new-york

John Gutmann

Castelli Graphic

When John Gutmann fled Nazi Germany to settle in San Francisco in 1933, he began working at photo journalism, disseminating images first to a German public (through the Presse-Photo agency in Berlin), and later in American and European magazines (through contract with New York’s Pix). At the time Gutmann was a neophyte—a jobless painter with an unused camera, a hungry mouth, and an unerring eye. He recorded America in all its diversity, focusing on ethnic groups and automobiles, on Depression breadlines and parades, on graffiti, gambling dens, and the native surrealism of the streets. But one of his preferred subjects was women.

Or Woman, for Gutmann presented her both situationally and as an eternal presence, enigmatic and ultimately elusive. During the ’30s and ’40s he explored her in her sociological dimension, using Indians, Chinatown geishas, protesters for workers’ rights, and beauty

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