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Photographs by André Kertész On View at the Portland Museum of Art
André Kertész, Nara (readers on commuter trains), gelatin silver print, 1968, No. 83, © Courtesy Estate of André Kertész/Higher Pictures 2007.

PORTLAND, MAINE.- André Kertész (1894–1985) is recognized as one of the world’s most significant and influential photographers. André Kertész: On Reading is a collection of 104 black-and-white photographs that highlight Kertész’s signature style of visual poetry and choreography in everyday life. The photographs were taken during a 50-year period, beginning in 1925. André Kertész: On Reading will be on view August 30 through November 16, 2008 at the Portland Museum of Art.

By capturing individuals immersed in the act of reading in a variety of settings—parks, cafés, libraries, rooftops, backstage, street corners, trains, and bookstands­, Kertész uses the activity of reading as a constant motif for his narrative, which weaves in and out of public and private spaces. These observations form an engaging, and often amusing, study of the universal and captivating power of reading.

Born in Austria-Hungary, Kertész’s journey as a photographer began in 1912, just before being drafted into the army. After returning to Hungary in 1915, Kertész then moved to Paris in 1925. It was there, among literary and avant-garde artistic circles, that his style of geometric composition and playful observation, evident in On Reading, emerged. He moved to New York in 1936 and lived there until the end of his life. His influence affected the next generation of photographers that included Lisette Model, Berenice Abbott, Helen Levitt, Robert Frank, Garry Winogrand, and Lee Friedlander, among many others.

The exhibition tour itinerary is as follows: Portland Museum of Art, Portland, Maine (August 30–November 16, 2008); Grand Rapids Art Museum, Grand Rapids, Michigan (January 23–March 22, 2009); Cornell Fine Arts Center, Winter Park, Florida (September 12­­­–December 31, 2009); Cannon Art Gallery, Carlsbad, California (February 20–April 18, 2010); Fresno Metropolitan Museum, Fresno, California (October 23–December 19, 2010).

André Kertész: On Reading is organized by The Museum of Contemporary Photography, Columbia College, Chicago. The exhibition tour is organized by Curatorial Assistance Traveling Exhibitions (CATE), Pasadena, California.

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