Wednesday, August 17, 2011


Miss Elizabeth Arden,September 1939
Martin Munkacsi
Harper's Bazaar June 1964

"In 1934 my father lost a business he’d spent a lifetime achieving, and in his middle-years tried to sell life insurance that no one could afford to buy.  We moved from a long stucco house and six trees in Cedarhurst, Long Island, to a three-room apartment on Ninety-Eighth Street in New York, a corner of which was called The Dining Alcove. It was there the family ate in silence; it was also my windowless bedroom. I was eleven years old. The walls beside my bed and the ceiling above were my domain, and I covered them with my chosen view: a gleaning of five years’ Christmas tuberculosis seals, three-hundred Dixie Cup tops, and the photographs of Martin Munkacsi."

December 1934

"I cared nothing about photography and less about fashion, but the potentialities beyond Ninety-Eighth Street filled my waking dreams, and because my family subscribed to Harper’s Bazaar, it became my window and Munkacsi’s photographs my view."

December 1933

"One Sunday evening my father and I deep in what my father called our “man to man” arrived at Fifty-Ninth Street stopping to watch a photographer pose a model.  He asked her to lean against a tree, and in that dusk, whispered to her, changing the arch of her throat, the turn of her hand, whispering until her eyes lifted, until he was satisfied, and they left.   I stared at the view for a long time, not at all understanding why he had chosen a peeling tree when the park the fountain, the plaza were so dazzling around him."

Katherine, Marion and Peg Hepburn, August 1939

"Ten years later, in Paris, I saw for the first time the great flaking trees of the Champs Elysees; I understood then that he had found the only Proustian bark in New York, and he had photographed it. I knew by that time that the strong, witty, sensitive and anxious face on Fifty-Ninth Street ten years before was Munkacsi’s."

Miss Marlene Dietrich, September 1936

"It was my first lesson in photography, and there were many lessons after, all learned from Munkacsi, though I never met him.

The art of Munkacsi lay in what he wanted life to be, and he wanted it to be splendid. And it was."

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