A Finding Aid to the Hans Namuth Photographs and Papers, 1945-1985, in the Archives of American Art

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.namuhans
Creators:
Namuth, Hans
Dates:
1945-1985
Languages:
English
Collection is in English.
Physical Description:
4.5 linear feet
Repository:
The papers of New York photographer and filmmaker Hans Namuth measure 4.5 linear feet and date from 1945 to 1985. The bulk of the collection consists of photographs taken by Namuth of New York artists. Also included are papers regarding Namuth's film about Alfred Stieglitz and other professional files.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The papers of New York photographer and filmmaker Hans Namuth measure 4.5 linear feet and date from 1945 to 1985. The bulk of the collection consists of photographs taken by Namuth of New York artists. Also included are papers regarding Namuth's film about Alfred Stieglitz and other professional files.
The first series contains materials related to the planning and production of Namuth's film Alfred Stieglitz, Photographer. Documentation includes articles, correspondence, exhibition materials, grant program request sheets, magazines and catalogs, photo requests, photographs and photographic materials, notes and research, shot lists, script drafts and fragments, interview transcripts, and correspondence. Interviewees include Ansel Adams, Arnold Newman, Aaron Copland, Dorothy Norman, and others.
The second series contains various writings and papers relating to Namuth's professional activities, including Namuth's exhibition at the 1958 Brussels World Fair, business and financial records, papers on The Construction of Boston by Kennth Koch, correspondence, a notebook, and various printed materials. Namuth's correspondence is with James Boynton, Bernard Karpel, the Museum of Modern Art, Cynthia Navaretta, Elizabeth Shaw, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and the Yale University School of Art and Architecture.
Photographs taken by Hans Namuth depict prominent American (primarily New York-based) artists, architects, writers, musicians, and art critics. Artists are shown in their studios or homes, either at work or posing for the camera, and include Alexander Calder, Stuart Davis, Willem de Kooning, Grace Hartigan, Edward Hopper, Jasper Johns, Lee Krasner, Isamu Noguchi, Jackson Pollock, Robert Rauschenberg, Mark Rothko, and Andrew Wyeth, among many others. Photographs of other individuals include Marcel Breuer, John Cage, Leo Castelli, Buckminster Fuller, and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, and others. Also found are photographs of exhibitions, openings, and art-related events from the 1950s and 1960s, such as a traveling Picasso exhibit and a Robert Rauschenberg opening at the Jewish Museum. Most photographs are black and white, but a few color prints are included.

Arrangement
Arrangement
This collection is arranged as 3 series.
Series 1: Alfred Stieglitz Film Project, 1945-circa 1981 (Box 1, OV 11; 0.8 linear feet)
Series 2: Professional Files, 1953-1985 (Box 1; 0.3 linear feet)
Series 3: Photographs, 1945-1984 (Box 2-10; 3.4 linear feet)

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Hans Namuth (1915-1990) was a German-American photographer and filmmaker who lived and worked in New York. He was primarily known for his work photographing prominent American artists in the 1950s and 1960s.
Namuth was born in Germany but left for France in 1933 after the rise of the Nazi Party. While in France, he struck up a friendship with fellow German Georg Reisner. From 1935 to 1939, Namuth and Reisner worked together as photographers primarily in Paris. His first works to catch the public's attention came from an assignment in Barcelona that accidentally coincided with the beginning of the Spanish Civil War in 1936. Following a short internment in Nazi-occupied France, Namuth left for the United States.
After taking photography classes with Alexey Brodovitch, art director of Harper's Bazaar, Namuth met Jackson Pollock at an exhibition in 1950 and asked to photograph the artist at work. His subsequent photographs of Pollock raised both artists' profiles. Namuth would spend the next three decades photographing major New York artists, architects, and art-related events for commission and for his own studio. He directed a number of films in collaboration with Paul Falkenberg and published several books of photographs. Namuth died in Long Island in 1990.

Administration
Processing Information
The collection was processed by intern Kelly Overstreet in 2017.
Author
Kelly Overstreet
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The collection was donated 1972-1985 by Hans Namuth.

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Conditions Governing Use
The Hans Namuth photographs and papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
Preferred Citation
Hans Namuth photographs and papers, 1945-1985. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Related Materials
Also at the Archives of American Art is an oral history interview with Hans Namuth, Aug. 12-Sept. 8, 1971. Additional Hans Namuth papers are located at the Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Massachusetts -- Boston Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Interviews Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographs Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Artists -- New York (State) -- New York Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Filmmakers -- New York (State) -- New York Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art critics -- New York (State) -- New York Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Musicians -- New York (State) -- New York Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Transcripts Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographers -- New York (State) -- New York Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Davis, Stuart, 1892-1964 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Stieglitz, Alfred, 1864-1946 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Adams, Ansel, 1902-1984 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Mies van der Rohe, Ludwig, 1886-1969 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Breuer, Marcel, 1902- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Newman, Arnold, 1918-2006 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Boynton, Jack, 1928-2010 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Krasner, Lee, 1908-1984 -- Photographs Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Jewish Museum (New York, N.Y.) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Museum of Modern Art (New York, N.Y.) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Norman, Dorothy, 1905-1997 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Wyeth, Andrew, 1917-2009 -- Photographs Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Yale University. School of Art and Architecture Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
De Kooning, Willem, 1904- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Picasso, Pablo, 1881-1973 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Noguchi, Isamu, 1904-1988 -- Photographs Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Cage, John, 1912-1992 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Hartigan, Grace Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Koch, Kenneth, 1925- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Johns, Jasper, 1930- -- Photographs Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Rothko, Mark, 1903-1970 -- Photographs Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Exposition universelle et internationale (1958: Brussels, Belgium) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Fuller, R. Buckminster (Richard Buckminster), 1895- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Hopper, Edward, 1882-1967 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Copland, Aaron, 1900-1990 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Rauschenberg, Robert, 1925-2008 -- Photographs Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Navaretta, Cynthia Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Pollock, Jackson, 1912-1956 -- Photographs Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Castelli, Leo Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Calder, Alexander, 1898-1976 -- Photographs Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Shaw, Elizabeth Roberts, 1921- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Karpel, Bernard, 1911-1986 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives of American Art
750 9th Street, NW
Victor Building, Suite 2200
Washington, D.C. 20001
https://www.aaa.si.edu/services/questions
https://www.aaa.si.edu/