American Viscose Corporation, Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania, 1944 Donation André Kertész, Ministère de la Culture (France), Médiathèque de l’architecture et du patrimoine, diffusion RMN-GP
ANDRÉ KERTÉSZ

TIRES / VISCOSE

One of the protagonists of street-photography along with the likes of Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Frank, the Hungarian André Kertész obtained American citizenship in 1943, which allowed him to work as a photographer in the United States. Famous for the snapshots that express the irresistible vitality of the city and people who populate it, his most important works were made on commission the following year. At the height of the war he photographed, for the famous magazine ‘Fortune’, the Firestone tire factory, engaged in sending supplies to troops at the front, then the American Viscose Corporation plants, concentrating on the relationship between man and machine and the research into the production of an artificial fibre. Extremely rare and never shown before, these reportages highlight the typical features of Kértesz’s work: details of a thread or a hand at work are treated as precious still lives.

Exhibition produced in collaboration with the Médiathèque de l’architecture et du patrimoine and Diaphane within Usimage 2019.

Location

Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio in Bologna
Casa Saraceni
Via Luigi Carlo Farini, 15 – Bologna

BIOGRAPHY

Born in Budapest in 1894, André Kertész was offered his first camera in 1912. When, in 1914, he was drafted into the Austro-Hungarian army, he brought it along. The photographs he made during World War I represent the beginnings of his formation as an artist. Unlike other war photographs, Kertész’s focused on the lives of soldiers, not on the action. His subtle images of the moments of joy and contemplation, away from the roughest aspects of the conflict, show a revolutionary use of the hand-held camera.
In 1925 he settled in Paris. Working for many European magazines, Kertész found in Paris enthralling subjects. The city, the architecture, the streets, the people inspired him an approach that will make him famous as a pioneer of street photography.
In 1936, he moved to New York, where he had been hired by the Keyston Agency. At the outbreak of World War II he was caught in tragic uncompromising circumstances: unable to go back to Europe because of his Jewish origin and regarded with suspicion by the American government due to his Hungarian passport. When the war ended, he was isolated from the artistic community, but continued to live in the United States making his living as a photographer.
For nearly twenty years his gifts remained relatively unrecognized in New York. It was not until 1964, when John Sarkowski, curator at the MoMA, organized a solo exhibition that Kertész’s career was reawakened. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, his work was shown regularly at the major international museums—having solo shows in Paris, Tokyo, London, Stockholm, Budapest and Helsinki.
Short before passing away, in 1984 Kertész donated his negatives and archives to France. The Media Library for Architecture and Heritage in Paris preserves today over 100.000 negatives, as well as his contact sheets, a part of his library and his correspondence.

American Viscose Corporation, Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania, 1944 Donation André Kertész, Ministère de la Culture (France), Médiathèque de l’architecture et du patrimoine, diffusion RMN-GP
Location

Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio in Bologna
Casa Saraceni
Via Luigi Carlo Farini, 15 - Bologna

Built in the early sixteenth century, this is one of the most interesting Renaissance buildings in Bologna. Once the residence of the noble Saraceni family, today it is an intricate, versatile exhibition space that hosts temporary exhibitions and the offices of the Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio in Bologna.