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Marc Chagall, 1942

Arnold Newman

American, 1918-2006
Gelatin silver print
Image: 9-5/8 x 7-5/8 in. (24.4 x 19.4 cm)
Norton Simon Museum, Gift of L. J. Horwich

Not on view

To pay his way through college, Arnold Newman took a job at a portrait studio in a Philadelphia department store. After taking dozens of “do-it-by-numbers portraits” (as the artist referred to them), Newman decided to “experiment with photographing people where they live or where they work, to say something about each individual.” These so-called experiments became some of the most arresting portraits of the 20th century. In his early portrayal of Marc Chagall (1887–1985), for example, Newman places the artist before a painting, carefully incorporating Chagall’s characteristically poetic imagery into the photograph and placing it on an equal standing with Chagall himself. In this way, Newman subsumes the painter’s features, tousled hair and intense, almost skeptical gaze into the fabric of the canvas behind him.

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