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Layne Nielson collection on George Hoyningen-Huene, ca. 1953-1985
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Restrictions on Access
  • Restrictions on Use and Reproduction
  • Preferred Citation
  • Provenance/Source of Acquisition
  • Processing Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Organization and Arrangement
  • Related Oral History
  • Related Material
  • UCLA Catalog Record ID

  • Title: Layne Nielson collection on George Hoyningen-Huene
    Collection number: 2232
    Contributing Institution: UCLA Library Special Collections
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 0.8 linear ft. (2 document boxes)
    Date: ca. 1953-1985
    Abstract: Baron George Hoyningen-Huene, celebrated fashion photographer and motion picture color consultant, photographed for Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar from 1925 to 1945 and coordinated aesthetics for film director George Cukor. In addition to drafts of Baron George Hoyningen-Huene’s unpublished memoirs, the collection includes his estate settlement and published and unpublished drafts of biographies of Hoyningen-Huene by William Ewing and Oreste Pucciani and related correspondence.
    Language of Materials: Materials are primarily in English, some materials in French.
    Physical Location: Stored off-site at SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact the UCLA Library Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.

    Restrictions on Access

    COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF: Open for research. Advance notice required for access. Contact the UCLA Library Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.

    Restrictions on Use and Reproduction

    Property rights to the physical object belong to the UCLA Library Special Collections. Literary rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Layne Nielson Collection on George Hoyningen-Huene (Collection 2232). Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, UCLA.

    Provenance/Source of Acquisition

    Gift of Layne Nielson, 2013.

    Processing Information

    Processed by Rebecca Bucher, with assistance from Megan Hahn Fraser, 2014.


    Baron George Hoyningen-Huene was a fashion photographer and motion picture color consultant known for capturing a sense of natural motion in his subjects. Born in 1900 to a Baltic Baron and to the daughter of an American diplomat to Russia, Hoyningen-Huene grew up in the privilege of aristocratic Imperial Russia. Although his father was chief equerry of the Imperial Court and his father’s family had been Russian subjects for over 200 years, Hoyningen-Huene did not consider himself Russian. While growing up he and many other people in his circle indulgently entertained socialist theory, to which Hoyningen-Huene had been introduced by his tutor with whom he was in love, Ivan Ivanovich, they were disillusioned by the Revolutions of 1917 and lost hope that the Revolutions would effect positive change. In 1917, he and his mother fled Yalta after their house was raided in the night, leaving Hoyningen-Huene without a country or permanent home. Hoyningen-Huene went on to finish his education at a boarding school in the English countryside.
    When Hoyningen-Huene turned eighteen, he joined the British Army as an interpreter to fight alongside the White Army in the Russian Civil War and was quickly introduced to the horrors of the war. He could never hold a commission because of his national identity, so he enrolled as a private in the Royal Fusiliers. In Russia and on the return journey after the war ended, he suffered several serious illnesses, including typhus. Before he enrolled in the Army he was disturbed by the lack of interest and awareness of the situation in Russia on the part of people around him. When he was in the Army, people on the streets would be shocked to see someone in active service and could not imagine what war in which he was still fighting.
    After the Russian Civil War ended and Hoyningen-Huene recovered, he needed to earn a living. One of his first jobs was as an extra for the Epinay Studios of Éclair Films, where he paid close attention to the lighting of the sets. His sister Elizabeth (Betty) designed fashion under the name Madame Yteb and offered him a job sketching dresses, which inspired Hoyningen-Huene to receive formal training in drawing and painting. After unwittingly illegally sketching for a design pirate, Hoyningen-Huene began illustrating for Harper’s Bazaar. After he sold Vogue a collection of photographs of the most beautiful women in France on which he collaborated with the American photographer Man Ray, he began working for Vogue, first illustrating the magazine and then also designing photography sets. One day, when Hoyningen-Huene was preparing a set for a Vogue photo-shoot, the photographer never showed, and Main Bocher (Mainbocher) instructed Hoyningen-Huene to shoot the set himself. Shortly after, Hoyningen-Huene became the chief photographer for French Vogue.
    Hoyningen-Huene did not like photography with the aesthetic of a stiff, staged portrait. His artistic ideal was a photograph in which the model appeared caught in motion natural to her. Hoyningen-Huene worked at Vogue from 1925-1935, at which point he abruptly left Vogue. Known for his temper, Hoyningen-Huene was said to have flipped over a table in a restaurant during the disagreement that resulted in his leaving Vogue, although he later denied that portion of the account in good humor. He went to work at Harper’s Bazaar, although his partner at the time, Horst P. Horst, continued to work at Vogue. Horst had been Hoyningen-Huene’s protégée, and his departure provided Horst the opportunity to branch out as chief photographer.
    Although Hoyningen-Huene continued working at Harper’s Bazaar until 1945, in 1936 he began a long series of travels, about which he published several books. After he left Harper’s Bazaar, he began teaching professional photography at the Art Center School in Los Angeles. He also began working for Hollywood director George Cukor in a job Cukor created for him, color-coordinator. He oversaw the technical methods of developing the film in color as well as the use of color on the set and in the design of the film.
    Hoyningen-Huene wrote his unpublished memoirs of his life growing up in the Russian Court, his experience fighting in the Russian Civil War, his career and artistic philosophy, and anecdotes of his many encounters with celebrities. He and Oreste Pucciani were collaborating on a book that was never finished about the photographer’s life. Baron George Hoyningen-Huene died in 1968 of a heart attack.
    After his death, photographer William (Bill) Ewing wrote a book on Hoyningen-Huene and his photography. Pucciani contributed to the book through sharing Hoyningen-Huene’s memoirs that he possessed, through his editing services, and through a timeline he created of events in Hoyningen-Huene’s life and in the world. Pucciani later gave this collection to Layne Nielson.

    Scope and Content

    The Layne Nielson Collection on George Hoyningen-Huene ranges from circa 1953-1985, with the bulk of the materials produced before 1968 or from 1980-1983. The collection includes drafts of Hoyningen-Huene’s memoirs, his notes on his life, and several pieces of his correspondence regarding his memoirs. Some of his notes are directed to Oreste Pucciani, and Pucciani may have assisted with the organization of one of the drafts. Hoyningen-Huene and Pucciani were collaborating on a book about the photographer’s life. In addition to Hoyningen-Huene’s memoirs, the collection includes material related to Pucciani’s contributions to William (Bill) Ewing’s book The Photographic Art of Hoyningen-Huene including: correspondence, a draft of the text possibly edited by Pucciani, and drafts and research for material Pucciani contributed to the book. The collection also contains two brief biographies of Hoyningen-Huene by Pucciani as well as the Baron’s estate settlement.
    Hoyningen-Huene’s memoirs reflect on his childhood in the Russian court, his early political experiences and beliefs, his experience fighting in the Russian Civil War and recovering in Russian and British hospitals, his career and artistic philosophies, and anecdotes of celebrities and intelligentsia. Anecdotes that may be of interest relate to: Barbette, Katherine Hepburn, Charlie Chaplin, Salvador Dali, Joseph Pilates, Greta Garbo, George Cukor, Aldous Huxley, Gerald Heard, and Princess Frederica of Hanover (Queen Frederika of Greece), and others.

    Organization and Arrangement

    Box 1 contains drafts of GHH's memoirs and the settlement of his estate. Box 2 contains notes and correspondence related to GHH and Pucciani's collaboration on GHH's memoirs, as well as correspondence, notes, and drafts of timelines related to Pucciani's contributions to Ewing's book Photographic Art of Hoyningen-Huene.

    Related Oral History

    The following oral history is available through the UCLA Library Center for Oral History Research:

    Related Material

    Oreste F. Pucciani Papers (Collection 585). Available at Library Special Collections, UCLA.

    UCLA Catalog Record ID

    UCLA Catalog Record ID: 7395327