Freund, Gisèle (1912—)

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Freund, Gisèle (1912—)

German-born French photographer . Name variations: Gisele Freund. Born in Berlin, Germany, in 1912; studied sociology and art history, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, Breisgau, Germany, 1932–33; studied at the Sorbonne, France, 1933–36, receiving Ph.D. in sociology and art; married Pierre Blum, in 1937 (divorced 1948).

Became a naturalized citizen of France (1936); moved to Lot, France, to escape Nazis (1940–42); was photographer and assistant film producer in Argentina and Chile with the Louis Jouvet Theatre Company (1943–44); worked for France Libre, Argentina (1944–45); lived in New York City (1947–49); lived and worked in Mexico (1950–52); became a member of Magnum Photos in Paris (1947–54); honored with the Grand Prix National des Arts, France (1980).

Born in Germany in 1912, Gisèle Freund arrived in Paris in 1933 to study sociology and the history of art. She underwrote her schooling with portraits and photo-journalism taken with a small Leica, a present from her father. In 1936, Freund received her doctorate at the Sorbonne and saw her first published photographs appear in Life magazine. She soon became known for her photo portraits, many in color as early as 1938, of literary and artistic greats, including James Joyce, Jean-Paul Sartre, Colette , Virginia Woolf , Elsa Triolet , Sylvia Beach , André Malraux, and Matisse. As a freelance photojournalist for Life, Weekly Illustrated, Picture-Post, and Paris Match, Freund produced photoessays on everyone from unemployed workers to Evita Peron . Her books include Photography and Society, The World and My Camera, Three Days with Joyce, and Gisèle Freund: Photographer.