Blumenfeld Studio New York 1941 – 1960 focuses on one of the most influential photographers of the 20th century, Erwin Blumenfeld (1897 – 1969), and the most relevant works of his career. Author of extensive production in 35 years of work, Blumenfeld received global attention in the post World War II in the USA, in a context of economical growth and press' dynamism.
Organized by the Musée Nicéphore Niépce in France, and François Cheval its director, curated by Nadia Blumenfeld, his granddaughter, and co-curated by Danniel Rangel, the exhibition celebrates the production developed in his studio, in Central Park, and gathers post-war works (fashion photography, advertising campaigns, portrait of personalities, advertising posters and experimental works recognized by their technical advances for the time). The exhibition also presents over ninety prints, completely restored in colors, cuttings of original publications and fashion films rarely seen, dated from the early 60s.
The exhibition has already been shown in France, Germany, England, Italy and China and now Mega Cultural brings it to FAAP's Museum of Brazilian Art, sponsored by Dafiti.
Blumenfeld had already been hired by French magazines when he lived in Amsterdam; however, his career as a fashion photographer only started when he moved to Paris, in 1936. His work in French publications in the late 1930s was noticed by the British photographer Cecil Beaton, who gave him the opportunity to work for the French magazine Vogue.
Blumenfeld made his first trip to New York in 1939, after his fashion photo shoot on the Eiffel Tower, and went back to Paris as Harper's Bazaar representative photographer. In 1941, after one year imprisoned in a concentration camp in France, occupied by Germans, he moved to New York with his family. There, hired by Harper’s Bazaar magazine, he worked with Carmel Snow, Diana Vreeland in fashion shoots, and after three years he was one of the most famous and well paid photographers from the USA, and was considered by the New York Times as "an exceptional leader in creative photography".
Another highlight of his career in the United States was his 15-year-old partnership with Vogue and Alexander Liberman, who was the magazine's managing editor. Together, they published over 50 covers, including portraits of star models and personalities, such as Babe Paley, Dovima, Jean Patchett and Carmen Dell’Orefice. He also worked regularly with other American fashion magazines, such as Cosmopolitan (for which he photographed Grace Kelly, in 1955) and Life Magazine, besides producing important fashion and beauty advertising campaigns for clients such as Dior, Elizabeth Arden, Max Factor, L'Oréal and Helena Rubinstein.
Highly innovative and going against traditionalism most of the times, Blumenfeld developed his own style, using photomontage, solarization, colorful slides and hybrid techniques. From the beginning of his career, he was influenced by the idea of photography as an art, desiring to be respected as an vanguard artist, instead of a fashion photographer.
Blumenfeld added creative aspects of art to his commercial projects, and frequently his inspirations came from the history of art. To compose a cover for the American Vogue, he studied the work "Girl With a Pearl Earring", by Veermer and "A Bar at the Folies Bergère", by Manet, for a Harper’s Bazaar's editorial, in 1941.