Bill Brandt 1904-1983

Bill Brandt (1904 -1983) was an influential British photographer whose legacy lives on through his high-contrast, distorted nudest and landscapes.

Born in Hamburg, Brandt grew up during World War I. He later disavowed his German heritage and claimed to be born in South London. In 1930, Brandt was introduced to Man Ray in Paris, and it was from this moment that his artist career was launched.

Brandt began as a photojournalist after moving to London in 1933, but his practice was unique, documenting all levels of British society. He published two books of these sociological studies soon after: The English at Home (1936) and A Night in London (1938). He was a regular contributor to magazines such as Lilliput, Picture Post, and Harper's Bazaar. And in 1940, the Ministry of information commissioned him to document the Underground bomb shelters during the Blitz.

During the Second World War, Brandt focused every kind of subject - as can be seen in his "Camera in London" (1948) but soon turned his attention to portrait and landscape. Marking the end of the war in 1945 he began a celebrated series of nudes later publishing Literary Britain (1951), and Perspective of Nudes (1961), followed by a compilation of the best of all areas of his work in Shadow of Light (1966). Brandt became Britain's most internationally admired British photographer of the 20th century, capturing british society and his individual subjects with poetic resonance.

In 2004 Brandt received a major restrospective exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Born in Hamburg, Germany

Travelled to Vienna, where he was taken up by Dr Eugenie Schwarzwald

Assisted Man Ray in Paris for several months

Moved to London

Married Eva Boros

Settled, with wife, in Belsize park, north London

Visited the industrial north of England for the first time

'The Perfect Parlourmaid' appeared first in Verve magazine and then in Picture Post

Brandt's second book, A Night in London, was published in London and Paris

Died after a short illness

Selected Exhibitions:

Private and Public: Class, personality, Politics, and Landscape in British Photography, Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University, Stanford, CA
Photographs by Bill Brandt: A Sense of Wonder, MFAH - Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX

Oog/Eye, Foam Fotografiemuseum, Amsterdam
A Selection of Exceptional Vintage Photographs, Stephen Daiter Gallery, Chicago, IL
VIP, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, ACT

Busy Going Crazy, the Sylvio Perlstein Collection, La Maison Rouge, Paris
Making History - Art and Documentary in Britain from 1929 to Now, Tate Liverpool, Liverpool (England)
Bill Brandt - A Retrospective, Boca Raton Museum of Art, Boca Raton, FL

Magritte Prive, BOZAR - Palais des Beaux-Arts/ Paleis voor Schone Kunsten, Brussels
De la comtesse De Castiglione a Cindy Sherman, Galerie de France, Paris

Few Are Chosen: Street Photography and the Book, 1936-1966, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, NY
The Artist Observed - Portraits and Self-Portraits, Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University, Stanford, CA

Flesh Tones - 100 Years of the Nude, Robert Mann Gallery, New York City, NY
Looking at Photographs - 125 photographs from the Muesum of Modern Art, New York, The State Hermiatge Museum, St. Petersburg
Bill Branft: A Retrospective, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT

World War II: Vintage Photographs, Lee Gallery, Winchester, MA
Der Akt in der Kunst des 20, Jahrhunderts, Kunsthallein Emden, Emden

The Fine Art of Photography, Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Ediburgh (Scotland)
Known and Unknown, Edwynn Houk Gallery, New York

In the Cold: Photography 1945 - 1965, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, SA

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