Marcel Sternberger photographed Sigmund Freud, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, Albert Einstein and George Bernard Shaw. His portrait of Franklin Delano Roosevelt became the basis for the image of the President on the 10-cent coin. And yet after his death in 1956, his name was forgotten – until a young photographer and antiquarian bookseller Jakob Leventhal did not find his photographs in the warehouse.
The exhibition "Portraits of Marcel Sternberger: icons of the 20th century" in New York rare book store PRPH Books reveals this little-known photographer. Many of the works have never before been exhibited.
Sternberger was born in 1899. Fleeing from anti-Semites, he fled from his native Hungary, only to be in Nazi Germany. The artist with his wife Ilze was detained by the Gestapo in 1933, however, they were able to move to Antwerp. There Sternberger became the official photographer of the Royal family of Belgium. When war engulfed Europe, Sternberger moved to London, and then emigrated to the United States.
"World leaders and prominent people recognized him as a leading portrait photographer of his generation," said James Leventhal.
The painter traveled to the United States and Mexico. He took pictures of many celebrities and his work has appeared in world Newspapers, on book covers and postage stamps. He became friends with Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, he often came to visit them in Mexico city.
The method of Sternberger to create emotional portraits that reflect the personality of his sitters included what he called "the psychology of portrait photography". The New York Times described it as "a unique combination of psychological and photographic techniques", including a mandatory interview with the characters before the photo shoot.
Sternberger, died in a car crash in 1956. In 1996 Ilse gave it to the archives of Stephen Leventhal, founder of the Brooklyn store of rare books and 19th century photographs. He was going to publish a book about Sternberger, but this task eventually fell to his son Jacob. He re-opened the file, and in 2016 published work "the Psychological portrait: Revelations of Marcel Sternberger."
An extended version of the exhibition "Portraits of Marcel Sternberger" in October of this year, will be presented in the Sidney Mishkin gallery at Baruch College in new York.