet of Modernism (New York: Hudson Hills Press, The San Francisco Museum of Art) p.180 
  
• Fernandez, Horacio (ed.) 2000 Fotografía Pública: Photography in Print 1919-1939 (Aldeasa) p.188 [This Spanish exhibition catalogue is one of the best sources for illustrations of photomontage and book design for the period between the two World Wars.] 
  
• Lenman, Robin (ed.) 2005 The Oxford Companion to the Photograph (Oxford: Oxford University Press)  [Includes a short biography on Paul Outerbridge.] 
  
• Witkin, Lee D. and Barbara London 1979 The Photograph Collector’s Guide (London: Secker and Warburg) p.206-207 [Long out of print but an essential reference work - the good news is that a new edition is in preparation.] 
  
 

Useful printed stuff

If there is an analysis of a single photograph or a useful self portrait I will highlight it here.

 
• Bauret, Gabriel (ed. and text) 2001 Color Photography (New York: Assouline) [Includes example color photographs by Paul Outerbridge] 
  
• Gruber, Renate and L. Fritz Gruber 1982 The Imaginary Photo Museum (New York: Harmony Books) p.256 
  
• Naef, Weston 1995 The J. Paul Getty Museum - Handbook of the Photographic Collection (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum) p.190 
  
• Newhall, Beaumont 1982 The History of Photography - Fifth Edition (London: Secker & Warburg) [One or more photographs by Paul Outerbridge are included in this classic history.] 
  
• Sobieszek, Robert A. and Deborah Irmas 1994 the camera i: Photographic Self-Portraits (Los Angeles: LACMA - Los Angeles County Museum of Art) p.228, Plate 71 [When the Audrey and Sydney Irmas collection was donated to LACMA - Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1992 the museum gained a remarkable collection of self portraits of notable photographers. If you need a portrait of Paul Outerbridge this is a useful starting point.] 
  
• Szarkowski, John 1973 Looking at Photographs: 100 Pictures from the Collection of The Museum of Modern Art (New York: The Museum of Modern Art) p.80 [Analyzes a single photograph by Paul Outerbridge.] 
  
 

Quotations

The wit and wisdom.

 
"Art is life seen through man‘s inner craving for perfection and beauty—his escape from the sordid realities of life into a world of his imagining. Art accounts for at least a third of our civilization, and it is one of the artist‘s principal duties to do more than merely record life or nature. To the artist is given the privilege of pointing the way and inspiring towards a better life."
"I had a growing feeling that most of the best art of the world in painting and sculpture had been done, and that this newest form was more related to the progress and tempo of modern science of the eye."
 
  
 
  
 
  
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