The University of Virginia Law Library collection of André Kertész photographs consists of fifty 8 ½ x 11 silver gelatin prints, donated by an anonymous alumnus of the School of Law in 1985. Kertész likely developed, labeled, and signed these prints in the 1970s. Thirty prints are from Kertész’s residence in Paris between the wars, 1925-1936, a time of great personal and professional fulfillment for Kertész. Nine photographs are from New York, where Kertész lived from 1936 until his death in 1985. The final eleven prints are from Kertész’s pilgrimages back to Paris, all but one from an extended visit in October-November 1963 when Kertész was preparing an exhibition at the Bibliothèque Nationale.
Together these prints, taken from 1925 to 1969, represent the central epoch in the life of Kertész—the flowering of his artistry when he first discovered Paris, his time of trials in mid-century New York, and a new wave of enthusiasm for art and life that Kertész experienced in the 1960s.
“André Kertész: Capturing Paris and New York” allows visitors to explore Kertész’s work through complementary physical and digital galleries. The physical exhibition, housed on the second floor of the University of Virginia Law Library, contains forty-two poster-size enlargements of Kertész prints. Each title card features a QR code that allows viewers using a smart device to access that image in the corresponding online gallery. The online gallery offers detailed information on each print.
An exciting feature of the online gallery is its use of digital maps (through Google Earth) that pinpoint the location of most of the images. These maps offer users the opportunity to explore Paris and New York with Kertész, providing geographic context for this remarkable collection of photographs.
In Fall of 1987, several years after receiving the Kertész Collection, the Law Library put on an exhibition of the prints in conjunction with UVa's Bayly Art Musuem, now known as the Fralin Art Museum. Concurrent with the exhibition, Marsha Trimble, UVa Law Library's archivist, provided a writeup of the collection in the Law School Report.
Loren Moulds, Digital Collections Librarian
Philip Herrington, Special Collections Research Fellow
Cecilia Brown, Archivist