May 14, 2012

Distortion #150

Distortion #150

c. 1933

André Kertész

(American, 1894–1985)

Gelatin silver print

Image: 29.5 x 22.9 cm (11 5/8 x 9 in.); Matted: 55.9 x 45.7 cm (22 x 18 in.)

Dudley P. Allen Fund 2001.39



André Kertész's Distortions series of 1933 is a unique achievement by one of the most important and inventive photographers of the 20th century. The series featured almost 200 studies of nude female figures reflected in a parabolic mirror that came from an amusement park. The inspiration for the series was a commission by the humorous and risqué French magazine Le Sourire. Using the mirror to contract, twist, and taper the nude figures, Kertész produced fantastic, ephemeral results ranging from amusing to grotesque and frightening. In this image—one of his best—Kertész created a composition that is appealing yet tantalizingly undecipherable. The model's body, simultaneously foreshortened and elongated, concrete and abstract, sweeps around mysterious reflected shapes and textures present in the studio. The Distortions have obvious affinities with the radical changes occurring in the visualization of the human figure in painting and sculpture of the 1930s. In the field of photography, however, the series was without precedent. This rare vintage print is one of only eight (or fewer) large-scale exhibition prints produced from the series.

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Dudley P. Allen Fund

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