André Kertész, ‘Distortion #20’, 1930-1940, Contemporary Works/Vintage Works

A rare early printing of this important distortion that was the back cover of the Kertesz's distortion book, probably printed in the 1930s, but printed no later than the mid-1940s. Ferrotyped silver print on single weight paper numbered 20A in pencil by the artist and the estate number on the verso of the print. This passed black lighting with no glow indicating a print from before 1950s.

The warmth of this ferrotyped print is similar to other Paris prints, but the single weight of the paper may indicate a wartime print (1938-45), when paper was being conserved by issuing mostly single weights, although a lot of the Paris prints from the 1930s are on similar paper and single weight. The print has very good presence.

Image rights: André Kertész Estate

André Kertész, Distortions, (Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1976), back cover.

Estate of photographer.

About André Kertész

An important influence on photography both as journalism and as art, André Kertész is known for the visual lyricism and humanism that characterized his practice. A Hungarian-born Frenchman, Kertész moved to New York in 1936, having spent 1925-1936 in Paris at the centre of the émigré art world, where he photographed fellow artists such as Brassaï, Piet Mondrian, Marc Chagall, Alexander Calder, and Constantin Brancusi. It was not until 1964 that his work gained recognition in the U.S., when he was given a one-man show at the Museum of Modern Art. Today he is best known for his series of Polaroid studies of Washington Square Park, as well as his distorted nudes of the 1930s, which take the radical angles and manipulation of light and shadow of his street scenes and apply them to the human body to obtain a similar de-familiarizing effect. “The moment always dictates in my work,” Kertész once said. “Everybody can look, but they don't necessarily see ... I see a situation and I know that it's right.”

Hungarian, 1894-1985, Budapest, Hungary, based in New York, New York

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