Published January 1, 1950
Vogue January 1, 1950
(German, 1897-1969) Born in Berlin, moved to Holland in 1918, and then emigrated to Paris in 1936. He was released from a German interment camp in 1941 and escaped to the US, becoming an American citizen in 1946. He began his professional career in Germany as an artist working in Dada-style collage. He briefly had a second career in the women's accessories business and then, in the 1930s, began taking photographs professionally. His first work for Vogue was published in 1938 and his relationship with the magazine continued through the 1950s. His fashion work was built on his bold use of color, while his portraits and nudes were shot in the more traditional black-and-white.Blumenfeld's style was greatly influenced by his art background. His best-known photographs, icons of 1950s fashion photography, are manipulated or contain collage-like elements. Two examples of his unique visual style were shot for the cover of American Vogue, one depicting an abstract close-up of Jean Patchett's eye and mouth, and a World War II-period cover of a woman silhouetted under a red cross. Blumenfeld was held in high renown during the 1940s and 50s; at the apex of his career, he was the highest-paid photographer in the world. There have been many major exhibitions of his work, including a 1986 show at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, and a 2006 show at The Hague Museum of Photography in The Netherlands.