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Halsman, Philippe


HALSMAN, PHILIPPE (1906–1979), U.S. photographer. Born in Riga, Latvia, Halsman became interested in photography at 15 when his father, a dentist, gave him an old camera. He studied engineering but gave it up and moved to Paris. When German troops were approaching in 1940, Halsman, after a decade as a successful portraitist, left for New York with an emergency visa, obtained through the intervention of Albert *Einstein, whom he photographed frequently. The first picture Halsman made in the United States, of an unknown model, Connie Ford, lying on an American flag fashioned from paper, was bought by the cosmetics company Elizabeth Arden for display, making the model, and photographer, famous. Halsman made a photograph of Salvador Dali with a ballerina on a city rooftop. It became the Picture of the Week for Life magazine. The two men became close friends, working together on a number of surreal images. Their successful collaboration resulted in 1954 in a book entitled Dali's Mustache, a light-hearted look at the artist's famous mustache. Halsman was responsible for more than 100 covers for Life magazine, then a weekly picture magazine. He achieved international acclaim for his portraits of Churchill and John F. Kennedy and the actresses Ingrid Bergman, Elizabeth *Taylor, and Marilyn *Monroe. In 1966 the United States engraved two of Halsman's portraits, of Adlai E. Stevenson and of Einstein, on postage stamps. One of Halsman's most famous series shows the rich and famous jumping for the camera. Marilyn Monroe jumps exuberantly, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor do so demurely and Richard M. Nixon does it rather prudishly. The Jump Book was published in 1959. Halsman was the first president of the American Society of Magazine Photographers.

[Stewart Kampel (2nd ed.)]

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