The man from Szeged, Hungary

[Nickolas Muray at Riverview Park, Chicago], 1917 / unidentified photographer.
Nickolas Muray papers, 1911-1978.
Archives of American Art

Many things in the history of photography seem to lead back to the 291 gallery
in New York. I was planning to write something about Edward Steichen who was Alfred Stieglitz associate and designer of the covers of the legendary journal "Camera Work".

Then I stumbled upon this man born in Szeged, Hungary.

His name is Nickolas Muray and for those of you who are not familiar with him I´d like to share my findings. As you probably already have figured out, I have not graduated from any academy of fine arts or something like that. I am just a curious private investigator. Anyway Nickolas was a very handsome man and a skilled photographer. Below is a picture of his studio in New York where he settled down in 1913.

[Nickolas Muray's studio at 129 MacDugal Street], ca. 1920 /
Nickolas Muray, photographer.
Nickolas Muray papers, 1911-1978.
Archives of American Art.

Muray became one of the most sought after portrait photographers and made over 10 000 portraits, many of them were of celebrities. He worked for magazines like Vanity Fair and Harper´s Bazaar.

I was delighted to find his color prints. The one with the shoes below is breathtaking. I really love it.

TITLE ON OBJECT: McCall's Style & Beauty Cover:Shoes 1942
color print, assembly (Carbro) process 37.9 x 31.7 cm. (visible)

Gift of Mrs. Nickolas Muray

Among those pictures there is also the beautiful portrait of Frida Kahlo below.

Muray, Nickolas American (b. Hungary, 1892-1965)
TITLE ON OBJECT: Frida Kahlo 1941
color print, assembly (Carbro) process 40.1 x 29.9 cm.
Gift of Mrs. Nickolas Muray

The picture of Frida Kahlo and "Shoes" are from Photography collections online, George Eastman House See more excellent pictures by Muray here

Nickolas had a love affair with Frida Kahlo for many years. In the last picture you will find him in Frida´s and Diego Riveras home in Mexico.

[Gathering at the Riveras’ San Angel home], 1938 / unidentified photographer.
Nickolas Muray papers, 1911-1978.
Archives of American Art.

Right to left: Frida Kahlo, the Mexican painter and caricaturist Miguel Covarrubias (1904-1957), Diego Rivera, the Hungarian-born photographer Nickolas Muray (1892-1965), Rosa Covarrubias (former American dancer Rosa Rolando), and two Tehuanas who served Rivera as models.

Article first published on The F Blog (Nov. 2006)


Anonymous said…
I knew Frida Kalo's famous portrait... but I didn't know anything about the photographer.
interesting and nice results from your research!

Oskarp Mask said…
What a discovery! Thank you.
Jan Buse said…
Love ”McCall's Style & Beauty Cover:Shoes”, it´s really surrealistic.
Altnőder Emese said…
yes, I say thank you, too! :)