Categotry Archives: Artists


Henri Cartier-Bresson

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Categories: Artists

hcartier.jpgShooting with a 35-millimeter Leica, often without a flash, legendary French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson spent more than half a century capturing images on black and white film.
The 700,000 moments he snatched from time and circumstance created indelible impressions on anyone who bought his books, or viewed his work in Life, Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar. His uncanny sense of timing and talent for shooting what he called “the decisive moment” inspired generations of photographers.
“To photograph is to hold one’s breath, when all faculties converge to capture fleeting reality. It’s at that precise moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy,” he once said.
Born in Chanteloup to a wealthy family, Cartier-Bresson originally planned to become a painter. After studying English literature and art for several years, he switched to photography in the 1930s and embarked on a series of expeditions to Austria, China, Cuba, the French Ivory Coast, Germany, India, Mexico, Romania and the Soviet Union. His first exhibition was held in Madrid in 1933; it was followed by major shows around the world.
An unimposing figure, Cartier-Bresson often blended into the background, shooting pictures without imposition. He recorded the funeral of Mahatma Gandhi in India, chronicled the German occupation of France and shot portraits of Henri Matisse and Simone de Beauvoir. His most popular photographs were “Behind the Gare Saint-Lazare,” which showed a man leaping over a puddle and frozen in mid-air, and “Rue Mouffetard,” an image of a smiling child carrying bottles of wine down a Parisian street.
During World War II, Cartier-Bresson was drafted into the French Army where he served as a corporal in the film and photo unit. He was captured by the Germans at St. Dié and imprisoned in a camp for nearly three years. After two unsuccessful attempts, he finally managed to escape and return to France. There Cartier-Bresson became a commercial photographer and filmmaker. He worked with French director Jean Renoir on the films “The Rules of the Game” and “A Day in the Country,” then began directing his own documentaries. In 1947, he co-founded the Magnum photo agency with Robert Capa and David Seymour.
Cartier-Bresson returned to his first love — art — in the final years of his life. He spent most days at his homes in Paris and in the south of France sketching in pencil or charcoal. In 2003, he established the Henri Cartier-Bresson Foundation, the first private foundation dedicated to photography in France.
Cartier-Bresson died on Aug. 3. Cause of death was not released. He was 95.
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Betty Oliphant


Categories: Artists

boliphant.jpgDance icon Betty Oliphant, a founder of Canada’s National Ballet School, died on July 12. Cause of death was not released. She was 85.
Born in England, Oliphant studied classical ballet with Russian dance tutors Tamara Karsavina and Laurent Novikoff. Too tall to perform on the world stage, she decided to teach instead. At 21, Oliphant immigrated to Canada and established her own ballet school. She became the ballet mistress of the newly formed National Ballet of Canada in 1951.
Oliphant joined forces with Celia Franca, the founder of the National Ballet, to launch the National Ballet School in 1959. There “Miss O” taught thousands of dancers how to master their technique and achieve artistic freedom. Several of her students — Frank Augustyn, Karen Kain, Veronica Tennant — became distinguished dancers with the company. She retired in 1989.
Oliphant was one of the first women to be awarded the Order of Napoleon. She was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1973 and promoted to Companion of the Order of Canada 12 years later. In 1988, the National Ballet School named its new theatre in her honor. Oliphant published her memoirs, “Miss O: My Life in Dance,” in 1997.


John Cullen Murphy


Categories: Artists

John Cullen Murphy, the illustrator who drew the “Prince Valiant” comic strip for more than three decades, died on July 2 of natural causes. He was 85.
Murphy always wanted to be a baseball player, but when his neighbor, illustrator Norman Rockwell, asked him to model for a “Saturday Evening Post” cover, he decided to become an illustrator instead. Under Rockwell’s tutelage, Murphy earned a scholarship to the Phoenix Art Institute in New York. His first professional assignment was drawing sports cartoons that were used to promote boxing matches at Madison Square Garden.
Murphy continued drawing during World War II. While serving with the Army in the South Pacific, he sold some of his illustrations to the Chicago Tribune. After returning to the states, Murphy drew publicity pictures for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and began illustrating articles and stories in magazines such as Look, Collier’s Sport, Reader’s Digest and Esquire. When his magazine prospects started to dry up, Murphy spent 20 years illustrating the boxer comic strip “Big Ben Bolt” for King Features.
In 1970, he joined forces with Hal Foster to illustrate the historical comic strip, “Prince Valiant.” Murphy illustrated the strip for 34 years, and turned the project into a family affair. His son, Cullen Murphy, has written the text of the strip since 1979. Cullen is also the editor of The Atlantic Monthly. His daughter, Mairead “Meg” Nash, provided the strip’s lettering and coloring. Syndicated in more than 300 newspapers nationwide, “Prince Valiant” has spawned three feature films and numerous book collections. Murphy retired from the strip’s daily duties in March; “Prince Valiant” is currently illustrated by Gary Gianni.
The former president of the National Cartoonists Society, Murphy won the organization’s “Best Story Strip” award six times.


Charles Kelman


Categories: Artists, Medicine, Musicians, Writers/Editors

ckelman.jpgDr. Charles D. Kelman, an ophthalmic surgeon who developed an outpatient cataract operation that’s helped over 100 million people, died on June 1 of lung cancer. He was 74.

Born in New York City, Kelman earned a bachelor’s degree at Tufts University and graduated from the medical school at the University of Geneva in Switzerland. He interned at Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn and did his residency in ophthalmology at the Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia before opening a private practice in New York City in 1960.

Kelman was sitting in a dentist’s chair having his teeth cleaned with an ultrasonic device when the idea for a new cataract procedure came to him. Known as phacoemulsification, the surgery involves using a vibrating, ultrasonic tip to break up the cataract and suction it out with a small needle during an outpatient operation.

Kelman introduced the technique in 1967; it is now the preferred form of cataract removal. Prior to his invention, cataract patients suffered through a painful operation and spent up to 10 days in the hospital. Neurosurgeons have also improved upon the technique in order to remove tumors from the brain and spinal cord in children.

A professor at New York Medical College, Kelman received the American Academy of Achievement Award and the National Medal of Technology. Earlier this year, he was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

Outside of medicine, Kelman was a helicopter pilot, musician and playwright. He produced two Broadway shows, “Triumph of Love” and “Sound of Music,” and wrote the musical, “The Right Pair of Shoes,” which was scheduled to premiere at the Caldwell Theatre in Boca Raton later this year. His autobiography, “Through My Eyes: The Story of a Surgeon Who Dared to Take on the Medical World,” was published in 1985.


Egon von Furstenberg


Categories: Artists

evfurstenberg.jpgEgon von Furstenberg, an eccentric fashion designer and aristocrat, died on June 11. Cause of death was not released. He was 57.

Born in Switzerland, von Furstenberg was descended from a noble German family on his father’s side, and from the Italian Agnelli family (owners of the Fiat automotive empire) on his mother’s side. Although Egon planned to seek his fortunes in the banking industry, he changed his mind in the late 1960s and became a clothing designer.

Von Furstenberg learned the trade at the Fashion Institute of Technology and by working as a buyer for Macy’s in New York City. After designing men’s clothing and apparel for plus-sized women, he refined his focus to accentuate a stronger emphasis on color and glamour. Although he released a ready-to-wear line, von Furstenberg was best known for designing elegant outfits for the fashionable and wealthy.

Von Furstenberg was married to Lynn Marshall. His first marriage to fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg ended in divorce.

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