June 7, 2006
Photographer Arnold Newman dies at age 88
By Arthur Spiegelman
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Photographer Arnold Newman, whose
portraits of artists like Igor Stravinsky and Pablo Picasso
aimed to capture their souls, not just their faces, died on
Tuesday at age 88 at a New York hospital, friends said.
Newman, whose work appeared frequently in Life magazine,
was famed for pioneering a style called "environmental
portraiture" in which an artist and his or her craft were
aligned in a pose that could stay with a viewer forever. Often
a painter would be set against his or her works until they
seemed a part of it.
One of the most famous examples of the style was his
portrait of composer Stravinsky, sitting off to the side of a
grand piano, his head tiny and in the corner of the picture
dominated by the piano's huge, open kidney-shaped sounding
His portrait of Picasso showed a pensive artist whose own
face might pass for a Picasso painting. His photograph of
actress Marilyn Monroe with disheveled hair and seemingly lost
in sad thoughts hinted at the dark tragedy that was yet to
Jonathan Klein, the chief executive of photo agency Getty
Images and a friend of Newman's, called him "a true pioneer who
advanced the art of portraiture throughout his career."
"He captured the defining images of many of the most
notable figures of the 20th century and greatly influenced the
generation of photographers who carry on this tradition today,"
In a career lasting 65 years, Newman photographed hundreds
of famed figures in politics, business, arts and letters.
In an interview with Apogee Photo Magazine, Newman recalled
that sometimes he was at a loss on how to take a picture as
when he photographed Otto Frank, the father of Anne Frank, the
teenage Dutch girl who came to symbolize the victims of the
"How could I ask this man to pose? I couldn't. Instead I
just waited and Otto went into a deeply pensive mood. It was
then I took the photograph," Newman said. He recalled that the
two men embraced and cried when the photo shoot ended,
according to interviewer Ysabel de la Rosa.
Newman was born on March 3, 1918, in New York City and
raised in New Jersey and Florida. He studied art at the
University of Miami and began photography in 1938 in chain
In 1941, he was discovered by Beaumont Newhall of the
Museum of Modern Art and famed photographer Alfred Stieglitz
and given an exhibit.
His work has been the subject of several books and