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Chronology of Philippe Halsman

1906
Born May 2 in Riga, Latvia, the son of Max Halsman, a dentist, and Ita Grintuch, principal of a grammar school.

1921
Discovers his father's old view camera and begins photographing his family and friends.

1924
Graduates from high school first in his class, having studied Greek, Latin, French, German, and Russian.
Enrolls at university in Dresden, Germany, to study electrical engineering.

1928
Father dies while on family vacation in the Austrian Alps.

1930
Moves to Paris, begins work as a portrait photographer.

1932
Opens studio at 22 rue Delambre in Montparnasse section of Paris.

1934-40
Work appears in magazines Vogue, Vu, and Voilà. Makes portraits of André Malraux, Paul Valery, Jean Painleve, Marc Chagall, André Gide, Jean Giraudoux, Le Corbusier.

1936
Designs a 9 x 12 cm twin-lens reflex camera, which is built by a cabinetmaker whose grandfather (Alphonse Giroux) made the first camera for Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre, inventor of photography.
First major exhibition, Galerie de la Pléiade, 73 boulevard Saint-Michel.

1940
November: Obtains an emergency visa to enter the United States, through the intervention of Albert Einstein. With the help of the Emergency Rescue Committee, he leaves on a refugee ship from Lisbon, carrying one suitcase with his camera and a dozen prints. Joins his wife and daughter in New York City.

1941
Meets Salvador Dali; their thirty-year collaboration begins.

1941-42
Accepts fashion and magazine assignments from Black Star Agency in New York.

1942
October 5: First Life cover published.

1944
Travels to California and photographs his first Hollywood assignments for Life. Produces seven Life covers this year, including a major story on American fashion designers.

1945
Elected the first president of the American Society of Magazine Photographers (ASMP).

1946-49
Extensively photographs Martha Graham and her dance company in performance.

1947
Photographs Albert Einstein at Princeton.
Designs an improved version of his twin-lens reflex camera in 4 x 5-inch format. Three prototypes, known as the Halsman-Fairchild, are manufactured. Continues to use this camera for portraits throughout his career.

1948
Becomes a United States citizen.
Makes the photograph Dali Atomicus.

1949
Publishes The Frenchman (Simon & Schuster), a book of photographs of the French film star Fernandel. It becomes a New York Times bestseller.

1951
September 3: Fiftieth Life cover published: Gina Lollobrigida.
Returns to Europe for the first time since 1940; photographs Chagall, Churchill, Matisse, Sartre, Bardot, Magnani, and others. David Seymour ("Chim"), photojournalist and a founder of Magnum, the photo agency, invites him to join Magnum as a contributing member. Magnum begins to distribute his work in Europe.

1952
April 7: Marilyn Monroe cover story published in Life.

1953
Publishes Piccoli, a Fairy Tale (Simon & Schuster), which he had written for his daughters.

1954
Publishes Dali's Mustache (Simon & Schuster), which includes thirty surrealistic images of his artist friend.

1955
July 18: Seventy-fifth Life cover published: Audrey Hepburn.

1958
Chosen one of the "World's Ten Greatest Photographers" in an international poll conducted by Popular Photography.

1958-60
Photographs leading writers, philosophers, and scientists who contribute articles for the long-running series "Adventures of the Mind" for Saturday Evening Post.

1959
Publishes Philippe Halsman's Jump Book (Simon & Schuster), a collection of more than two hundred images made from 1950 to 1959, in which illustrious subjects jump for him.

1960
Sent to Russia by Life to photograph leading artists, writers, dancers, and politicians.

1961
Publishes Philippe Halsman on the Creation of Photographic Ideas (Ziff-Davis). Photographs President John F. Kennedy and his entourage, including Robert F. Kennedy, Robert S. McNamara, McGeorge Bundy, Dean Rusk, and Arthur E. Schlesinger Jr. for "New Frontierland: The Big Wheels," published in Look on January 2, 1962.

1962
Joins Irving Penn, Richard Avedon, Alfred Eisenstaedt, and six others to form the Famous Photographers School.

1963
Major solo exhibition at Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. Receives the Newhouse Citation for journalistic achievement from Syracuse University School of Journalism.

1966
Makes first of two extended visits to photograph Vladimir Nabokov in Montreux, Switzerland.

1969
Makes official portrait of President Richard M. Nixon.

1970
December 23: One-hundredth Life cover published: Johnny Carson. With a total of 101, Halsman has more Life covers to his credit than any other photographer.

1971-76
Teaches course on "Psychological Portraiture" at the New School for Social Research, New York City.

1972
Publishes Sight and Insight (Doubleday).
Health begins to decline.
Life ceases weekly publication after thirty-six years.

1973
Exhibition "Sight and Insight" opens in Tokyo and travels throughout Japan.

1975
Receives the American Society of Magazine Photographers award for Life Achievement in Photography.

1979
With Cornell Capa, founder of the International Center of Photography in New York, mounts a comprehensive exhibition of his career, which travels throughout the United States for the next eight years.

June 25: Philippe Halsman dies in New York City.



Books by Philippe Halsman:

The Frenchman (Simon & Schuster, 1949)
Dali's Mustache (Simon & Schuster, 1954; reissued by Flammarion/Abbeville, 1994)
Philippe Halsman's Jump Book (Simon & Schuster, 1959; reissued by Harry N. Abrams, 1986)
Philippe Halsman on the Creation of Photographic Ideas (Ziff-Davis, 1961)
Sight and Insight (Doubleday, 1972)
Halsman Portraits (McGraw-Hill, 1982)
Halsman at Work, with Yvonne Halsman (Harry N. Abrams, 1989)

Articles by and about Philippe Halsman:

"Philippe Halsman" by Bruce Downes, Popular Photography, February 1946. An early look at Halsman's work and career.
"Psychological Portraiture" Popular Photography, December 1958. A book-length article by Halsman.
"Portraits in Character," Modern Photography, June 1972. Halsman interviewed by Peter Pollack, curator of photography at the Art Institute of Chicago.
"Philippe Halsman" by Ruth Spencer, British Journal of Photography, October 1975. Halsman discusses his career with a British journalist.


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