F. Bedrich Grünzweig School, Guenavaca, Mexico
Medium Silver print
Photo Date 1950s Print Date 1950s
Dimensions 7-9/16 x 9-3/8 in. (192 x 238 mm)
Photo Country Mexico
Photographer Country United States (USA)
Contact Alex Novak and Marthe Smith
About This Image
Photographer's stamp and title on verso. Bedrich Grunzweig was born in 1910 in Prague, grew up in Brno and escaped from Czechoslovakia in 1939 with his wife. His grandmother, parents and brother were all killed by the Nazis. His first photograph in 1926 was a portrait of his now deceased brother. After he moved to the U.S., he settled first in New York City where he worked at the Czechoslovakian Pavilion of the 1939 World's Fair and later, after World War II, at the United Nations, in each case working with documentary filmmakers in the public information department. Since the 1940s, he had been photographing life in New York City, and his work has been widely exhibited. While Grünzweig was involved in the realm of photography for many years, he never did it professionally. For him, photography was a life-long interest. Two of his best known images are "Brooklyn Bridge" and "Between Heaven and Earth," which won U.S. Camera magazine's first prize in 1951. It was also published in Popular Photography 1952 Annual and in the 1952 Annual of American Photography. In 1961, the UN sent him to work in Africa as manager of peace-keeping operations in the former Belgian Congo. In 1964 he won the Saturday Review first prize for his photograph 'Kennedy Airport'. In 1973 his work was exhibited at the Jewish Museum in New York City. The solo show was called "Bedrich Grunzweig, Photographs, Return to Prague: A Personal Sojourn". Grunzweig eventually became adviser to the director of the International Center of Photography from 1974 to 1994. The ICP gave him a one-man show there at the old 94th Street location in 1984. Cornell Capa said of Grünzweig, "Through his life span he has seen much. He has gentle humor, and great sensitivity to the human tragedy." Grunzweig returned to Prague, the city of his birth, three times between 1969 and 1983 and again in the 1991 and 1998. The first exhibition of his photographs in Prague in 1998 presented work from 1948-1996. He recalls that he often met with the noted Czech photographer, Vilém Reichmann. "Willi [Vilém] lived close to us," he recalls. "We went to the same high school. I thought of him often during the Czech Modernism exhibition at the ICP, and I wrote to him right away. After that we exchanged a few letters." More recently Grunzweig's work was included in the show "Eight Million Stories: 20th-Century New York Life in Prints and Photographs from the New York Public Library", which ran from August 2006-January 2007. Besides the U.S., Grunzweig worked, photographed and traveled to the Congo, Czech Republic, Spain, Israel, Italy, France, Portugal, Greece, Turkey, Austria, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Canada, and other countries. His work is in the collection of numerous museums and institutions, including the New York Public Library, the United Nations Photography Archives, the New York Museum of Modem Art, the International Center of Photography, the Cooper-Hewitt Museum, the Seagram's Photo Collection, the Library for the Performing Arts (New York), the Jewish Museum (New York), the Israeli Museum (Jerusalem), the University of Haifa, the Museum of the Jewish Diaspora (Tel Aviv), and the Moravian Museum. He is listed in the Auer & Auer and George Eastman House databases. He died in 2009.
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