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Below are biographies and analysis of the work of artists central to Modern And Contemporary Photography.
Eugène Atget was a French photographer who in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century carefully and comprehensively documented the street scenes, architecture and artists of Paris. Atget, whose work was characterized by long exposure, famously sold his photographs to a great number of Parisian artists, including Man Ray, which were used as visual aids for painting.
Richard Avedon revolutionized fashion photography by enlivening his models, by showing them in movement. He also excelled in black-and-white portraiture - celebraties and common folk were exhibited in psychologoically revealing ways. His large and powerful body of work makes Avedon one of the most famous photographers of all time.
Hans Bellmer was a twentieth-century German avant-garde photographer and draughtsman, commonly associated with the Surrealism movement. Bellmer is best known for creating a series of pubescent female dolls in the 1930s, which were designed as a direct criticism of Nazi-controlled Germany and its idealization of the perfect human form. Bellmer eventually fled Germany for Paris and was embraced by Breton and the French Surrealists.
The French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson defined the field of photojournalism and created some of the most memorable photos of the greatest world events of his era. He also brilliantly captured "the decisive moment", the split second when an intersting and powerful composition is best photographed.
The photographs of Walker Evans told the story of American working-class life with an exacting frankness that was truly revolutionary for its time. He is best well-known for his documentation of the effects of the Great Depression, especially for the iconic portrait of Southern Farmer's wife.
Lyonel Feininger was a German-American painter and caricaturist associated with the Die Brucke and Der Blaue Rider groups. He painted in an original style reminiscent of Cubism and Futurism, but he is most famous for helping Walter Gropius build the Bauhaus school where Feininger taught until the school was closed down by the Nazis.
Robert Mapplethorpe was an American photographer known for his large-scale, highly stylized black and white portraits, photos of flowers and nude men. The frank, homosexual eroticism of some his work triggered a more general controversy about the public funding of artworks and censorship.
Irving Penn was a fashion photographer and worked for many years for Vogue magazine, founding his own studio in 1953. Influenced by European Modernism - and in particular Surealism - he became one of the most famous photographers of all time erasing the lines between fashion photography, fine art photography, and "high art".
American sculptor and painter George Segal is best known for his life-size plaster cast figures, often in monochromatic white. He also worked with artists such as John Cage and Allan Kaprow at Rutgers University in the 1950s and 60s; Kaprow's famous "happenings" performances first took place on Segal's farm in New Jersey.
A major figure in the early development of American modern art, Charles Sheeler incorporated motifs related to industrialization and urbanization, such as towering buildings and flattened geometric planes. His work explored the tension between pre-modern America and its increasingly mechanized future.
Aaron Siskind was a 20th-century American photographer whose catalog of work bears the mark of Abstract Expressionism. Siskind's photographs of found objects were often closely focused on simple shapes in the object, reflecting the artist's preoccupation with basic form, line and texture. Siskind was a significant pioneer is turning photography into an abstract medium.