1999 RETROSPECTIVE OF HIMMEL’S PHOTOGRAPHS, INSCRIBED BY HIM
HIMMEL, Paul. Photographs. (New York: Assouline, 1999). Tall quarto, original textured black paper-covered boards, original dust jacket. $450.
First edition of this engaging retrospective, with 125 full-page high-contrast duotones (nine in color), inscribed, “To Franz, a much loved friend, Paul Himmel.”
In 1946 Paul Himmel enrolled in a course at the New School, taught by legendary Art Director Alexej Brodovitch. “Brodovitch said about Himmel: ‘Of all my protégés, he was the one who best understood what I meant about movement.’ Himmel was fired up by Brodovitch’s new ideas to energize the pages of Harper’s Bazaar and the application of a photo-journalistic rawness to fashion photography: ‘It fitted with what I had been doing on my account. He conveyed his ideas about movement to me almost without my being aware of it” (Michael Hoppen). After appearing in Edward Steichen’s famous exhibition “The Family of Man,” Himmel became disenchanted with commercial photography and turned to projects of his own. Still interested in movement, he published Ballet in Action in 1954. In it he achieved “the almost impossible task of getting stills that look like movement… the sense of and the sequences of movement are present” (George Balanchine). “He continued on this path and started experimenting more with grain structure, which he radically transformed into a series of silhouetted and elongated forms abbreviated almost to the point of abstraction” (Galerie f5.k). Shunned at the time by critics, Himmel gave up photography entirely in 1969. Rediscovered by the Howard Greenberg Gallery in 1996, this wonderful retrospective celebrates a follow-up comprehensive show of his work at the James Danzinger Gallery.
Fine condition, inscribed.