In the spotlight: Anton Bruehl

Australian-born Anton Bruehl (1900–1982) migrated to New York with his brother Martin in 1919. Five years later, Anton enrolled at the Clarence H White School of Photography where he remained as an instructor until 1926, the same year he started his own photography studio.

The Anton Bruehl Studio was immediately successful in magazine advertising and Bruehl also maintained his profile as an art photographer. A new phase of his career began in 1931, when publisher Condé Montrose Nast appointed Bruehl to work with photographer Fernand Bourges to perfect colour photography for Vanity Fair, Vogue and House & Garden magazines.

Bruehl led the new field of colour photography and remained at its forefront until his retirement in 1966. He was best known for his elaborately staged, densely coloured advertisements and theatrical tableaux. American photographer Ansel Adams described his work as being ‘entirely contrived, and yet absolutely sincere’.

In 2006, Anton Bruehl Jr presented over 100 of his father’s photographs and extensive archival material to the American Friends of the National Gallery of Australia Inc, New York. This touring exhibition introduces Australian audiences to an outstanding but now unfamiliar figure in the development of photography in the twentieth century.

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