In the course of a worldly career that took him from his native Hungary to Weimar Germany and finally to ultra-chic New York, Martin Munkacsi applied his acclaimed photojournalistic technique to the world of beauty and style, becoming the predominant fashion photographer of the thirties and forties.
In Martin Munkacsi's dynamic photographs, people speed through modern life. Racing against time, their high-spirited images are caught and fixed to an instant. Munkacsi pictured human experience as vigorous improvisation, a kinetic series of unexpected leaps set to a distinctly twentieth-century tempo.
If America’s artists had exiled themselves in the 1920s, by the 1930s an extraordinary influx of talent—both foreign and domestic—established New York City as an international center for the arts.14 Arriving from Berlin in 1931, Vicki Baum experienced the city as a veritable Tower of Babel: conversations took place simultaneously in German, French, and English.
Beaton, Cecil, and Diane Buckland. The Magic image. Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1975. Coke, Van Deren, Ute Eskildsen and Bernd Lohse. Avant-Garde Photography in Germany 1919-1939. Exhibition catalog, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art: San Francisco, 1980.
1896 Born on May 18 in the town of Kolozsvár, Hungary, near city of Munkács. (now Cluj Napoca, Romania). 1902 Family moves to Dicsö-Szent-Marton, Hungary (now Tirnavani, Romania), and changes its name from Mermelstein or Marmorstein to Munkácsi.
1935 XXIXth Salon, S.F.P, Paris, 1937 Photography 1839-1937, Museum of Modem Art, New York. 1940 Tudor City Artists and Photographers, New York. 1965 Glamour Portraits, Museum of Modern Art, New York. "The Photo Essay," Museum of Modern Art, New York.
Joan Munkacsi, Woodstock, New York. J. Paul Getty Museum, Malibu, California. Jessica Brackman, FPG International, New York. Museum of Modem Art, New York. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. International Center of Photography, New York.
We would like to thank Joan Munkacsi for her support and guidance, and the following people for their assistance and advice: Jessica Brackman at FPG International, New York; Helen Munkacsi Sinclair; Marjorie Miller at the Fashion Institute of Technology, New York;
Note: Unless otherwise noted, all works are courtesy of, and copyright by, the Estate of Martin Munkacsi. Pages 18, 20, 21, 25, 29, 33, 44, 45, reproduction courtesy of J. Paul Getty Museum, Malibu, California; pages 14, 16-17, 27, 40, 62, 63, 64, photographs courtesy of F. C. Gundlach, R P. S. Gallerie, Hamburg, Germany;