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Finding Aid for the Alexander Liberman Photography Archive, 1911-1998, undated
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Collection Details
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Biographical / Historical Note
  • Administrative Information
  • Related Archival Materials
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Alexander Liberman photography archive
    Date (inclusive): 1911-1998
    Number: 2000.R.19
    Creator/Collector: Liberman, Alexander, 1912-1999
    Physical Description: 337.0 linear feet (404 boxes, 4 flat file folders, 19 framed items)
    The Getty Research Institute
    Special Collections
    1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
    Los Angeles, California, 90049-1688
    (310) 440-7390
    Abstract: The archive contains photographs by Alexander Liberman, Russian-born photographer, art director of Vogue magazine, and editorial director of Condé Nast publications. Included in the collection are approximately 8,000 photographic prints, 50,000 transparencies, 90,000 negatives, 38 books of contact prints, and prints mounted for exhibition. The predominant subjects are artists and other cultural figures, and European historical sites. Also included are personal photographs of family and friends.
    Request Materials: Request access to the physical materials described in this inventory through the catalog record  for this collection. Click here for the access policy .
    Language: Collection material is in English

    Biographical / Historical Note

    Russian-born artist Alexander Liberman was the influential art director of Vogue magazine from 1943 to 1962, then editorial director of Condé Nast publications until 1994. As an artist, Liberman worked in paint, large-scale sculpture, and photography. He photographed contemporary artists and other cultural figures, friends, family, and historical sites from about 1925 until 1998. He published several books of his photographs, including The Artist in His Studio (1960, 1988), Campodiglio: Michelangelo's Roman Capitol (1994), and Then: Photographs 1925-1995 (1995).

    Administrative Information


    Open for use by qualified researchers.

    Publication Rights

    Preferred Citation

    Alexander Liberman photography archive, 1911-1998, The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, Accession no. 2000.R.19.

    Acquisition Information

    Gift of the Alexander Liberman estate, 2000.

    Processing History

    Preliminary processing by Alan Tomlinson under the supervision of Jocelyn Gibbs. Two boxes of photographic material were received in 2003, 2004. In 2010 Emmabeth Nanol researched the dates for images in Series II.A and Series VI.A and added them to the finding aid, along with the number of unique images in each folder. In 2012, Emmabeth Nanol rearranged the finding aid under the supervision of Andra Darlington. Box 47A is sealed for conservation purposes.

    Digitized Version

    Selected photographs of artists and personalities were digitized between 2011-2012 with support from ARTstor. Connect to selected digitized images from Series I. Artists and personalities. 

    Related Archival Materials

    Alexander Liberman papers, 1953-1997, undated (accession number 2003.M.30).

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The collection contains photographs by Alexander Liberman from 1925 to 1998, including approximately 8,000 photographic prints, 50,000 transparencies, 90,000 negatives, 38 books of contact sheets, and loose prints mounted on foam core. The subjects of the photographs fall primarily into two groups: contemporary artists and cultural figures, and European historical sites. The collection documents over 242 major European and American artists, such as Braque, Cezanne, Dali, de Kooning, Duchamp, Ernst, Giacometti, Kandinsky, Matisse, Newman, Picasso, Rauschenberg, and Rothko. Among the images are portraits of the artists at work or in their studios, photographs of their work in progress, and documentation of finished artworks. A smaller group of photographs documenting historical and architectural sites focuses on Greece, France, Italy, and Spain. Some photographs depict Liberman's family and friends. Production materials for some of his photographic books are included, as are images for Barbara Rose's book on Liberman. Also present are photographs by other photographers, some dating as early as 1911.

    Arrangement note

    Arranged in six series: .Series I. Artists and personalities, 1911-1995, undated; Series II. Publications, circa 1925-1998; Series III. Prints in edition for exhibition, circa 1994-1996; Series IV. Benrubi returns, circa 1940-1995; Series V. Places, 1960-1972, undated; Series VI. Negatives, contact prints and scrapbooks, 1936-1972, undated

    Indexing Terms

    Subjects - Names

    Braque, Georges, 1882-1963
    Cézanne, Paul, 1839-1906
    De Kooning, Willem, 1904-1997
    Duchamp, Marcel, 1887-1968
    Ernst, Max, 1891-1976
    Giacometti, Alberto, 1901-1966
    Kandinsky, Wassily, 1866-1944
    Liberman, Alexander, 1912-1999
    Matisse, Henri, 1869-1954
    Newman, Barnett, 1905-1970
    Picasso, Pablo, 1881-1973
    Rauschenberg, Robert, 1925-2008
    Rothko, Mark, 1903-1970

    Subjects - Topics

    Art, Modern--20th century
    Artists' studios
    Portrait photography

    Subjects - Places

    Capitoline Hill (Italy)--Pictorial works
    Rome (Italy)--Buildings, structures, etc.--Pictorial works

    Subjects - Titles

    Campodiglio : Michelangelo's Roman capitol The artist in his studio Then : photographs 1925-1995

    Genres and Forms of Material

    Negatives (photographic)
    Photographic prints
    Photographs, Original