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Erwitt, Santa Monica, 1955

Elliott Erwitt

Born: 1928 in Paris

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Elliot Erwitt is one of the most respected photographers of a generation featuring names like Robert Frank, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Willy Ronis and Lee Freelander.

Elliot Erwitt was born in France to Russian parents, but lived his first 10 years in Italy, before his family fled from Mussolini’s regime to the USA. While Erwitt completed High School, he worked at a commercial photo lab where he copied signed pictures of celebrities. On his travels he met Edward Steichen, Robert Capa and Roy Stryker, key figures of a photographic generation prior to Erwitt’s. In their own ways, all three became fascinated by Erwitt’s mode of expression and became his photographic mentors and advisors. In 1953 he was invited by Robert Capa
to become a member of Magum Photos, the most important and reputed photo agency of the age. Today he is still an active and influential member and contributes to strengthening the agency’s portfolio.
Despite his age, Erwitt continues to produce pictures and is currently working on several book projects. And although he is often described as a street photographer, Erwitt does not like to define himself. “I wouldn’t call myself anything. I don’t wake up in the morning and think I’m going to be funny or anything like that.”
The nearest he comes is the definition of craftsman, someone who works in the “traditional” manner: a Leica, a film and an aspiration to take good pictures that entertain and surprise people. You could say that his pictures show a somewhat rosier version of reality than many of his Magnum colleagues, but his pictures often have an underlying message. He wants to show us a “just-around-the-corner” slice of reality in the form of snapshots. Despite in several interviews having expressed a resistance to pushing a political agenda, Erwitt has taken a number of pictures that have subsequently come to symbolise important political issues or moments. For example his iconic picture of a dark-skinned man drinking from a shabby drinking fountain for ‘colored people’, or the picture of a smoking Kennedy full of hope for the future – and three years later a devastated Jacqueline Kennedy beside her late husband’s stars-andstripes-covered coffin.
Erwitt makes very little of the fact that he has photographed some of the main public figures of our times, or one of its sex symbols, Marilyn Monroe. He treats a cleaner and a celebrity in much the same way, rather focusing on getting a picture. “It is all there”

Dogs are one of his favourite subjects and he has featured them in a series of pictorial books. “Why not? Dogs are expressive; they are everywhere; they are sympathetic. And they don’t ask for prints.”

Art objects of this artist

Erwitt, Elliott ◊ Capri 1977
Erwitt, Elliott ◊ Capri 1977

Erwitt, Elliott ◊ Australia 1961
Erwitt, Elliott ◊ Australia 1961

Erwitt, Elliott ◊ Bretagne, 1960
Erwitt, Elliott ◊ Bretagne, 1960

Erwitt, Elliott ◊ California 1960
Erwitt, Elliott ◊ California 1960

Erwitt, Elliott ◊ Capri 1977
Erwitt, Elliott ◊ Capri 1977

Erwitt, Elliott ◊ Cuba 1964
Erwitt, Elliott ◊ Cuba 1964

Erwitt, Elliott ◊ California 1960
Erwitt, Elliott ◊ California 1960

Erwitt, Elliott ◊ Bretagne, 1960
Erwitt, Elliott ◊ Bretagne, 1960

Erwitt, Elliott ◊ Marilyn Monroe, 1946
Erwitt, Elliott ◊ Marilyn Monroe, 1946

Erwitt, Elliott ◊ New York City, bulldogs, 2000
Erwitt, Elliott ◊ New York City, bulldogs, 2000

Erwitt, Elliott ◊ North Carolina, 1950
Erwitt, Elliott ◊ North Carolina, 1950

Erwitt, Elliott ◊ Tokyo, 1960
Erwitt, Elliott ◊ Tokyo, 1960

Erwitt, Elliott ◊ New York City, 1946
Erwitt, Elliott ◊ New York City, 1946

Erwitt, Elliott ◊ France, 1989
Erwitt, Elliott ◊ France, 1989

Erwitt, Elliott ◊ New York City, 1974
Erwitt, Elliott ◊ New York City, 1974

Erwitt, Elliott ◊ Paris, 1989
Erwitt, Elliott ◊ Paris, 1989

Erwitt, Elliott ◊ Santa Monica, 1955
Erwitt, Elliott ◊ Santa Monica, 1955


Elliott Erwitt

1949: Start his professional career as a photographer in Italy and France.
1951: US Army. 1953: Joined Magnum Photos AS.
1968: Became President of Magnum Photos AS for three terms. Still in Magnum as an active photographer. Several books, journalistic essays, illustrations and advertisements has been featured in publications around the world for more than 40 years.
Film and documentary
1971: Beauty knows no pain.
1973: Red, white and blue grass.
1977: The glass makers of Herat.
1980s: Produced 17 comedy and satire television program for Home Box.

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Current and past exhibition-dates and information
Jan 10th, 2015
Elliott Erwitt – KOLOR -------- 25 years in focus gallery
Dec 25th, 2015
Love is...
Mar 4th, 2017
Mar 4th, 2017
Vernissage City-Lanscapes
Jan 11th, 2020
Vernissage 30 years in focus Gallery, Cologne

More dates:

Elliott Erwitt (exhibitions / selection)

- Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA
- Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., USA
- Art Institute of Chicago, USA
- Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, France
- Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain
- Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA
- New South Wales Museum of Art, Australia
- The Barbican, London, UK
- NRW-Forum Düsseldorf, Germany
- Kunsthaus, Zurich, Switzerland
- Fotofestival Nordic Light Event, Kristiansund, Norway
- in focus gallery, Cologne, Germany

BiographyExhibitionBibliographyArt objects


Erwitt, 2010 ''Paris'', teNeues Verlag, Kempen
2009 ''Personal Best'', teNeues Verlag, Kempen
2007 "Unseen", teNeues Verlag, Kempen
2005, Stern Spezial Fotografie Portfolio No. 39
2005 Woof, Chronicle Books LLC, USA
2003 Elliott Erwitt's Handbook, The Quantuck
Lane Press/W.W. Norton & Company, USA
2002 Snaps, Phaidon Press Ltd., USA
1999 DogsDogs, Phaidon Press Ltd., USA
1999 Museum Watching, Phaidon Press Ltd.USA
1994 Between the Sexes, W.W. Norton &
Company, USA
1991 On the Beach, W.W. Norton & Company,
1992 To the Dogs, DAP/Scalo, Zurich
1988 Personal Exposures, W.W. Norton &
Company, USA
1988 ''Hundstage''. Ellert und Richter, Hamburg
1974 Son of Bitch, Viking, USA
1972 Photographs and Anti-Photographs, New
York Graphic Society, USA
''Hunde''. Knesebeck,
''Freunde''. Knesebeck,
"Verliebte''. Knesebeck,

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