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William Klein: New York 1954.55

Klein, William

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ISBN 10: 1899235256 / ISBN 13: 9781899235254
Published by Dewi Lewis Publishing
Condition: Used - Very Good Hardcover
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About this Item

Revised. 1899. Hardcover. Cloth, dj, tall quarto, 256 pp., illustrated throughout in black & white. Dj has a long closed slice (does not go through entirely) along back panel. Some minor shelf-wear to cloth. Overall, Very Good. Bookseller Inventory # Q00325

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Bibliographic Details

Title: William Klein: New York 1954.55

Publisher: Dewi Lewis Publishing

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Used - Very Good

Dust Jacket Condition: Dust Jacket Included

About this title


In 1956, William Klein's NEW YORK, one of the most important books in the history of photography, was published. The work created a veritable revolution. Breaking with the medium's taboos and traditions, Klein developed a radically new way of taking pictures, inventing a violent, graphic style combining black humour, social criticism, satire, and poetry.
"For the first time, wrote the poet and critic Alain Jouffroy, photographs led the evolution of the visual rats. Klein developed practically all of the themes dealt with later by Pop Art and the New Realism..."
The book whose original title was NEW YORK IS GOOD & GOOD FOR YOU became a legend, an entry in rare book catalogues... and impossible to find. Therefore, a group of six European publishers, with Japanese and American partners, planned a re-edition. The design and content of this new version are considerably changed - almost a hundred more pages and dozens of never before published pictures.
Painter, photographer, movie maker, American in Paris, William Klein escapes pigeonholes, categories, movements.
Born in New York in 1928, Klein grew up on the mean streets of Manhattan, shuttling between blackboard jungles, experimental schools, pool halls and the Museum of Modern Art. At eighteen, he graduated from New York's City college and, at twenty, after serving for two years in the US Army in Europe (of which one was at the Sorbonne!), he settled in Paris to become a painter. He worked briefly with Fernand Leger and in the early fifties did kinetic murals for Italian architects, absorbing along the way European visual history from Masaccio to the Bauhaus.
In 1954, after six years of experimenting in painting, graphic design, and abstract photography, he returned to New York, where he embarked on a complicated love-hate affair with his native city that became an unique photographic adventure. Half amazed foreigner, half streetwise New Yorker, he set out to record on film his vision in a photographic diary.

From Library Journal:

In 1954 Klein returned to the city of his youth after living the life of a painter in Paris since the end of World War II. Vogue art director Alexander Liberman had agreed to pay him to photograph the city for a few months, though he was almost totally lacking in knowledge of or experience with a camera. The result was a collection of exuberant, cinematic images of the city's people and neighborhoods-by Klein's own description "pseudo-ethnography, parody, and Dada"-that Conde Nast never saw fit to publish. Reminiscent of Weegee in their grittiness, but with more humor and less sensationalism, and of Robert Frank in their unity of personal vision but not as bleak, the photographs are as vibrant today as when they were taken. Klein did publish a collection of these photos in Paris in 1956 in a book that is now a much-sought-after collector's item, but the man who went on to become a successful fashion and documentary photographer never saw this unique series widely exhibited or published in his home country-until now. Last year the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art presented these photos as part of its inaugural exhibits. And at long last libraries with an interest in photography will be able to pick up this selection of celebratory, quintessentially American images. Highly recommended.
Eric Bryant, "Library Journal"
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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