About the Artist

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  • Martin Bruehl. Portrait of Anton Bruehl. c. 1937. Courtesy Howard Greenberg Gallery. © Estate of Anton Bruehl

    Anton Bruehl was born in 1900 of German émigré parents in the small town of Hawker, Australia. By 1919, when he moved to the United States to work as an electrical engineer, he was a skilled amateur photographer. A show of student work from the Clarence H. White School of Photography at the Art Center, New York, in 1923 convinced Bruehl to quit his engineering job to become a photographer. White taught Bruehl privately for six months and then asked him to teach at his school, including its summer sessions in Maine. White’s sudden death, in 1925, prompted Bruehl to open a studio, at first partnering with photographer Ralph Steiner and then with his older brother, Martin Bruehl; it was immediately successful. Specializing in elaborately designed and lit tableaux, Bruehl won top advertising awards throughout the late 1920s and early 1930s. A favorite of Condé Nast Publications, he developed the Bruehl-Bourges color process with color specialist Fernand Bourges, which gave Condé Nast a monopoly on color magazine reproduction from 1932 to 1935.

    In 1931 Alma Reed exhibited Bruehl’s non-commercial photographs at her New York gallery, Delphic Studios. An ardent supporter of Mexican art and artists, she may have inspired Bruehl’s 1932 summer trip to Mexico, the pictures from which she exhibited in 1933 and then published as collotypes in a beautifully printed linen-bound book, titled Photographs of Mexico. The book was well reviewed and was chosen as one of the “Fifty Books of the Year” by the American Institute of Graphic Arts. Until his retirement, in 1966, Bruehl maintained an elegant midtown studio and commanded high fees for his work.

    —Bonnie Yochelson

Meeting Points

Artist Chronology

March 11, 1900
At location: Anton Bruehl
Trains as an electrical engineer
At location: Anton Bruehl
1919–late 1960s
Lives in New York
At location: Anton Bruehl
New York
Works for Western Electric Company
At location: Anton Bruehl
New York
Studies at the Clarence White School
At location: Anton Bruehl
New York
Works part-time for photographer Jessie Tarbox Beals
At location: Anton Bruehl
New York
Teaches at the Clarence White School of Photography
At location: Anton Bruehl
New York
Establishes a studio and makes commercial and advertising photographs as well as portraits
At location: Anton Bruehl
New York
Works for Condè Nast; publishes photographs in Vogue, Vanity Fair, and House and Garden
At location: Anton Bruehl
New York
Creates advertising photographs for menswear comapny Weber and Heilbroner; photographs published in The New Yorker
Contributor: Anton Bruehl
New York
Becomes the head of the color photography department at Condé Nast
At location: Anton Bruehl
New York
May 18–July 7, 1929
Internationale Ausstellung des Deutschen Werkbunds Film und Foto (FiFo) at Städtische Ausstellungshallen

Kunstgewerbemuseum, Zurich
August 28–September 22, 1929

Im Lichthof des Ehemaligen Kunstgewerbemuseums, Prinz-Albrechs-Strasse 7, Berlin
October 19–November 17, 1929

Stadtmuseum, Danzig
(dates unknown)

Österreichisches Museum, Vienna
February 20–March 31, 1930

Agram, Zagreb
April 5–14, 1930

Münchner Bund/Verein Ausstellungspark München E.V. (as part of Internationale Ausstellung. Das Lichtbild), Munich
June 5–September 7, 1930

Asahi Shimbun, Tokyo
April 1931

Asahi Shimbun, Osaka
July 1–7, 1931

October 1929
Exhibition at Berkeley Art Museum
November 1930
Photography 1930, organized by Lincoln Kerstein, at the Harvard Society for Contemporary Art
March 1931
Annual Exhibition of Advertising Art at the Art Center
Participant: Anton Bruehl
New York
Collaborates with Fernand Bourges at Condé Nast to produce 195 color photographs using the color carbo technique
They dominate the field of color photography until Kodak introduces Kodachrome sheet film, making color photography much easier.
At location: Anton Bruehl
New York
Travels and photographs in Mexico
At location: Anton Bruehl
Mexico City
July 27–September 7, 1932
Twenty-seven Photographers at Wertheim Gallery
October–November 1932
First National Exhibition of Photographs for Commerce, Industry and Science, at the Art Center
New York
Creates covers for the women's-interest magazine Pictorial Review
At location: Anton Bruehl
New York
November 10–December 10, 1933
Photographs of Mexico by Anton Bruehl and Industrial Photographs of American and Russian Urban Factory Groups by Margaret Bourke-White at the Memorial Art Gallery of Rochester
Mid-late 1930s
Anton Bruehl and Edward Steichen are contributing editors at U.S. Camera
New York
Group exhibition at the Cleveland Museum of Art
September 18–October 6, 1934
Art and Industry, sponsored by The National Alliance of Art and Industry, at the Rockefeller Center
New York
Publishes Color Sells: Showing Examples of Color Photography by Bruehl-Borges with Fernand Bourges
Contributor: Anton Bruehl
New York
March 17–April 18, 1937
Photography: 1839–1937, organized by Beaumont Newhall, at The Museum of Modern Art
New York
Creates the long-term, popular photograph series The Esquire Canteen, inspired by performances staged for troops at the front
At location: Anton Bruehl
New York
Late 1960s
Retires in Florida
At location: Anton Bruehl
August 10, 1983
At location: Anton Bruehl
San Francisco

Walther Photographs

View this artist's works in MoMA's Online Collection

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