Paul Outerbridge, Jr.

Born 1896. Died 1958.
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Paul Outerbridge, Jr. Biography

Paul Outerbridge, Jr., (1896-1959) was among the most imaginative and technically-innovative photographers of his day, known for his still-life abstractions of ordinary objects and nudes. Revered as a master platinum printer, Outerbridge was also an early pioneer of color photography.

Born into an affluent New York City family, Outerbridge made the unusual decision to pursue a career in the arts rather than business. Following service in the US Army, Outerbridge studied under photographer Clarence H. White at his school in New York City in 1921. Outerbridge’s career as a commercial photographer began in 1922 and he quickly became very successful, working with Vanity Fair, Vogue, and Harper's Bazaar.

In the course of his development as a photographer, Outerbridge encountered many of the key figures in photography and art of the early twentieth century. Moving to Paris in the early 1920s, Outerbridge met Man Ray and, through him, befriended Berenice Abbott, Marcel Duchamp, and other members of their circle. He studied sculpture briefly under Alexander Archipenko. As a commercial photographer, he maintained a friendly rivalry with Edward Steichen.

During his lifetime, Outerbridge exhibited in the influential exhibition Film und Foto in 1929 and at The Museum of Modern Art in 1937. Seeking a career in the film industry, he moved to Hollywood in 1943. Outerbridge ultimately settled in Laguna Beach, where he operated a small portrait studio for the last decade of his life. His photographs can be found in the collections of the Library of Congress, Washington, D. C., National Gallery of Australia, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles.

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