Biographical / Historical
Peter A. Juley (1862-1937) came to the United States in 1888 from the small German town of Alf, on the Mosel, where he was a telegrapher for the post office. How he first became interested in photography and fine arts is not known, but around 1896 he opened a small portrait studio in Cold Spring, New York, where he also worked as a staff news photographer for Harper's Weekly between 1901 and 1906. His assignments included photographing the funeral of President William McKinley and President Theodore Roosevelt's national tours. Around 1907 Juley moved the business to New York, where his son Paul P. Juley (1890-1975) joined him. A few years later they hired an assistant, Carlton Thorpe, who remained for the life of the firm.
Throughout the firm's long history from 1896 to 1975, Peter A. Juley and Son became the largest and most respected fine-art photography studio in New York, serving museums, galleries, art dealers, private collectors, corporations, conservators and many prominent artists. As members of New York's Salmagundi Club of artists, the Juleys served as official photographers for the National Academy of Design, the New York Public Library, and the Society of American Artists. In the summers, when many artists left the city to teach at colonies in Woodstock, New York, Old Lyme and Mystic, Connecticut, and Gloucester, Massachusetts, the Juleys joined them to take photographs. Combining business with pleasure, they even traveled to the West Coast, where they recorded Diego Rivera completing the murals of the San Francisco Stock Exchange, and on one of their trips they photographed artists of New Mexico's Taos and Santa Fe colonies.
When Peter died in 1937, Paul moved the studio to 225 West 57th Street, a few doors down from the Art Students League and across the street from Carnegie Hall, where many artists had studios. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, Paul continued photographing the works of art associated with the Art Students League and the National Academy of Design. He retired in 1975, at the age of eighty-five.