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Current Exhibition

Early Magnum: On & In New York

Magnum Photos launches its 70th-anniversary program in New York with an exhibition of some of the agency's earliest photographs taken around the city, opening on March 27 followed by an online fine prints exhibition on the 29th

Werner Bischof New York City. NY, USA. 1953. © Werner Bischof | Magnum Photos

Magnum Photos launches its 70th-anniversary program in New York City in tandem with this year’s AIPAD fair, with an exhibition of photographs taken during the early years of the agency in the city. The photographs in the exhibition will be presented simultaneously at the National Arts Club Grand Gallery and also on the Magnum website. The show combines the classic images taken in the 1950s by Magnum members such as Bruce Davidson, Elliott Erwitt, Erich Hartmann and Dennis Stock along with archival pictures of the agency’s New York office. This exhibition portrays the workings of the organization and its community of enterprising members in dialogue with the city that has been Magnum Photos’ U.S. home, and a source of inspiration for its photographers, since its founding in 1947.

Rene Burri Henri Cartier Bresson. 5th Avenue, New York City, NY, USA. 1959. © Rene Burri | Magnum Photos
Inge Morath © The Inge Morath Foundation A llama in Times Square. New York City, NY, USA. 1957. © Inge Morath © The Inge Morath Foundation | Magnum Photos

As the legend goes, Magnum Photos was founded over a magnum of champagne at the Museum of Modern Art by Robert Capa and took its name from that particularly generous-sized bottle. Opening a bureau in both Paris and New York in 1947, the New York office at 55 West 8th Street was first run by Rita Vandivert, wife of photographer William Vandivert. Empty magnum bottles serve as a reminder of Capa’s favourite drink and particular brand of joie du vivre. One sits on a shelf where a young Elliott Erwitt and his first wife sit with their baby daughter, in a candid, early shot of the agency office by Werner Bischof.

Werner Bischof The Magnum Photos office on 64th Street. From left to right: Ellen Erwitt, Lucienne Erwitt, Elliott Erwitt, Olga Brodsky and Sheernah. New York City, NY, USA. 1953. © Werner Bischof | Magnum Photos

The agency fizzed with pioneer spirit, its independence reshaping the relationship between magazines and photographers, with the latter reclaiming copyright for their own benefit. Its membership grew in size to match its founders’ ambitions – incorporating as full members Arnold, Cornell Capa, Erwitt, Glinn, Hartmann and Stock in 1954, Morath in 1955, Miller and Davidson in 1958, and Burri in 1959, amongst others over the course of that decade.

Erich Hartmann Eve Arnold. New York City, NY, USA. 1957. © Erich Hartmann | Magnum Photos
Eve Arnold Model Charlotte Stribling aka Fabulous waits backstage for the entrance cue to model clothes designed and made by the Harlem community at the Abyssinian Church. New York City, NY, 1950. © Eve Arnold | Magnum Photos

Included in the exhibit are estate-stamped prints and signed contemporary prints of some of Magnum’s best-known images of the city and its inhabitants: Davidson’s intimate portraits of the youthful, self-possessed members of a Brooklyn Gang, Stock’s iconic image of James Dean in Times Square, Erwitt’s image of his wife and first child, and Arnold’s Harlem Fashion show.

Dennis Stock James Dean in Times Square. For a novice actor in the fifties this was the place to go. The Actors Studio, directed by Lee Strasberg, was in its heyday and just a block away. New York City, NY, USA (...)
Burt Glinn Sammy Davis Jr. looks out of a Manhattan window. New York City, NY, USA. 1959. © Burt Glinn | Magnum Photos

For the first time, the photographs in the exhibition will be presented simultaneously at the National Arts Club Grand Gallery and on the Magnum website, where they are available to purchase online.

 

Erich Hartmann Burt Glinn on TV. New York City, NY, USA. 1955. © Erich Hartmann | Magnum Photos

View and purchase from the full online curation on the Magnum Shop.

This event is not ticketed and free to the public.

29 March 2017 – 28 April 2017
The National Arts Club, Grand Gallery, 15 Gramercy Park South, New York, NY, 10003

Join us in celebrating Magnum’s 70th anniversary throughout 2017. Bookmark our anniversary hub to find seminal stories, new work, and discover what Magnum events are happening near you.

Elliott Erwitt New York. NY, USA. 1955. © Elliott Erwitt | Magnum Photos
Leonard Freed Wall Street. New York City, NY, USA. 1956. © Leonard Freed | Magnum Photos