At the OJM: Arnold Newman images
By Paul Haist
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Photographer Arnold Newman's portrait subjects comprise a "Who's Who" of American and international letters, art, theater, politics, jurisprudence and celebrity in general.
His images have become icons of our culture, the definitive image of that man or woman whom he photographed.
Now, an exhibit of the late master's images spanning six decades of work is slated for the Oregon Jewish Museum.
"One World One People, Portraits by Arnold Newman," will open at the OJM Oct. 5 and remain on display until Jan. 14.
Newman was born in New York in 1918 to Jewish immigrant parents.
Interested in art from an early age, he was encouraged by his parents to study in the field, which he did, focusing on painting, until financial hardship forced him to leave the University of Miami.
Previous exposure to the world of photography led him to accept a job as an apprentice with a chain of photography studios in 1938.
Another similar job followed that until, in 1941, having discovered a love of photography but frustrated by the need to express himself artistically, he moved to New York City where his work, his photographic vision and his good fortune combined to open doors for him.
He showed his work to Museum of Modern Art Photography Curator Beaumont Newhall who saw genius in the young Newman's early images.
Newhall made an appointment for Newman to meet the legendary photographer Alfred Stieglitz the same day.
Stieglitz also was enthusiastic about Newman's work and told him to add his name to a list of photographers to represent America at an exhibit in London.
The next day, the owner of a prestigious New York gallery offered Newman a joint show with the photographer Ben Rose that fall.
Not surprisingly, Newman elected to stay in New York to work as a photographer and to experiment with his ideas about photographic portraiture.
This eventually led to his being identified as the "father of the environmental portrait," portraiture outside the studio and in the "real world."
Deferred from military service after America's entry into World War II on Dec. 7, 1941, Newman continued to work as a photographer, first back in Miami and, by the end of the war, again in New York where he at last settled and married and raised two sons.
His son David lives today here in Portland.
The OJM exhibit will be the first showing of his work in Portland since he died last June in New York at age 88.
The show will be up at the same time that the work of another renowned Jewish photographer, Israeli photojournalist David Rubinger, also will be on display in Portland (See story page 5).
OJM Director Judith Margles noted, "Rarely has our community had an opportunity to see the work of two influential Jewish photographers at the same time. The photojournalist Rubinger's photographs of Golda Meir and David Ben Gurion differ in style and form from the portraitist Newman's photographs of the same subjects and visitors will benefit from close study of both."
There will be a first-Thursday opening night reception at OJM from 5-8 p.m. on Oct. 5.
The Oregon Jewish Museum is located at 310 NW Davis St. Admission for non-members of the museum is $3.