Josef Breitenbach


Category: Photography

Josef Breitenbach (German, 1896-1984) was born in Munich to a middle-class family of Jewish descent. He attended technical high school from 1912 -1915 and trained as a salesman for an instrument firm and later as a bookkeeper for an insurance firm. He attended Ludwig-Maximillian University in Munich (philosophy and art history, 1914 to 1917) and became active in the Youth Section and later the Pacifist wing of the Social Democratic Party. Breitenbach opened a photographic studio in 1931, but the Nazis forced him to flee to Paris in 1933 where he opened a new studio. He went from there to New York where he worked for the American press and taught at several schools including Black Mountain College and The New School for Social Research. Through the 50s and 60s he did reportage in Asia for the United Nations and other varied businesses. He exhibited extensively in Europe in the 1930s (especially in Paris and London) and in the United States from the 40s to the mid-60s, including the Musuem of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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