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 Eve Cohen Arnold  (1912 - 2012)

About: Eve Cohen Arnold
 

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Lived/Active: New York / England      Known for: photojournalist-celebrities

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Following is The New York Times obituary of the artist:

"Eve Arnold, a Photographer of Bold and Illuminating Images, Dies at 99"
By DOUGLAS MARTIN
Published: January 5, 2012

Eve Arnold, who fell in love with photography after a boyfriend gave her a camera and who came to be regarded as a grande dame of postwar photojournalism for her bold, revealing images of subjects as diverse as Marilyn Monroe and migratory potato pickers, died on Wednesday in London. She was 99.

American-born, Ms. Arnold had lived in Britain since 1961.

Her death was announced by Magnum Photos, the photography cooperative to which she belonged for more than a half-century. She was among the first women it hired to make pictures.

Ms. Arnold was a leading light in what is considered the golden age of news photography, when magazines like Life and Look commanded attention with big, arresting pictures supplied by adventurous photographers like Henri Cartier-Bresson, Gordon Parks, Robert Capa and Margaret Bourke-White.

Acclaimed for capturing celebrities in intimate moments after winning their trust, Ms. Arnold developed a particular rapport with Marilyn Monroe, the subject of a book of Arnold photographs. One image showed Monroe emerging from the black of a nightclub into the white glare of a spotlight with a smiling Arthur Miller, her husband at the time. Another showed her pensively studying her lines on location in the vast Western setting for the 1961 film The Misfits.

Foreshadowing the celebrity portfolios of photographers like Annie Leibovitz, Ms. Arnold captured Joan Crawford squirming into a girdle and James Cagney and his wife doing an impromptu dance in a barn.

But other pictures, just as memorable, were of the unfamous. Among the more than 750,000 Ms. Arnold made was one taken in 1963 showing an English curate mowing a lawn, his robes tied up to keep them clear of the blades. She took pictures in a South African shantytown, a Havana brothel and a Moscow psychiatric hospital. She documented a Long Island hamlet, Miller Place, and the first minutes of a baby’s life. She was an official photographer on 40 movie sets.

After waiting 10 years for a visa, she visited China twice in 1979. Traveling 40,000 miles, she photographed Communist officials, Mongolian horsemen and oil drillers. The trip was chronicled in an exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum and a book, one of dozens she wrote and photographed.

In 1985, Mary Blume of The International Herald Tribune wrote, “In a distinguished career, Eve Arnold has photographed Everyone with a capital ‘E’ and also everyone.”

Eve Cohen was born in Philadelphia on April 21, 1912, one of nine children of immigrants from Ukraine. Her father was a rabbi. At 28, she abandoned ambitions of becoming a doctor to move to New York. “That’s where the boys are,” she told The New York Times in 2002.

She did find a boyfriend, and he gave her a camera, insisting she learn how to use it. It was a $40 Rolleicord, the cheaper version of the Rolleiflex. Her first picture was of a bum on the New York waterfront. The boyfriend was gone in a couple of years.

Ms. Cohen got a job in a photofinishing plant, where she rose to manager. In 1948 she married Arnold Arnold, an industrial designer; later that year she gave birth to a son, Frank, who survives her.

Enrolling at the New School, she studied photography under Alexey Brodovitch, the renowned art director for Harper’s Bazaar magazine. One day he assigned his students to photograph a fashion story, and Ms. Arnold decided on an unconventional approach. She found it when she learned from her babysitter that fashion shows were held in Harlem — in churches, bars and other places there. Mr. Brodovitch liked her pictures so much that he suggested she return to Harlem to create a portfolio. The British journal Picture Post bought her Harlem work.

In 1961 Ms. Arnold and her family moved to England, where she lived the rest of her life. Her marriage ended in divorce. In addition to her son, she is survived by three grandchildren.

Her many honors include the Order of the British Empire and the lifetime achievement award of the American Society of Magazine Photographers. She was a fellow of the Royal Photographic Society and named a “master photographer” by the International Center of Photography in New York, considered by many to be the world’s most prestigious photographic honor.

Ms. Arnold joined Magnum in 1951 on an informal basis and became a member of the cooperative in 1957. In an interview on Thursday, John G. Morris, who was Magnum’s executive editor and a creative force in postwar photojournalism, remembered her work as “offbeat” and praised her photos of Monroe and Malcolm X. Perhaps her most famous picture of Malcolm shows him collecting fistfuls of dollars at a rally in Washington.

Ms. Arnold covered politics, including the Republican National Convention in 1952 and Senator Joseph R. McCarthy’s investigation of suspected Communist subversion in 1954. But she earned wider note for her celebrity photos, starting in 1952 with Marlene Dietrich and her legendary legs, immortalized in a striking Arnold picture.

She won the trust of stars by treating them with unusual courtesy. In the 1950s she was hired to photograph Joan Crawford, who wanted to promote her new movie, Autumn Leaves.  By Ms. Arnold’s account, Ms. Crawford arrived spectacularly inebriated, kissed her on the mouth, stripped naked and demanded to be photographed. Ms. Arnold demurred at first, then took the pictures.

A few days later, over lunch, Ms. Arnold handed the negatives to Ms. Crawford, assuring her that they would never be published. Ms. Crawford thanked her by allowing her to do a day-in-the-life photo feature about her. The pictures, which appeared in Life, are an up-close study of an aging star coping with her fading beauty — applying makeup, for instance, and struggling with that girdle.

In an interview with the London newspaper The Independent, Ms. Arnold said she had never been tempted to make the nude photos public, not so much out of concern for Ms. Crawford’s image as for her own.

“I didn’t think they would do me credit,” she said. “I had in mind a long career.”


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