Rudy Burckhardt, ‘Laurel Hill, Queens’, 1940, Bruce Silverstein Gallery

About Rudy Burckhardt

Photographer, filmmaker, and painter Rudy Burckhardt is best remembered for casual, intimate portraits of his coterie of friends—the New York Abstract Expressionists (including Willem de Kooning, Mark Rothko, Hans Hofmann)—as they emerged on the scene. He captured them at work in their studios, as in Jackson Pollock (1950). Other memorable New York photographs depicted landmarks (Flatiron Building in Summer, 1947), storefronts, and a series of sidewalk scenes zeroing in on pedestrians from the waist down. His use of perspective lends his compositions a formal quality, yet, as Philip Lopate noted in his monograph on Burckhardt, the work comes across as “lighter in every sense: more playful and tender, less melodramatic, more true to the spirit of the everyday.” This proves equally true of Burckhardt’s images of children shot while traveling in Europe, the Caribbean, and North Africa, as well in New York.

Swiss-American, 1914-1999, Basel, Switzerland, based in New York & Searsmont