Lillian Bassman

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Lillian Bassman (born June 15, 1917 in New York ; † February 13, 2012 there ) was an American painter and photographer .


Her parents were Jewish immigrants who came to the United States from Russia in 1905 and settled in Brooklyn, New York. In 1933 Lillian studied graphic design at the Textile High School in Manhattan, where she met the photographer and later husband Paul Himmel , whom she married in 1935. The subjects of her photographic work, carried out together with her husband, were the war in Europe and the poverty of the population.

From the 1940s to the 1960s she worked as art director at Junior Bazaar and later at Harper's Bazaar , promoting the careers of photographers such as Richard Avedon , Robert Frank , Louis Faurer and Arnold Newman . Under the guidance of Russian émigré Alexey Brodovitch , she began taking photos herself, mostly in black and white, and published most of her work in Harper's Bazaar between 1950 and 1965. A feature of her photographs is that they are relatively blurred and on the border of the recognizable. In the early 1970s, she interrupted her photography career for 15 years. She designed her own fashion collection and taught photography at Parsons The New School of Design . In the mid-1990s she began to photograph fashion again. Vogue , the New York Times and John Galliano were among her clients .

Lillian Bassman's fashion photography moves between experimental aesthetics and elegant, atmospheric productions. Her unique style is shaped by experimental photographic processes that give her photos the look of painted pictures. She is one of the great formative photographers in the world of fashion.

Private life

When she was just six years old, she met her future husband, photographer Paul Himmel, in Coney Island . They met again at 13 and then moved in together at 15. They married in 1935 and stayed together until Heaven's death in 2009. The couple have two children together.

Exhibitions (selection)

  • 1974: Staempfli Gallery, New York
  • 1993: Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York
  • 1993: Vanites , Palais de Tokyo , Paris
  • 1994: Jackson Fine Art Gallery, Atlanta / Georgia
  • 1994: Homage to Lillian Bassman , Carrousel du Louvre , Paris
  • 1997: Fashion Institute of Technology, New York
  • 1997: Peter Fetterman Gallery, Los Angeles
  • 2002: Prado Garden, Madrid
  • 2003: Galerie f5,6, Munich
  • 2004: Staley-Wise Gallery, New York
  • 2005: Farmani Gallery, Los Angeles
  • 2005: A Touch of mystery , 3rd Triennial of Photography , Photography Monika Mohr Galerie, Hamburg
  • 2006: Selection # 1 - works in black and white , gallery f5,6, Munich
  • 2006: Retrospective, Peter Fetterman Gallery, Santa Monica
  • 2009/2010: Deichtorhallen , House of Photography, Hamburg
  • 2012: Two lives for photography-Lilian Bassman and Paul Himmel . Grassi Museum for Applied Art , Leipzig; Catalog.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. William Grimes: Lillian Bassman, Fashion and Fine-Art Photographer, Dies at 94. The New York Times , February 13, 2012, accessed February 14, 2012 .
  2. Catrin Lorch: Bilder vom Pelz - The American fashion photographer Lillian Bassman has died; in Süddeutsche Zeitung on February 15, 2012
  3. Boris Friedewald: Masters of Light - Great Women Photographers from Two Centuries . Munich 2014, ISBN 978-3-7913-4673-1 , pp. 34–37
  4. ^ Lillian Bassman obituary. Retrieved November 16, 2014 (eng).
  5. ^ Lillian Bassman & Paul Himmel - The first retrospective. Deichtorhallen Hamburg , accessed on February 14, 2012 .