Known for capturing the essence of a moment, Andre Kertesz was considered one of the most influential photographers of the Twentieth Century. He was born in Budapest, Hungary on July 2, 1894; he died in New York City September 27, 1985.
Lyrical. Spontaneous. Andre Kertesz pictures of everyday life greatly influenced magazine photography in the United States and Europe as his distinctive style showed generations of photographers how to shoot without intruding in the situation or the emotion of the day. After being severely injured during WWI, he returned to Budapest. Surprising, his post-war career initially continued as a clerk on the Budapest Stock Exchange,
Kertesz moved to Paris in 1925 to work as a freelance photographer as artist and political freedom was lacking in his native Hungary. He soon made friends with some of the leading artists of the time including Fernand Leger, Marc Chagall, and Piet Mondrian. In 1928 he bought a Leica, a small handheld camera so small that he was able to comfortably hold it in his hand. This gave him the freedom to move about the streets of Paris. The camera enabled him to capture spontaneous moments of urban life, a subject that would fascinate him throughout his career. With his Leica and the friendship of these artists, he was able to develop a visual history of Paris. His work appeared in French, Italian, and British publications, including prominent magazines and newspapers of the day like the London Sunday Times.
At the onset of Hitler's Germany and the specter of war on the horizon, Kertesz moved to New York City in 1936 to pursue his career as a photographer. He became a United States citizen in 1944. In 1949 he became a staple with Conde Nast. Alongside Alexander Liberman, Kertesz helped to transform and elevate House and Garden Magazine into the publication envisioned by Mr. Liberman.
Once Kertesz retired from commercial work in 1962, his work began to be recognized as fine art photography. His personal projects harkened back to his early work in Hungary - street scenes, still-life and the movements of everyday people. Kertesz work is in numerous private and public collections including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Art Institute of Chicago, J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, CA ; Center for Creative Photography, Tucson, AZ; Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC; Pompidou Center, Paris, France.