André Kertész (United States, born Hungary, 1894–1985)
Silver gelatin print
8 x 10 inches
Art Acquisition Fund 1972-3-1
André Kertész was born in 1894 in Budapest, where he taught himself photography while earning a business diploma and working in the stock exchange. During World War I, he began to develop the photo-reportage approach that made him a seminal figure in the field of photojournalism. Unfortunately, nearly all of these early images were lost in the war, a calamity that would be repeated during World War II, when Kertész would lose another extended period of his oeuvre.
The modest attention accorded Kertész's photographs in Budapest encouraged him to move to Paris in 1925. He lived in Montparnasse, where he frequented the Café du Dôme along with other writers, artists, and collectors. It was there that the photographer met Jan Slivinsky, who offered him his first one-man show in 1927. As a result, Kertész's international reputation grew and his work was included in other major presentations, notably the 1928 Salon Indépendant de la Photographie in Paris and the 1929 exhibition Film und Foto in Stuttgart. Kertész spent World War II in New York, where he worked on the staff of several publications and as a freelance journalist. He had difficulty gaining recognition in America until 1965 when the late curator and photographer John Szarkowski organized a one-man show at the Museum of Modern Art.
The subject of Dunaharaszti—a nude male sitting in a romantic landscape—is unusual within the photographer's oeuvre, but its personal, expressive, and intimate style is characteristic. Kertész made the image during a country sojourn in the spring of 1920.
Text by Stacy Fuessle, from Krannert Art Museum: Selected Works, 2008