André Kertész Biography, Life, Quotes, Ideas & Photography

A well-known personality in the field of photography, André Kertész was known for his unique sense of style of the portrayal of the objects of our everyday life.

In this article, we are going to tell you all about Andre’s early life, how he stepped his foot into the world of photography, his ways of capturing the moment, the camera that he used, his accomplishments, and everything else that you need to know about this legendary man. 

All About André Kertész

Born in the year 1894, in Hungary,  André Kertész was a famous American Photographer who was well-known for contributing to the photo essay and photographic composition. 

When he started his career in the field of photography, André had an unorthodox camera style and angles, which didn’t allow his work to get enough recognition. He always felt like he never achieved the worldwide recognition that André Kertész photography deserved. 

However, André Kertész’s artwork is appreciated in today’s world, and he is also recognized as a seminal figure of photojournalism. His family wanted him to work as a stockbroker, but he pursued photography and achieved several milestones in the field. 

Generally, his career can be divided into four parts. These parts are based on the places that he’s worked in. The four periods are the International period, Hungarian period, American period, and French period respectively. 

Biography of André Kertész

Andor Kohn, famously known as André Kertész, was a well-known photographer known for his unique style of photography, which captured everyday life objects. André was known to be a very inventive photographer of the 20th century, and he captured everything using his handheld camera, a Leica. André stepped foot in the world of photography in the year 1912, which was also the year when he joined the Giro Bank as their clerk. 

André also served his time as a part of the Austro-Hungarian army in World War I, and he also took several photographs of the action there, where he also got wounded. He then returned back to working at the Giro Bank in 1918, and he used to click photographs whenever he got the time. 

André never got enough opportunities in the field of photography in Hungary, so he then moved to Paris in 1925, where he started working as a freelance photographer. In Paris, André Kertész’s photography saw a change as his images of this beautiful city were poetic, and he took them from high vantage points. His photography of Paris featured unexpected juxtapositions while he also frequently used shadows and reflections as a way of reflecting his art. 

André portrayed his art in one of the shows at Au Sacre du Printemps Gallery in 1927 in Paris. His show was well received by the spectators and he then moved to participate in the influential First Independent Salon of Photography. André’s photography was appreciated for being a mixture of modernist attitudes and romantic sensibility. Critics of the time often cited it as a way of considering photography as fine art. 

Keeping his photographs of everyday life aside, André also took several portraits of various luminaries like Trustan Tzara, a French writer born in Romania, Alexander Calder, an American sculptor, Fernand Léger, a French painter, Marc Chagall, a French artist, Colette, a French writer, Piet Mondrian, a Dutch painter, Sergey Eisenstein, a Russian filmmaker, and several others. A few of these portraits were made by Kertész while he was doing an assignment for Vu, which is a French magazine. He also worked for Vu as their lead photographer. 

His contributions have also been made to several European periodicals including Art et Médecine and his picture essays were about Burgundy, Lorraine, Trappist abbey, and many other areas of France. The purchase of his handheld camera in 1928 made him feel more free as he now had the ability to move in any environment and capture the beauty in whatever ways possible. He often used to wait for the perfect photographic moments, and he was known to be the man who used to capture the moments while they used to get unfolded. André also taught photography to Brassaï and Henri Cartier-Bresson, who were well-known street photographers of their time. They cited Kertész as a crucial influence. André also acted as a mentor to Robert Capa, who was an American photojournalist born in Hungary. 

Kertész got married to Rozsa Klein, who was a painter from Hungary. They both got married in 1928 and he went on to teach her photography, which led her to become a well-known photographic portraitist by the name of Rogi André. The couple got divorced in 1932 and in the same year, André got married to Erzsébet Salamon. 

André is also the author of several books. His first book was Enfants, which was published in 1933. This book was followed by Paris Vu par André Kertész, which was published in 1934. In 1936, André published another book named Nos Amies les Bêtes. 

In 1936, André traveled to NYC as he had a one-year contract with an agency named Keystone Press Agency. However, he wasn’t happy with his life in the city and he didn’t like the work he was being assigned to, so he broke the contract with the agency. He couldn’t make his way back to Europe due to World War II and he then became a citizen of the United States of America in 1944. 

He worked as a freelance photographer for several American magazines such as Town and Country, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Coronet, and Look among various others. Moving ahead, Kerrész hopped on an exclusive contract in 1947. This contract was with Condé Nast publications and he became a staff photographer with them. He worked under  Alexander Liberman, who was their art editor. This project paid him well but it didn’t allow him enough time for his own projects, which led him to feel frustrated. 

In 1962, he quit this job and he then went on his own personal journey. He ensued several honors including a retrospective, a Guggenheim fellowship, and a solo exhibition at various places. André continued to create deeply personal and expressive images and he used to capture using a telephoto lens as he used to take photographs from his apartment, which overlooked Washington Square. In 1978, André made use of his Polaroid camera to come up with a series of photographs that had still life from his windows. 

André’s major exhibitions include his art exhibiting at the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Art Institute of Chicago, Amsterdam, the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, and the Israel Museum, Jerusalem. 

André died when he was 91. The iconic photographs that he took throughout his career are probably more than all the other modern photographers out there. His recognized images include Martinique in 1972, Washington Square in 1954, Clock of the Académie Française in 1929, Meudon in 1928, Fork in 1928, Satiric Dancer in 1926, Chez Mondrian in 1926, Wandering Violinist in 1921, and Underwater Swimmer in 1917. 

Underwater Swimmer

What is André Kertész Well- Known For?

Born in Hungary, André Kertész was a famous photographer who was well-known for his formally rigorous, elegant, and lyrical photography style. Kertész was a very inventive photographer of the 20th century, and he was also famous for exploring the wide uses of his Leica camera. André believed in capturing the beauty of the objects of our everyday life instead of perfecting the technicality of the art of photography. 

Quotes by André Kertész

There are several famous quotes by André Kertész. Some of these quotes include:

I still regard myself as an amateur today, and I hope that’s what I’ll stay until the end of my life. Because I’m forever a beginner who discovers the world again and again.
If you want to write, you should learn the alphabet. You write and write and in the end, you have a beautiful, perfect alphabet. But it isn’t the alphabet that is important. The important thing is what you are writing, what you are expressing. The same thing goes for photography. Photographs can be technically perfect and even beautiful, but they have no expression.
Technique isn’t important. The technique is in the blood. Events and mood are more important than good light and the happening is what is important.
Here you can also find other quotes by Kertész .

Ideologies & Aims of André Kertész

André is known for his style having clarity and his subjects having a unique emotional connection with the photograph. He made good use of his lens as he froze time and turned objects, or street scenes into something more permanent and metaphorical.

According to André, intuition was the main ingredient of the recipe for making poetic substance. He once said that “The moment always dictates in my work". He believed professional virtuosity to be the worst enemy of photography of art. 

André was a highly regarded photographer of still-life. His lens didn’t understand the word ordinary as he interpreted the things that were in front of him. He had an aim to transform the mundane into something poetic and that’s the reason why he composed several still lifes such as pipes, eyeglasses, and utensils among others. He also made the use of monochrome lines which were bold and he used shadows as well as reflections to enhance his photographs. 

What was the Name of the Camera used by André Kertész?

Talking about André Kertész camera, he bought a 35-millimeter camera, which was his first Leica. 

He bought this camera in 1928, and he clicked several influential photographs using Leica itself. He also started freelancing & he did everything with Leica by his side. 

What was the Photography Style of André Kertész?

André Kertész had a mindset that was molded by Surrealism & Constructivism. However, André Kertész photography style was completely his own as it was a blend of personal observation as well as emotions. 

André started exploring his art in the field of photography when he began clicking pictures of gypsies and peasants who roamed in Budapest in 1912. 

Most Famous Photographs by André Kertész

  • Talking about André Kertész photography, some of the best photos of André Kertész artwork include:

    • Meudon, 1928 by Andre Kertesz (Source)
    • Melancholic Tulip from the year 1939
    • Washington Square, New York from the year 1954
    • Satiric Dancer, Paris from the year 1926
    • Chez Mondrian, Paris from the year 1926
    • Pont Des Arts from the year 1929
    • The Daisy Bar, Montmartre, Paris from the year 1930
    • Meudon from the year 1928
    • Fork, Paris from the year 1928
    • Broken Plate from the year 1929
    • Chairs of Paris from the year 1927
    • Boulevard Malesherbes at Midday from the year 1925
    • Homing Ship, New York from the year 1944 

Frequently Asked Questions about André Kertész (FAQs)

Why is André Kertész an important figure?

Famously known as André Kertész, Andor Kohn is an important figure as he is an American photographer well-known for his formally rigorous and lyrical style of photography of our everyday life. 

Where did André Kertész use to live?

André Kertész lived in New York City from 1936 to 1985.

When was André Kertész born?

André Kertész was born on 2nd July 1894.

Where was Andre Kertesz born?

André Kertész was born in Hungary. 

How did André Kertész die?

André Kertész died peacefully while he was asleep in his home. He died on 28th September 1985. 

By Hakon

2021-06-05 17:15:49



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