Published November 1, 1935
Louis Armstrong—trumpeter, vocalist, and jazz pioneer—was not only the godfather of America's first genuine art form but was also among the most influential figures in 20th-century popular music. He is photographed here, horn in hand, by Anton Bruehl in the November 1935 Vanity Fair.
(Australian, 1900-1983) Received his first camera at the age of eight. As a young man he came to New York to work as an electrical engineer. While there, he decided to pursue photography full time and in 1924 he enrolled at the famed Clarence H. White School. The following year he taught at the school, and in 1926 he opened a studio in New York. It remained in operation until 1966. The crisp, graphic style Bruehl developed at the White school was ideal for commercial and still life photography. A feeling of precision and strong contrasts typical of Art Deco and Modernism dominate his images. Many critics consider him the best commercial photographer of the 1920s and 1930s. Aside from his commercial work, Bruehl also photographed theatrical subjects and celebrity portraits. He worked for Vogue, Vanity Fair and House & Garden from the late 20s through the mid 40s. While working at Condé Nast he teamed up with the photo-technician Fernand Bourges to develop a process of color photography. After years of experimentation, their process, call the Bruehl-Bourges Process, debuted in 1928. A complicated and expensive process, it was one of the first commercially viable color printing processes and a commercial boon for the newly built Condé Nast Press in Greenwich, Conn. The company was dedicated to the process and began featuring color work by Bruehl and his contemporaries in every issue. The Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum are two of the major museums that have exhibited his work.