Stories about Arnold

Remarks by Elizabeth Greenberg at the Arnold Newman Memorial, February 2007

What an honor it is to be here today to join all of you on remembering Arnold Newman.  A wonderful man who touched our lives in so many ways.  It was nearly a year ago, I had the pleasure of being here in this same place to celebrate and honor the awarding of his Gold Medal, awarded by The National Arts Club.  I will be forever grateful for the opportunity to share with him my gratitude and immense respect for his work, and his years of friendship.

In true Arnold form though, as I went to give him a hug after speaking, he said “But you didn’t say what I wanted you to!”  (even though I had said what I wanted him to hear!).  I have spent these past months thinking of what he wanted me to say – of the stories he wanted me to tell – as there are many.

It has reminded me of what it was like when I first went to work for him.  Starting the very fist day, he would have “message” for me.  That first week, over and over again, he would tell me “you have to learn to pay attention to detail”.  And that mantra rang through my head all day, and all night.  Until the following week, when he began with

“You have to learn to think for yourself!”  And again, this would repeat over and over in my head.

As with the weekly mantras, I have been asking myself which story it was he wanted me to tell. I have thought of many stories I could share, and as my students know, I do so love to share ‘Arnold’ stories. I have stories of finding locksmiths in far away places, needed to open a safe deposit box in a hotel where film from a shoot was stored for safe keeping, and the keys were never to be seen again. (Augusta always said that Arnold was a fabulous magician, who could make anything disappear in the blink of an eye).  I could tell, stories of late nights in the darkroom, where I am certain I was the cause of needing to have the floor replaced, due to my incessant pacing back and forth.   There are stories of accompanying him on shoots, to visit artists, CEOs, and even to Tunis and Israel.  The most special of all the jobs I assisted him on.  To travel to Israel with him, and see a place so dear to him, and so much a part of who he was, it was a once-in –a-lifetime experience, for a young photo assistant.

Arnold and I always had a funny way of getting along.  I think we both thought it was our job to take care of the other.  Clearly that was my job, but it worked both ways.  I recall on more than one occasion, returning home on a Friday evening, to have him call with concern because he might have forgotten to pay me before the end of the day.  When I began dating my husband Howard, it was very important to Arnold that he know ALL about him, and that he meet him, just to make sure he met with his approval.

When I moved to Maine to become the director of the photography programs at The Workshops, he thought it was very funny that he used to hire me, and then I was in the position to hire him.  That was a story he wanted me to tell.

But months later, as it has rung through my head that I didn’t tell the story that he wanted me to last May, I think I know the story he was thinking of.  It is the story of the day I told him I had to leave.  Now, what he never knew, was that I had tried to plan this major event for a Friday, knowing that I probably wouldn’t want to see him the next day.  So, I picked the Friday, it was a quiet day in the studio, he and Augusta were working in the office all day.  Each time I thought I had mustered the courage to go in and talk to him, I would start heading that way, always with a pencil in my hand – in case I lost my nerve, and could pretend I just needed to sharpen a pencil.  Well, by the end of the day, every pencil in that studio was sharp – and, I still had a job.

All that weekend it weighed on me that I needed to talk to him – so, ignoring the plan to save this for a Friday, that following Monday at the end of the day as he was sitting and working on a collage in the workroom, I went and sat down with him.  I didn’t need to say anything, he already knew.  Before I could get a word out, we both began to cry.  He didn’t want me to abandon him, and frankly, I wasn’t all that sure how I was going to do out in the big world on my own.  But he had taught me all that I needed to know, and it was time for me to fly the coop.  I never really left him – even after that day, I would continue to go and assist him until I finally moved out of New York.  And then it was only the following year that I had the opportunity to see him in Maine.  These past seven years that I have been at The Workshops full time, I have always looked forward to his summer visits.  The last few summers when Augusta was not able to join him, were also very special.  We got to spend time together, and he would regale my husband and I with all of his stories. We had the opportunity to have him to our home, as he had so often included me here in New York.  He is missed by our community there, as he is in many communities around the world.  But I know that we will all continue to learn from him, from his art, and from his many contributions – and, for those of us who were lucky enough to call him a mentor, and a friend, he will always be a with us.  He will never really be gone.

Remarks by Greg Heisler at the Arnold Newman Memorial, February 2007

So here’s the plain truth:  I simply wouldn’t be here today but for Arnold, and of course, Augusta.  And I don’t mean here at the National Arts Club.  Here, as in:  My Entire Life.  I’d not be enjoying the career I have here as a photographer, especially at the level at which I’m privileged to experience it. I’d never have met my beautiful Australian bride; I’d have stayed in Skokie and married a Nice Jewish Girl instead!  And I wouldn’t have my two incredible daughters who bring light into my life every single day. I’d have none of this, were it not for him.

Nine months.  The gestation period of a human fetus.  Also, perhaps not so coincidentally, my entire tenure at the Arnold Newman Studio. I remember sitting in the Eames Interview Chair for the first time, and thinking, “This is my real Bar Mitzvah:  ‘Today I am a Photographer.”  It proved to be the ultimate crash course in the practice of photography at its highest level.  It certainly wasn’t about being groovy. Unfortunately, it was never about all the pretty models, because there weren’t any.  (If anything, there seemed to be a definite bias toward overweight, balding white men.)  It wasn’t about networking, marketing, or locking in the next job.  It wasn’t about being seen with the right people in the right places. It was never about competing with anyone else. In fact, at least from my 21-year old perspective, it was as if no one else existed.  It was all Arnold, all the time.  It was The Newman Show.  It was a profound introduction to what photography can be when it’s really all about the photographs.

Just one small example:  It’s a common cliché to see the film director squinting, his hands tromboning in & out before his face, cropping and framing the world through the inverted “L’s” of his thumb and forefingers.  It’s an act that, by its very nature, assumes the field of view to be always less than what the eye sees.  I never once saw Arnold do that; I couldn’t even imagine him in such a comical pose!  He’d have had to pull his hands back behind his ears for some of his images!  You see, his eyes didn’t just look straight ahead, they’d take in everything, lending many of his images an uncanny sense of peripheral vision. Because every lens was a portrait lens in Arnold’s hands, yet his pictures never looked “lensy.” It was from him that I learned how to tame and effectively employ the unwieldy, chaotic view of the wide-angle lens.  His incredible, unerring eye for translating these spatial relationships into the two dimensions of the photograph is still unmatched.  I can’t tell you how often I’ve heard uncomprehending art directors, and worse, photographers, express their dilemma: “If we show the whole scene, the person will be too small; but if you go in closer then you won’t see where they are!”  And these are visual people!

Most importantly, though, his impact on photography in general, especially portrait photography, absolutely cannot be overstated. Period.  Every single environmental portrait tips its hat in acknowledgement.  But just look at most of the contemporary portraiture published in magazines and hanging on gallery walls.  Almost every picture consists of a static rectangle with a person smack dab in the middle!  The environment may be present, but it’s there as simple context, or as decoration.  They’re generally taken with medium-to-long “portrait” lenses that could just as easily been aimed a bit this way or that with little consequence.  Such a casual approach was never evident in an Arnold Newman portrait (or any Arnold Newman photograph, for that matter).  As Jay Maisel says, “You must always be aware of and responsible for everything in your frame.” A smidge either way, closer or farther, would’ve destroyed the delicate balance he seemed incapable of not achieving; it seemed truly to be his innate wiring.  His subjects were often NOT centered in his frame; it is precisely their scale, position, attitude, and relation to other elements that charged the picture with such compositional tension.  His “decisive moments” were rarely about telling gestures, facial expressions, or peaks of action.  For Arnold, they occurred in a spontaneous concatenation of geometries or even a serendipitous swirl of smoke, giving the image already in his mind’s eye its fullest expression.

Arnold & Yiddish

I grew up in a Jewish home, but I was not so familiar with Yiddish.  I’d hear my grandparents speak it a little but not so much my parents.  Mine was the kind of home where my grandma’s signature dish was her matzo ball soup but my mom’s were her spaghetti and lasagna.  So I really didn’t pick up on Yiddish expressions, especially their juiciness and expressiveness, until my immersion in the Newman Studio culture.  But I learned fast.  In alphabetical order, here are some of my favorites.  The affectionate patina of my memory may have compromised the accuracy of their recollection, but hopefully the general flavor is unharmed.  For those of you who may be less familiar with their meaning, I’ve tried to put them into some context for clarity.

Bupkis, as in:  “Arnold’s paying me bupkis.”

Bissel, as in:  “That print’s a bissel too light.”

Boychick, as in:  “So, boychick, you’re leaving?  Gus and I will miss you.”

Chozzerei, as in:  “Umbrellas? Strobes?  I don’t go for all that chozzerei !!”

Chutzpah, as in:  “You’ve got a lot of chutzpah to come in here for an interview!”

Dreck, as in:  “That fashion stuff’s a bunch of dreck.”

Fecockteh, as in:  “This fecockteh shutter isn’t working again.

Futz, as in:  “Well, then don’t futz with it unless you know what you’re doing! Take it to Marty!”

Fresser, as in:  “I know I said I’d treat you to lunch, but I had no idea you were        such a fresser.”

Gevalt, as in:  “Gevalt!  You’re still in the bathroom?  What’re you doing in there?

Gonif, as in:  “That so-called dealer was nothing but a gonif !”

Kibitz, as in:  “I didn’t come here to kibitz with you; now get back in the darkroom!”

Klutz, as in:  “EASY with that light stand!  Don’t be such a klutz !

Kosher, as in:  “Spotting a print is one thing, but retouching’s just not kosher.”

Kvetch, as in:  “Oh Arnold, stop kvetching!”

Kvell, as in:  “You wanna see Gus kvell?  Just ask about our grandchildren!”

L’Chaim,  as in:  “To my beautiful family, L’chaim !”

Macher, as in:  “Marvin?  Oh, he’s a big macher at Columbia Pictures.”

Maven, as in:  “Oh, so now you’re a maven?  Just print it darker!”

Mazel tov, as in:  “Mazel tov; now that’s a print!”

Megillah, as in:  “Oh, and stamp it on the back.  Just use the megillah !”

Mensch, as in:  “Now Frank Zachary, he’s a real mensch.”

Meshuggener, as in:  “Not like all those meshuggener art directors!”

Mishigas, as in:  “With all their layout mishigas.”

Moiyl, as in:  “Your hand shakes so much when you spot those Stravinskys; it’s a good thing you’re not a Moiyl !”

Nachus, as in:  “Satisfaction you can get from your work; nachus you get from your children.”

Nebbish, as in:  “That last kid you interviewed; he’s too much of a nebbish.

Noodge, as in:  “I’m not a noodge, but when, already, will you be finished with those prints?”

Nosh, as in:  “I’m hungry too, but you can’t nosh in the darkroom.”

Nu, as in:  “Nu ?”

Oy, as in:  (grunting as he gets up from his chair) “O-o-o-o-y-y-y !”

Oy Gevalt, as in:  “Oy Gevalt!, whatever that means!”

Ongepotchket, as in:  “Your bleaching looks all ongepotchket; you’ve got to be more careful.”

Pisher, as in:  “When I hired you, you were just a pisher.

Plotz, as in:  “Arnold’s gonna plotz when he sees how much printing paper I’ve wasted.”

Potchkeh, as in:  He always potchkes with that computer; I hope he knows what he’s doing!”

 

Ruggelach, as in:  “Here, you have such a sweet tooth, try these ruggelach with your coffee.”

Schlemiel, as in:  “That schlemiel left the slides at K&L again.”

Schlep, as in:  “Hurry! We must get going!  I’d schlep these cases myself, but I have such a bad back.”

Schlock, as in:  “There’s art and there’s schlock.”

 

Schlub and Schmatte, as in:  “You look like a schlub in that schmatte; go buy yourself a new suit.”

 

Schmaltz, as in:  “I hate that schmaltzy look; that’s why I don’t like filters.”

Schmooze, as in:  “You can’t just sit there and schmooze on the phone; we have work to do!”

Schmutz and Schpritz, as in:  “Get me a tissue; there’s some schmutz on the lens.  Give it a schpritz first.”

Schnorrer, as in:  “I gave him one print, and now he wants another?  I told you he was a schnorrer.

Shiksa, as in:  “So you married a shiksa?”

Shpilkes, as in: “Arnold, you’re giving me such shpilkes that I’m getting an ulcer!”

Shtick, as in:  “Never confuse shtick with style.”

Shvitz, as in:  “Oy, I’m shvitzing under this dark cloth!”

Tchotchkes, as in:  “He calls himself a collector.  Did you see all the tchotchkes in his house?”

Tsuris, as in:  “You think you’ve got tsuris?  Just read the newspaper.”

Tuchis,as in:  “Move your tuchis.  We’ve got a plane to catch.”

Yenta, as in:  “I got stuck on the phone with that yenta.

Zay gezundt, as in:  “Zay gezunt, Greg.  You’ll do just fine.”

Remarks by Karl Katz at the Arnold Newman Memorial, February 2007

When I first met Arnold he extended his hand, asking me to hold his camera bag, and said, “Hi. Say hello to Gus.” Before remembering Arnold one has to describe Gus, or Augusta. She is a special person, particularly in Jerusalem where she was a gunrunner for Teddy Kollek. She was always an important part of the Newman team. Let’s all wish her well.

So there I was holding Arnold Newman’s camera bag on a barren hill with some pecking chickens. That site looks ancient. It is the location of the Israel Museum in the center of Jerusalem and overlooks the Crusader Monastery in the Valley of the Cross.

Looking at this bleak landscape Arnold said “Show me where the entrance will be.” In one of his photographs you see me pointing at the empty crest of the hill on the site called Neve Sha’anan, “the residence of tranquility.”

In 1959 the museum was still six years from becoming an enormously large building project. Though many people photographed the site no one captured it as Arnold did. The Museum stands on the hill’s pinnacle with a 360-degree view of the surrounding landscape with Bethlehem in the southeast. From then on Arnold was the “official” photographer of the Israel Museum. That was the beginning of our friendship.

I have a lovely photograph made by Arnold of me sitting in my office at the Bezalel Museum with the photographs of the museum’s founder, Boris Schatz, and my immediate predecessor, Mordechai Narkiss, on the wall above me. This photograph sat on my desk making me ever aware of these two men and their pioneer achievements.

In the early sixties in my proposal presentation for the organization of the Israel Museum I included a Department of Photography, a division still nearly unheard of in museums. A gentleman came to me months later and said, “I’d like to help the new photography department.” A few days later when his check arrived I called up our Honorary Curator of Photography, Arnold. Fortunately there was an early photography sale at Parke-Bernet, now Sotheby’s, only days later. It was not successful, so we took advantage of the modest prices and Arnold bought amazing photographs to start the museum’s photography collection. It included the works of Adams, Westons, Julia Cameron, and Lewis Caroll. What a coup for a department that would appear four or five years later.

In May 1965 Arnold came to Jerusalem for the Museum’s grand opening, naturally accompanied by Gus. He was also with Bob Moskin; they were to do a big photo spread for Look Magazine. He asked some kids whose paintings were included in the Children’s Wing to bring their work up to the roof for him to photograph; after that exposure the wing started to flourish.

For many years Arnold has been advising the Israel Museum with the help of Gus. He’s always been there for the museum, the photography department, and anybody connected with Jerusalem and Israel. The Museum will always remember Arnold with great gratitude and affection.

I will remember Arnold with great gratitude and affection for the Sunday brunches that Liz and I had with the Newmans. We often supplied the Nova Scotia and ritualistically Arnold would go around the table pouring coffee with the rugelah he discovered at Food Emporium.

Many non-profits like MUSE owe a debt of gratitude to Arnold for his generously contributing fine photographs that would always fetch a serious sum of money at auction.

In the last year Arnold quite rightly felt that a first-rate film on his work including remarks on the record and off camera would make a wonderful documentary. I’m so sorry we never got to that.

It has been my privilege to have helped Cornell Capa establish the International Center of Photography and serve on its Board since its inception.

In 1999 Arnold was honored by ICP as the recipient of the 15th ICP Infinity Award for Master of Photography. This is part of ICP’s press release for that award:

Recognized as “the father of environmental portraiture,” Arnold Newman photographs his subjects in their immediate professional, creative, or domestic surroundings.  Moving away from the studio and into the home and work settings of his sitters, Newman’s photographs possess intimacy and immediacy.  Simultaneously familiar and monumental, his portraits of artists and writers, politicians and world leaders, and icons of popular culture evoke a sense of the inner being of the individual within a framework of abstract composition. In close to six decades, Newman has created a vast and singular body of work, in the process transforming the art of portraiture and influencing generations of photographers. In addition to his portraiture, Mr. Newman is also renowned for his still life and abstract photography. Collectively, his work presents a catalogue of prominent twentieth century personalities. His portraits are epic, conveying a half-century of accomplishment and history through a community of artists, scientists, politicians and intellectuals.

Remarks by Marvin Korman at the Arnold Newman Memorial, February 2007

I don't suppose any of us here will ever be without the presence of Arnold Newman. If we hear a piece of music by Stravinsky, surely Arnold's wonderful image of the open grand piano with Stravinsky's head barely visible in the lower left-hand corner will be there in our mind's eye. When we see a Picasso painting at MoMA, we are likely to envision one of Arnold's iconic images of the great Spanish master. Whenever the monumental personalities of the last half of the 20th century are discussed -- whether they are in the arts, entertainment, government or the sciences -- there is an Arnold Newman image to enrich it.

The amazing thing to me is that Arnold was the least affected celebrity I ever knew. He could have been your accountant, your doctor, your old college professor, your 'yer or barber or bank teller. Albeit a very literate, well-read, politically-savvy, intellectually-curious accountant, doctor, 'yer, bank teller! In spite of the fact that he had become one of the most admired and honored photographers whose singular images of the rich and famous had brought him recognition throughout the world, he never changed from being the kid from Atlantic City who wanted to be a painter. Whether he was talking about the quality of Zabar's smoked salmon, or the time he photographed Mondrian, or a meeting he had just come from with the French consul, or the success or failure of the Miami University football team – whatever -- he never changed his tone or demeanor. He was always Arnold – warm, loquacious, funny, human.

I first met Arnold in 1975. I was working at Columbia Pictures where one of my responsibilities then was to prepare the company's annual report. That year, a new management team had taken over and I thought it would make sense to feature them in the report. What I didn't want was a series of dull head shots – I wanted to show them in action, in their environment, so to speak. I explained this to Steve Elliot who was one of the principals of Elliot, Unger & Elliot, the commercials division of Columbia. Steve had been a fashion photographer before he became a cinematographer. I figured he would know a good "still" photographer who could do the job.

"You need Arnold Newman," he said.

"Yeah . . . but . . . he's may be too good for this crowd."

"Here's his number. Call him. I promise he wont bite you."

So I did – and he didn't bite me. He was the easiest person I ever talked to. No pretense. No airs. And fun.

Arnold sent me a copy of one of his books so I could show my bosses what they were getting into. The portraits of David Ben Gurion, Alfred Krupp, Marilyn Monroe, Arthur Miller, Carl Sandburg, Zero Mostel, Eleanor Roosevelt – literally blew them away. But, remember these guys were tough "movie moguls." I was concerned whether gentle Arnold Newman could handle them.

The first of these men to be photographed was Alan Hirschfield, the president of the company. When we walked into his office, he announced – without looking up from the papers on his desk, that we had 15 minutes – maybe 20.

Courageously, I spoke up: "Alan, that's not fair. Mr. Newman needs to set up his lighting, he needs to arrange the shot. And we agreed, you were going to give him at least an hour."

But Hirschfield was unmoved. He was used to paparazzi clicking on the run.

"15 minutes it is," he said.

"But . . . Mr. Newman needs . . . "

At this point, Arnold interrupted. "It's OK. If 15 minutes is all we have, we'll manage. Why don't you leave us now and we'll call you when we're done."

I went back to my office, angry and disappointed – and certain that my nice annual report would start with a blurry, bar mitzvah-like snapshot of our president.

Fifteen minutes came and went, and then a half hour and then an hour. I couldn't wait any longer. I went back to Hirschfield's office, knocked on the door, waited a half second and went in. Arnold and his assistant at the time were packing up their gear, and Arnold was telling Hirschfield the funny story about the time Picasso made a pass at his dear wife, Augusta. Hirschfield had his jacket off and his sleeves rolled up and was opening the draperies of one of the windows that had been closed during the shoot. I noticed, too, that the objects on his desk had been rearranged, and that a box containing a 35mm film reel somehow was now in a prominent position on the desk, and a copy of Weekly Variety was on a chair next to it.

The 15 minutes had become . . . well, more than an hour. Somehow, Alan Hirschfield, the tough movie mogul, had succumbed to the charm of the kid from Atlantic City.

The rest of the sessions – including the ones involving the studio executives in Hollywood -- were a piece of cake, and the 1975 annual report was a beaut!

There was one incident involving this project, however, that Arnold never let me forget. On the flight to Los Angeles, as was my custom, I brought my own sandwich -- even though we were flying first class. (I hated airline food – then and now.)

It was a corned beef sandwich from the Carnegie Deli. Arnold didn't seem to mind until I asked the stewardess for a glass of milk. To Arnold, a glass of milk with a corned beef sandwich was unconscionable, outrageous, un-American -- and a stigma that would live with me for the next 32 years. Imagine being introduced to Isaac Stern at one of Arnold's and Augusta's gatherings, in that wonderful apartment on 67th Street, with these words: "Oh, Isaac, meet Marvin Korman. He's not a bad fellow but would you believe it, we were once on a plane together and he brought his own pastrami sandwich -- and then had the gall to order a glass of milk to go with it! Can you imagine?"

You will notice that it wasn't bad enough that it was a corned beef sandwich – it had, over the years, become pastrami. I guess that only heightened the wickedness of my deed. Arnold took great pleasure in that story – and like most of his stories he told it over and over and over again.

I will miss hearing it – and I will continue to miss Arnold.

I will never forget the opportunity Arnold gave me. It was not an easy road but nothing is. I still have the signed letter he sent me in response to my job inquiry. As little as I must have seemed to him at the time, he still had the decency to write me a letter letting me know that he was not hiring. Six months later I tried again and this time he called me back and I got the job.

I miss working with Arnold a great deal. He taught me so much about how to be a professional and I owe him dearly for this. I can't tell you how many times I apply this experience to my business. As much as I learned from him about the profession, what I cherish the most is the stories he used to tell me everyday. How Alfred Krupp tried to declare him persona non grata. How Marilyn Monroe was the most miserable woman he had ever met. How Mondrian taught him how to crop, with 1/16th of an inch making a difference. What impressed me the most was what he asked President Truman after photographing him. He asked Truman why he dropped the atomic bomb! There were so many stories, over 65 years worth!

Matthew Bogosian
The Vanderbilt Republic

My last and lasting memory of Arnold was the final time I saw him, on Monday, June 5. I was in Baltimore for my 30th high school reunion and I felt the call to visit Arnold, who I knew was in the hospital because of an email from Mike Newler. I took the train to Manhattan and made my way uptown to see Arnold. I found Arnold to be Arnold – happy to see me, then erasable, then sweet, and all the time worried about Gus. He didn't want to be in the hospital – the food was terrible and the staff inattentive. He couldn't wait to get home and get back to work. We talked about the past and the future. He was interested in what I was up to, but mostly he told me stories – it was classic Arnold. At the end of my visit he wanted to make a "portrait" of me. He used the only camera he had – a little digital point and shoot. As I sat next to him on the hospital bed, he instructed me to put my hand to the side of my face, "Picasso style", and he took one frame. His card was almost full, and he had to be careful so he could take more portraits of his hospital visitors.

Arnold left us the next morning. I may have been his last portrait sitting. I am humbled by this and honored to have known Arnold. I miss him terribly, but will always cherish our final time together.

Reid Callanan
Santa Fe, New Mexico

It was my distinct pleasure to have known Arnold for over twenty-five years and to have called him my friend. I first met him when my predecessor, Ira Licht, organized a retrospective of his work at the Lowe. Shortly thereafter he received an honorary doctorate from the University of Miami, which he had attended for two years as an undergraduate. I remember him telling me that he hadn't even graduated from UM and yet now he was a "Doctor."

Over the course of the next two and a half decades, we spoke frequently and my annual visits to New York were greatly enhanced by the opportunity to visit Arnold and his wife, Gus. I visited his favorite restaurant and deli and had endless and delightful conversations with him about the people he had photographed and come to know through his photographic sessions.

His stories were always amusing and deeply moving. Like a collector, who remembers the one that got away, Arnold regretted not being able to have photographed all his notable contemporaries, like Mark Rothko. The inventor of the environmental photograph, Arnold, rather than taking a studio photograph, placed his subject in their personal surroundings. The classic photograph of Alfred Krupp, on the cover of this newsletter, was one of his favorites. For Arnold it captured the power and evil of a man, whose industrial empire worked with the Nazi regime during World War II. As Arnold put it, it was a small but very satisfying victory. It nonetheless infuriated the sitter.

Arnold was always generous both with his time and his talent. At the time we hosted an exhibition of the works of Louise Nevelson, I contacted Arnold and asked if he would be willing to donate one of his photographs to the exhibition. He told me he had three different sittings and asked which one did I want. I asked him to make the selection. The piece he chose was a photograph of Louise Nevelson after her first one-person exhibition at the Whitney in New York. It is a stunning photograph, which beautifully captures the spirit of the artist and her work. When he visited the Lowe to see the exhibition, he regaled me with a wonderful story about Louise Nevelson. I cannot help but think that in Arnold's passing, we have not only lost a great American photographer, but also a powerful memory of a vanishing era.

Brian A. Dursum
Director, Lowe Art Museum

Thinking back over the six years that I knew Arnold, I am trying to find a way to show how much he changed my life. I first met Arnold when I was eighteen years old and a work-study student at the Maine Photography Workshops. I waited in line for a half hour to show him a stack of twenty matted prints from a new portfolio. "Your subjects aren't famous," he said as he looked through the images, "but your photographs make them feel familiar. I want you to come see me in New York, and would you mind if I show these to my wife, Gus?"

I think, most of all, I want to write about the first summer I spent working for Arnold. During the summer of 2002, I interned and assisted at his studio on West 67th street in Manhattan. I worked five days a week, from 9:30 to 6:00 with a half-hour for lunch. Throughout the summer, Arnold let me stay after work to print my own photographs in his darkroom. Many days, I came in early in the morning and stayed there until after midnight. While working for him I assisted on photo shoots, developed negatives, printed in the darkroom, sent out orders, maintained the studio, did office work, took dictation and ran errands.

One morning I asked Arnold what it felt like to be famous. "I don't feel like I'm famous," he said, "People don't recognize me on the street, except once in a while." Later he commented that being famous does open doors. "I hate the people who think that they're better than anyone else…Penn wasn't like that. Avedon was, but I heard he did good things under the table, so I can't say what my opinion is." Arnold was still invited to the major art receptions in New York City. Like anyone who has flipped through his books or walked through a gallery of his prints, I knew that Arnold met and photographed many of the icons of the 20th century. In many cases, he helped to create the images by which they are remembered.

It was an eventful summer. Arnold had a highly publicized retrospective in France, sponsored by the French Ministry of Culture. He photographed Saul Bellows, Charles Seliger, Peter Gabriel and Ehud Barak. The Professional Photographers of America (PPofA) also honored him with a lifetime achievement award at their annual convention in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

The day before he left, Arnold wrote his acceptance speech. I took dictation. After a brief thank you to the society and to photographers everywhere, he dedicated the award to his wife Augusta. "She is truly the greatest award I have ever received," he said. As I typed, Arnold's voice cracked, became nasal and high pitched. In the narrow workroom, cluttered by stacks of art and a lifetime of negatives and prints, he started to cry. "I may be hard to work for," he said, "but I'm a great husband." As I handed him a copy of the speech for him to proof read, Arnold mumbled, "next to your wife, the rest is wallpaper."

Arnold, as both a boss, a mentor and later a friend, taught me to think of myself as a photographer. Moreover, he taught me to be a good person first and a good photographer second. Towards the end of that summer, Arnold had me pick up a pair of pants for him at the tailor's. Because he had misplaced the receipt, he took out one of his business cards and wrote, "Please give Lucas Foglia my trousers," signed "Arnold Newman." More than the letters of recommendation that he has written for me, more than the personal letters and emails we exchanged over the following years, I am keeping that card. If only he had sent me to pick up a pair of shoes.

Lucas Foglia
Former Assistant
2-19-2007

Three nights before he left us, Arnold and I spoke by phone as he rested at a facility operated by Mt. Sinai Hospital. We talked about his recent stroke, about the death of Slim Aarons, about Arnold's desire to rebound soon in order to better care for his wife, Gus. "How can I do that from here?" he said, rather anxiously.

He mentioned that he hoped to photograph George W. Bush soon. (He had wrangled portrait sessions with every U.S. president from Harry Truman to Bill Clinton.) And, as he often did, he briefly discussed plans for yet another book, this one a memoir. "I want to get out of here soon and start working," he remarked, with a tone of annoyance and urgency.

At his funeral, Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch of Manhattan's Stephen Wise Free Synagogue would say to assembled relatives, friends, and colleagues:

"Arnold's Hebrew name was Avraham -- Abraham. His biblical namesake was also a pathfinder. He was the first Jew. He was the first to see the world in a different way. After Abraham the world would never again be as it was before. And God said [of Abraham]: 'See, I have singled him out; I have filled him with the spirit of God and planted within him special understanding, knowledge and skill. I have poured inspiration into his heart...'

"This was our Arnold. Take him Eternal God. 'He was a man all in all. We shall not look upon his likes again.'"

David Friend

When Arnold Met Arafat

December 2003

by David Friend

For ten years now I have enjoyed my role as the unofficial purveyor of the Ultimate Arnold Newman Anecdote. As a public service to the readers of The Digital Journalist, I'd like to share that simple story--as succinct and sensible, in its way, as an old Yiddish folk tale--so that others might appreciate the essential invincibility of Arnold Newman, now age 85.

A little bit of background is in order. I met Arnold a decade ago at a typically interminable New York awards banquet. For me, the highlight of the evening came when photographer Gregory Heisler took the podium and described his days as a photo assistant, honing his trade in the massive shadow of the Master. That night Greg painted a revealing picture of Arnold as Worrywart, explaining how the Father of the Environmental Portrait would often exude waves of nervous energy, obsessively fretting and fussing over the details of a photo assignment before, during and even after a shoot. As Greg made clear, this proclivity to worry and to shoulder his outsize anxiety like some Jewish Atlas, would sometimes drive Arnold's coworkers to distraction. (The Brief Yiddish-English Glossary defines such excessive "stressing out" as shpilkes: the tendency to exist in a perpetual state of "pins and needles.")

Something in this depiction had a perverse appeal to me. As a young Life reporter, I had routinely covered stories in tag-team fashion, paired with great photojournalists, many of whom had developed shpilkes to something of a science. As a result, I had acquired an abiding respect for the pins-and-needle-prone. And yet, certain elements in Greg's characterization seemed to place Arnold in a category all his own. Arnold Newman, it seemed, was a World-class Worrywart. Then and there, I was determined to work with him. (At the end of the night, I briefly introduced myself and took my leave.) I was intrigued that evening, and remained so for several weeks: I wanted to be in the vicinity of someone that intensely focused on making a perfect portrait.

Several months later, I got my chance.

In 1993 it was revealed that throughout the previous year representatives of the Israeli government and the Palestine Liberation Organization had been meeting secretly in a lodge in the Norwegian mountains, attempting to hammer out a comprehensive peace plan. That plan, eventually endorsed by Israel's Yitzhak Rabin and P.L.O. chairman Yassir Arafat, and sealed with an epic handshake on the White House 'n, would come to be known as the Oslo Accords.

As Life's director of photography--and as a journalist who had often covered the cyclical violence of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict--I was intrigued with the notion of seeing the faces of the men who had been courageous enough to have forged this historic, if fragile, agreement. I imagined a photo essay that would juxtapose Rabin and Arafat on an opening spread, then reveal their chief negotiators on subsequent pages. I envisioned strong black-and-white portraits that would allow Life's readers to stare into the eyes of hardened warriors who had not blinked when confronted with the prospect of peace.

I called my P.L.O. contacts and floated the idea. (I had met Arafat twice before, while on assignment with photographer Don McCullin in Beirut, and then in Tunis, Arafat's interim headquarters in exile, while doing a story on dispersed Palestinians with Magnum's Rene Burri.) Arafat's minions seemed game. I next called Rabin's office and received an initial green light. And then I called Arnold Newman.

Arnold had photographed every Israeli leader since the founding of the state in 1948. He had maintained a long, close affiliation with the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, was good friends with Teddy Kollek (for years the mayor of Jerusalem), and often traveled to Israel. Moreover, Arnold would bring a fresh, revealing eye to his photo sessions with the Palestinian leadership. He was a natural choice for such an assignment. And I felt privileged to know that I would be in Arnold's company--especially for his encounter with Yassir Arafat.

I laid out the proposal and explained that we would need to depart for Tunisia by the end of the month.

"What, are you crazy?" he said, his voice ascending an octave with each syllable. "A Jew in Tunisia? To meet Ar-a-fat? What are you, crazy?"

After some persuading, he agreed to take the assignment. But for the next several weeks I would field worried phone calls from Arnold or his office manager. If it was Arnold on the line, his questions would often be accompanied by a drawn-out, punctured-tire sigh that would issue from somewhere deep in his kishkees (Yiddish for solar plexus). Who would be meeting us in Tunis? What would the food be like? Would he be safe shopping in the souk if he wanted to buy a present for his wife, Gus? (In the years since, I have occasionally met Arnold for a New York deli lunch, always going through the charade of trying to dissuade him from ordering the pastrami or corned beef, deemed verboten by Gus and his doctor.)

One by one, I addressed Arnold's concerns--to which he would invariably respond with a firm, staccato, rejoinder: "Oy." Even so, he seemed reassured, and soon Arnold and I were bound for Tunis, accompanied by Life's Paris bureau chief, Tala Skari, and Arnold's assistant, Elizabeth Thomsen. We were also aided by Time-Life correspondent Tanya Matthews, a legendary journalist from trendy Sidi bou Said, near Tunis. I felt a real sense of mission and honor to be traveling with a photographer of Arnold's stature, a man of insight, perspective, and deep moral conviction.

1993, AN with David Friend and Greg Heisler, TunisNo sooner had we arrived at the Tunis Hilton than a towering figure walked from his rental van toward the front-door: Gregory Heisler, puzzled and somewhat alarmed to see his old mentor, Arnold Newman, standing curbside to greet him. In North Africa, no less. (Heisler, in total secrecy, had flown in by corporate jet to shoot Time's super-secret Man of the Year cover--a story quite similar, it turned out, to the one we had planned.)

But all this is mere preamble. And beside the point, really. The actual tale is short and sweet. I call it, quite simply: When Arnold Met Arafat.

On our second night in Tunisia, Arnold and I were summoned to the P.L.O. compound. (Arafat, known for keeping odd hours, habitually welcomed journalists late in the evening.) The armed guards who met us brought us to a second set of guards, who, riveted with suspicion, pored over every battery, every tripod, every piece of camera equipment. Arnold pulled me aside. And then he gave me the look.

I didn't have to ask what he meant. The look--a popping of the eyes and a plaintive noggin-nod toward the guards--eloquently conveyed a tortured query: "Do these guys suspect that I'm Jewish?!" He would repeatedly pop his eyes over the course of the evening, as we made our way from guard to p.r. chief to setting up our equipment (under the watchful eye of a P.L.O. "minder") to meeting Mrs. Soha Arafat. It didn't matter how many times I tried to assure him with my own look, a glare, followed by a flummoxed shrug, that suggested, "Don't worry. Arafat just wants the publicity." There was just no way to put Arnold "at ease."

Finally, the moment arrived. Yassir Arafat, in green fatigues, strode in, approaching Arnold with a courteous, firm handshake. (He would later offer identical gifts to Arnold and me, a box of polished wood, inlaid with mother-of-pearl, that housed a miniature Nativity scene. It was a generous but truly bizarre trinket, given the nature of Arnold's shpilkes that evening.)

Arnold exchanged pleasantries and motioned Arafat to stand by a staircase railing where he had set up his lights, umbrellas, and a white backdrop. In a matter of seconds I looked over to see Arnold fixing Arafat's kaffiyeh, smoothing the folds of the head-covering so that it would "look nice" for the picture. In response, the leader of the Palestine Liberation Organization, breaking into a wide smile, put his hands up to Arnold Newman's neck and began to straighten his tie, as if to say, "Two can play at this game." Both men laughed, then returned to the matter at hand.

Arnold stood ready. Arafat stood ready. Then Arnold leaned toward his camera and, as he did, his shoe became entangled in one of the cords underfoot.

Suddenly, one of Arnold's lights began to tip ever so slowly, clearly headed in Arafat's direction and seeming to gain in velocity as it tottered. Arnold let out a gasp. He darted toward the light pole, grabbed it safely in the crook of an arm, and issued a loud grunt: "Oy gevalt!..." Then he swirled around to face me, his back to Arafat, and raised his eyebrows, in relief, as he finished the sentence, loud enough for Arafat to hear, "...Whatever that means!"

© David Friend
dfriend@vf.com

I met Arnold in June of 1975, when I showed up unbidden at the studio, having just flown in from Chicago, hoping to secure a position as his assistant. I was greener than green, and assume the only reason he hired me was because I was persistent, respectful, Jewish, and wore a tie. (It certainly wasn't because of what passed for my portfolio at the time!)

It was a relatively quiet and calm period in the studio, yet for me, every day was fraught with anxiety as I sought to please your dad and perform up to his expectations. He was a perfectionist and rightfully so; I was eager but truly in over my head!  My employment regretfully ended less than ten months later due to an incipient ulcer resulting from my inability (as a fairly immature and inexperienced person) to easily accommodate to the stresses and strains of Life In New York in general, and 39 West 67 in particular.

I am, incredibly, still a photographer, still in New York, and still in awe of your father's remarkable gifts. In my own humble way I've somehow conned Time magazine into publishing more than seventy of my portraits as covers over the last two decades and have managed to squeeze in the odd advertisement or two to pay the bills. His work, however, still shines like a beacon to me over the shifting seas of photography. My own experiences as a working photographer have only increased the depth of my respect for him through the years.

Greg Heisler

During the Summer of the '60s I was a young art student newly arrived from communist Poland, earning my tuition money by attempting a rather unsuccessful career as a waiter in Provincetown, Cape Cod. On a verge of desperation and ready to return to NY, I was introduced to Arnold Newman by our mutual friend, the late Ilya Schor, a fabulous expatriate painter and sculptor. Ilya was aware of my interest in photography since I used to photograph his artwork and share my work with him. Arnold, who was already a world famous portrait photographer, had a summerhouse in Provincetown and was at the time on assignment for Horizon Magazine, taking portraits of some of the greatest American painters living on the Cape Cod. After just a brief conversation with Arnold about my past experience and aspirations he graciously offered me a job as his assistant. What a joy!

Rather than waiting on over-sexed middle-aged ladies or fighting on their behalf with lousy cooks I got my chance to carry Arnold's equipment and meet face to face an incredible group of artists such as Edward Hopper, Franz Kline, Hans Hoffmann, etc. This experience not only brought me back to what I loved as a painter but also enabled me to observe how a great photographer functions in the field, composes his images, and directs his subjects. Arnold's care for every detail within his picture frame impressed me tremendously and has remained with me as a norm for my own professional life. Soon after the assignment was over, Arnold (to my great delight) offered me a job in his New York studio, and here through a twist of destiny our paths have separated.

On a cold Fall morning, when I was boarding the overheated subway on my way from my Brooklyn apartment to commence my dream job, I fell ill and never made it to Arnold's upper West side studio. After recapturing my composure I called Arnold but no explanation would satisfy his anger. He hung up his phone on me, and that was the end of it.

Ten years later, as an already three-year "veteran" of the New York photography scene, I accidentally bumped into Arnold during an ASMP event. This time he was more receptive to my explanation of my missing appearance. It has worked miracles, and that decisive moment turned our relationship to close friendship. It lasted until our last encounter as his guest at a ceremony of his Life Achievement Award at the Gramercy Park Art Society several days before his death.

He and his wonderful wife Gus were kind enough to embrace my entire family as a part of their own. He's always found an opportunity to introduce me to the world as his assistant. And I loved it! I've welcomed the endless hours spent together in their home, or shall I say a museum of contemporary art…full of gifts from his world-renowned photo subjects, dining, joking and rehashing our life experiences. Of course, there will never be another storyteller like Arnold. His professional life experience brought him face to face with "who's who" of 20th century art, politics and commerce. We would devour his detailed and frequently hysterical stories about Picasso, Stravinsky, Krupp, etc. and sometime take pleasure in a second and third serving of the same. I have begged him to put it all down in writing, and according to his own words, he began working on his diary. Unfortunately, I am afraid his sudden death wouldn't allow him to complete it. And what a pity that only those lucky enough to have personal contact with him will be able to relive his precious moments with the giants of the last century.

Arnold was extremely enthusiastic toward my own work and curious about my own past. He had shown great personal interest toward my multi-image photography and was completely open to digital imaging. Considering his traditional education he couldn't care less how an image was produced as long as the end result would count for a creative success. To top it off he's honored me by trading some of my images for his own. I shall cherish them, and miss him dearly as long as I live.

Ryszard Horowitz
www.ryszardhorowitz.com

I abandoned everything to work for Arnold Newman. In that respect, I was no different than all of his previous studio managers and darkroom printers. In the process, I broke a promise to myself. I had vowed upon graduating from NYU that I would not run back to New York, instead I would explore the West. But as soon as I spoke with Arnold by phone, and heard his enthusiasm and urgency, I was ready to hop on a plane to New York, even if my chances of landing the job were 1 in 10. As soon as my plane landed, I rushed to 67th street for an "interview." I never told Arnold that I was so eager, I arrived 35 minutes early and had to retreat to a nearby café for coffee. Wearing my best -- a pair of pin-stripped slacks -- I went to the bathroom to freshen up and upon exiting, I found the bottoms of my pants were drenched in bleach from the bathroom floor. So I went to Arnold's studio with pinned up pants, luckily it was August, so capri pants were in style. Zeroing in on my personal traits and not my appearance, Arnold interviewed me in the same cross-examination style I later saw him "interrogate" some 100 people (that was on four separate occasions, as, Arnold "went through" 5 printers in the eight months I worked for him, finally finding his best and his last – Kenneth).

If you have never been "interviewed" by Arnold, I can assure you that it was epic, strange and at the time a bit intimidating. He never asked you what you might expect. The first question that often stumped people was simply: "Are you single?" Many job applicants would venture into long, personal, complicated anecdotes. "Well I was dating someone and living with her, but we broke up because…." In fact, what Arnold wanted to know was whether you were married, as in love as he was with Gus and more importantly whether someone would ever expect you to come home early. The second question that took most of us by surprise was "Do you have your license, followed by have you gotten into any accidents?" But the best question by far was, "Are you good with tools?" Somehow I passed the oral quiz and Arnold hired me on the spot. Then, without any hesitation he immediately put me to work.

"If you want your stomach to sink – read this" Arnold hands me an ACLU envelope that reads "In America, no one -- not even the President -- is above the ''s limits and no one is beneath the ''s protections." Opening the mail was both Arnold's and my favorite part of the day. Usually it arrived conveniently at Arnold's snack time (doctor's order) – which was at 4 p.m. sharp. While I had the privilege of carefully slitting each envelope with the studio letter opener, which I imagined had lived at 39 W. 67th street since the 1950s, Arnold would begin to sip his coke and eat his sugar-free, diabetes-friendly shortbread cookies. I learned quickly not to discard a single piece of mail, even if it was offensive, pornographic junk. Arnold read every single piece of printed material, and what I looked forward to most was his commentary. I often scribbled his sarcastic thoughts in my notebook and on special occasions, I would save the postcards with photographs that inspired Arnold to say "Photography is now a dive" (that was on September 29th 2005) or "Everything is imitation these days." (which was on September 20th 2005) Such moments were history in my mind.

Arnold's last official shoot:

On December 19th 2005, Arnold photographed Jimmy Burrows and it held particular significance. At 10am sharp we arrived at the NBC Studio, security was strict and taxing. Arnold, humble as always, wore his nametag with pride – humoring us, pretending that he was just some stock photographer, yet the oldest mensch around. In the Saturday Night Live studio, Arnold photographed Mr. Burrows, Abe Burrows' son. Arnold had photographed Abe several times and had always been fond of him as a person and as a professional. While the SNL crew was setting up for the week's show, Arnold took over. The SNL staff rapidly became his crew and the studio his terrain, dolleys were moved, lights were set up, with Arnold orchestrating it all and singing tunes from Guys and Dolls – while sharing yarns about the entertainment industry and the Jewish characters of his time who had changed their names such as Abram Solman Borowitz. As you all know, Arnold was both a historian and a storyteller.

Maya Joseph-Goteiner

I can only offer that I had the extraordinary opportunity to meet Arnold and work with him at the very abrupt end of his life... I produced and directed the film on MARILYN MONROE for PBS' AMERICAN MASTERS, which aired last July, and Arnold was a magnificent part of that film... we had the rare moment to actually see him in the darkroom and I think to watch him print for probably the very last time... and to hear the wonderful account of the very famous pictures he took of Monroe with Carl Sandburg -- another of Newman's beloved subjects... more wonderfully for me, however, was the fact that in those brief couple of months, he told me many things about his life including of his fabulous courtship with Gus and showed me the beautiful art gallery which was his home... and he gave me the brilliant gift of getting to know him a little, and that I shall always treasure...

Gail Levin

Arnold and I worked together for the first time (of many) when, in May 1965, Look magazine sent us to Jerusalem to cover the opening of the national Israel Museum. Teddy Koliek produced the museum; this was before he ever became mayor of the city. Arnold and I were to be a team - he would make the pictures; I would write the words.

That was 42 years ago as I write this. But even now I remember vividly the hot mid-day when the museum was dedicated and the workers - carpenters, masons, laborers - were sitting in rows in front of us wearing little folded-paper hats to protect them from the baking sun.

We could not cover the opening of the museum as a news story because Look came out once every two weeks. We needed to be creative. Arnold had the superb idea of building a picture story by taking objects from the museum back to their original sites and telling the story of Judaism through them. And this is what we did. We took a fragment of the Dead Sea Scrolls back to Masada and a 5th century menorah to the ruined Crusader arches in Caesarea. And Arnold photographed Ben-Gurion holding Israel's declaration of independence in the historic room where he had signed it. You can imagine the persuasion it took to before the museum's curators would allow us to take out these things. But Arnold never compromised.

One day we were out in the desert preparing a picture and Arnold was impatiently plugging in an array of lights to a generator when the connection he was handling shorted. There was a flash and Arnold started hopping around in the desert yelling in pain. For an instant, it was funny; then we realized he was really hurt. We piled him into a Jeep and rushed him miles to a hospital where his burned hand was repaired and soothed. Then, he went back to the site and to work. He never quit.

On another assignment in Israel together, I learned how important composition was to Arnold's magnificent pictures when he wanted to photograph Premier Levi Eshkol and show, not in my words but in his picture, that Eshkol was the leader who had turned the desert green. Arnold found a spot on the edge of desert, actually had a platform built out there, and posed Eshkol so that the bottom half of the picture was desert brown and the upper half fertile green. Words were redundant.

Years later, I met Lynn because I happened to tell Arnold I was looking for a publicist to help me with my latest book and he said had met this able young publicist while taking pictures for Avenue magazine. Five years after that when Lynn and I decided to get married, we wanted to find a suitable rabbi and we had heard good things about a man named Balfour Brickner. So I looked him up in the telephone book and called him and told him what we had in mind. And Balfour said: "Are you the one who did that beautiful story on Judaism in Look?" When I said, yes, I wrote the words, he simply said he would be happy to marry us. And he did. So we have Arnold to thank for suggesting I call Lynn and for photographing the beautiful story back in 1965 that Balfour still remembered in 1986.

Bob Moskin
3/8/07

My memories of Arnold are around two meetings.

For the first one, I visited Arnold to tape his oral history. He had photographed my Grandmother, Louise Nevelson, several times. In a familial way, he told me about her taking classes from Chaim Gross and subsequently turned on to sculpture; and how he photographed LN at the Whitney in 1980 the day she learned her brother died. With her insistence, they continued the photo session even though she was visibly upset. I had never seen my grandmother cry, always strong and composed. Arnold seemed to know I needed to learn more about my grandmother, and in retrospect it was propelled by a mid-life turbulence. He graciously offered hours of his time that afternoon. His kindness still brings tears to my eyes. As the afternoon began to darken, he invited me to dinner with Augusta to celebrate his 82nd birthday. It was March 3, 2000 and I felt I had received the birthday present.

The second occasion was for my kick-off fundraiser on November 5, 2005 on behalf of the Louise Nevelson Foundation. It was hosted by the fashion designer Anna Sui at her shop in Soho. Arnold was my "surprise" guest and on a cold, blustery night in the middle of rush hour he appeared. He spoke about my Grandmother and relayed stories only he could tell. His support was so encouraging.

We had lunch soon after and bantered about a photo shoot with me as model, perhaps in my Philadelphia studio. I was shy but honored and flattered he'd travel my way. His birthday came again and went. We emailed greetings and good tidings and busy schedules. He charmingly wrote, "February has turned out to be a hysterically busy period." And then he was gone.

BIG HUGS Arnold wherever you are!

Maria Nevelson

My father loved to take pictures. Not only professionally, but snapshots of family and friends as well. The only problem was that he was not very good about printing up the pictures once they were taken or organizing the prints into albums. He would often take his camera with him when he and my mother were invited out to a party or a weekend in the country and take lots of shots. The pictures were great – but it sometimes took months or even years for the pictures to be printed up and sent off to his friends.

Even I was not immune from such treatment. It seems hard to believe, but my father never got around to printing up pictures of my Bar Mitzvah. Forty years later, and I still haven't seen them! My father did print up many family pictures, particularly after his grandchildren were born. However, he never got around to organizing them into family albums.

My wife, Janice, once made the mistake of asking my father if he had any pictures of me when I was a teenager. This was shortly after we had married and Janice wanted to know what I looked like without a beard. My father was delighted to show her the family pictures. He retrieved a dozen large boxes full of pictures from a closet in our home and piled them up on the dining room table. He opened the first box, pulled out a picture of my mpther with Picasso, and started telling Janice about the first time he photographed Picasso, including how Picasso made a pass at my mother. He pulled out another picture and told Janice the story about the time he photographed Mondrian, and how Mondrian asked his advice about the placement of a line in one of his paintings. Well, this went on for hours. My father was having the time of his life pulling out photo after photo and telling Janice some of his favorite stories. At the end of the third hour, the dining room table was covered deep with photographs. Poor Janice was nodding off and she still hadn't seen a single picture of me!

Eric Newman

For my Bat Mitzva, not only did my Uncle Arnold give me a camera, he gave me a chuckle. At the party that night he "bumped" into the photographer and said, "You do know that I'm Arnold Newman, but don't mind me." The look on the photographer's face was priceless.

In Arnold's later years, after my father Eddie Newman had passed, we became close. Arnold was very special to me and I shall miss him.

Lisa Newman - niece

I think of Arnold Newman in many ways. My memories are both visual and aural. A gray sleeveless sweater over a white shirt with pinstripes. The sweater straining to cover his belly, his eyes restlessly touching but not resting on a hundred items in the room. He strokes his stomach lightly with his right hand, unconsciously. "Oy," he heaves the sigh reflexively, half exhaling breath and half utterance. A sound used for punctuating statements of all sorts. "I guess I’ve done pretty good, for a little Jewish kid from New York or Philadelphia or Miami," (he used these locations variously depending what part of his rise to fame he wanted to stress). Or, almost whispering conspiratorially, "Did you know" that this one or that one, "was Jewish".Or, "Would you believe I paid $25 for each of those Westons", mispronouncing the name, saying it as though it were West and Or with the accent on the last syllable. Or, "Gus, what was the name of that collector that we met at ‘whatchamacallits?" And of course Gus would supply the name immediately.

I first met Arnold in 1980 when we were both teaching at Ansel Adams’ Yosemite workshop. One morning we all climbed onto a bus and drove to the High Country around Tenaya Lake. You can imagine Arnold, the man who is only really comfortable in New York, sitting on a log in the dense forest, sport coat over the gray sweater and shirt, looking around like a lost soul, while the students were examining the textures of tree bark, and views of the lake through the trees. He looked so out of place, so uncomfortable, his tush never finding a comfortable relationship with the log. I was more fluent in the forest, having lived on a commune in the Maine woods from 1969-74. I felt so sorry for him. He looked as if he was hoping that a taxi would come by and take him back to his room. What was a portrait photographer to do in that situation? I took him under my wing, spending the afternoon listening to him alternately telling stories and kvetching about a dozen things. That sort of defined our relationship. He was the same age as my parents and yet I often felt like his father or maybe a brother, offering advice, support, and commiseration.

A few years later when I was Director of the Museum of Photographic Arts, in San Diego, I asked him when and where he had had a retrospective exhibition. I assumed that he must have had one or several by then. He told me he never had. When I asked why that was, he told me that no one had ever asked him. On the spot I asked and on the same spot he agreed. I suppose we had built up a good deal of trust by then. The result was Arnold Newman: Five Decades. It traveled to 9 cities in the U.S., 5 in Europe and two in Japan. In the course of building such a show and catalog, there are hundreds of small decisions to be made. Each one was a negotiation. Now, I am fairly adept at these kinds of negotiations, but I had not then, nor have I still ever encountered a force like Arnold. I am not exaggerating when I state that I did not win a single negotiation, argument, or toss-up decision. He drove me insane repeatedly. But eventually I came to realize that this stubbornness, this never-give-in style, this…okay, I’ll say it, this manipulative personality is what made his work so extraordinary. Arnold walked into the homes and studios, the offices and staterooms of 10,000 of the 20th Century’s most powerful people with oversized egos, and each time he came out with what he wanted. In the great contest across the mediating camera, Arnold always won. He used a full bag of tricks. He bullied, he bungled and dropped things, he stalled, he told stories, he wore them down, and when they dropped their guard, "Bang, the picture was made and the unguarded face or the perfect pose was frozen. I arranged for and assisted him when he photographed Dr. Seuss (Ted Geisel), and when he photographed Niki de Saint Phalle, I made the connections and schlepped his gear. He photographed my father, and he shot me twice, once in my office and once in his studio. Each time I saw different strategies, and devices. "Hold still, or I’ll kill you," he bellowed at me once, in a voice that could almost be taken seriously.

He always told the story that when I was being courted to take the job and create a museum in San Diego, Arnold was called by the Chairman of the Board who asked, "What do you know about Arthur Ollman?" Two days later, unaware of that first conversation, I called Arnold and asked him, "What do you know about these people in San Diego." He always claimed, not entirely incorrectly that he was the matchmaker.

Arnold never missed an opportunity to brag about his sons and his grandchildren. In fact, he manufactured opportunities to do so, even when it wasn’t entirely appropriate. As a result I feel like I know them better than I do. In his last years, his standard lecture and slide show ended with family snapshots, an endearing if not professional conceit, that everyone allowed him. I always loved stopping at H & H for bagels or at Zabar's for rugalach to bring to Arnold and Gus, so we could schmooze around the table, though I was hearing many of the same stories for the tenth time, often word for word, a telling of the tale, the way every culture passes along its history and wisdom.

He was forever insecure about money, and equally insecure about his next assignment or exhibition. Here was a man with two apartments, each a double floored artist’s apartment, he had the drawings for Mondrian’s Broadway Boogie Woogie, a couple of hundred other pieces by almost everyone important in the past 75 years, and maybe 10,000 Arnold Newman photographs, (thousands unsigned, against my fervent directives that the easiest way to make a million more dollars to pass along to his heirs was to sign a hundred of these every day for a couple of months. This, of course would have meant addressing the possibility, no matter how remote, that he might be mortal.) He had several honorary Ph.D.s, and a thousand experiences with world leaders, any one of which would have been a claim to high status to any normal person on the street. ("Oh, didn’t I ever tell you? I spent a week with Charles DeGaulle, shooting for Life. We got along quite well. A nice guy. And did I ever tell you about the meals we had"?) All of this and still he was insecure about money and his place in the canon. And so it went, Stories and rugalach, stories and bagels. And the regularly repeated mantra, "I really shouldn’t have any of this. The doctor told me to lose a few, but, okay, one more won’t kill me."

One more story from a large reservoir of them in my mind. On March 25, 1989, Arnold called me early in the morning. "Oh, did I wake you? It’s 6:00 am? I always get mixed up…I thought it was noon there on the West Coast". This time there was no time to talk. I said " Arnold I can’t talk now. Leah has gone into labor and we’re leaving for the hospital in a few minutes!" Arnold…"Oh I’m sorry I’ll talk to you another time. But incidentally, are we including the Milton Avery in the show?" Me…"I don’t know, I can’t think about it now, I've got to get Leah into the car!" Arnold…"I understand! Absolutely. Oy did I ever tell you when our first was born, and Gus went into labor…" Me…"Arnold, please. I gotta run…Now!" Arnold…"Yeah. Okay…Gus was walking back and forth, pacing, and I'm completely farschimmeled, throwing clothes into a bag and…" Me…"Arnold!"...click.

There is a spot in my life, in my internal landscape, which is now empty where Arnold used to be, a place of maddening frustration and exasperation. But also a place of humor, camaraderie and real affection. For 25 years I laughed both with and occasionally at Arnold Newman. I value what he and Gus gave me and what he gave the world. He provided the evidence, perhaps better than almost anyone in the world, of the feet of clay upon which all of us, including the great ones stand. And by the way, did you know he was Jewish?

Arthur Ollman
For his Birthday…March 3, 2007

Arnold was such an important figure in all our lives. Particularly for me, when at 17, I made that first trip to New York. Imagine an impressionable young English girl (studying Art History) arriving in the city for the first time, and that very night, Arnold and Gus whisked me off to a party and introduced me to Andy Warhol. That would have been enough to last me for decades! But more was to come, a road trip to Long Island and the Hamptons followed, spending one day with Roy Lichenstien, and the next with the De Koonings, and then Segal. I don't think I have ever been so star struck since. And the whole of that visit was a whirlwind of Art and socialising, theatre, shows, and being introduced to the best delis on the West Side. Whenever I butter a bagel, I think of your parents. I had never eaten a bagel before, (us poor, English cousins), and they had to send me home with a huge black garbage bag full of them.

For years I wanted to be a photographer, at one point I was going to come and assist Arnold, and then I had a motorbike accident that put paid to that trip, and sent me off on another path altogether. But that's another story.

Arnold and Gus were so good to me, always. But now, as I look back over the years, I realise just how much effort they must have gone to that holiday.

The walls of our house are covered with Arnold's photographs. Wonderful ones of Robert [my father] of course, and us when we were young, or gawky, uncomfortable teenagers. (One from that era I particularly like, where I have obviously been crying, and puffy eyed, I attempt to smile, wearing the dress that I didn't want to get into - hence the tears).

So, in a sense, he is part of my kids lives too, not only testimony to the fact their mum was young once, but also, shaping their memories of the grandfather they never knew.

Charlotte Owen (cousin)

Arnold's involvement with Israel and with the Israel Museum in particular goes back many decades. When I arrived in the museum, he already was one of the pillars of the establishment, and the structure I was to become part of. In this respect, I was most fortunate. Meeting Arnold Newman, a legend in his time, was certaily one of the high moments of my career and a signifivcent event in my life, especially since he became a mentor, an adviser, a friend, and above all family, as him and Gus always offered their warmth and hospitality.

The Israel Museum opened its doors in May 1965, an event Arnold Newman was covering for LOOK magazine. In fact, from that day on, Arnold had one idea in mind (and we all know that when Arnold had an idea he would never let go!): such a modern institution had to have photography as part of its art collection. At the time this certainly was a revolutionary concept, and thanks to Arnold's efforts, and beyond all his persistence, it became one of the first art museums to have an independent photography department. So, having half convinced Teddy Kollek of the importance, he became informally the museum's first curator at large.

As the first curator, Arnold was already actively collecting photographs for the yet to be departnment and collection. Well, maybe calling it collecting, as he used to say is too politically correct. In fact he was swapping photograohs with colleagues, begging, stealing, at times buying with meagre funds and storing all this under his bed. He approached all his frends and asked them to donate to the future department, and doing so he certainly was most successful. One of the little anecdotes Arnold liked to tell was that at some point in the process of collecting he received a call from Ansel Adams with a baffling reproach: "Arnold, I thought you liked my work, but apperently you don't. Why didn't you ask me for prints for YOUR museum?" While soliciting for photographs, Arnold forgot one of his dearest fiends! Yet as a result of this conversation the collection was blessed with some extraordinary Adams prints.

Finally came the very moment Arnold was dreaminf of. The museum finally committed to establishing a photography department. This was thirty years ago almost to the day. Ona a spring night in april 1977, at 1 am, in the half darkened lobby of the Jerusalem Theatre around a small table sat Mayor Teddy Kollek (with whom the Newman family had a long standing relationship which started when Augusta Newman was helping him smuggle arms into Israel), Arnold Newman, Gérard Lévy, and then chief curator Martin Weyl, in what looked like a conspiracy. The purpose of the meeting was drafting the final document confirming the establishment of an independent photography department at the Israel Museum. That very night the paper was signed and I still remember Arnold sigh of relief and satisfaction as this was the realization of one of his dreams. That called for another cigar (smoking was still legal at the time!).

From that evening on, and for many years Arnold became the president of the group Friends of the Photography Department, a small number of dedicated people involved in the field of photography who saw as a must to support and promote the newly formed department. And since no one can resist Arnold, he naturally was the engine behind all.

His frequent trips to Israel made him one of the regulars at most events, and also gave him the opportunity of following closely the progress of the photography department. As he often said: "It is not my role to interfere, and you should have total freedom, but….." and he would give us a piece of his mind.

I even had the privilege to be his occasional assistant while he was shooting in Jerusalem. Once he even assigned to me the most important task: crouch behind Shimon Peres and pull down on jacket so that the shoulders will stay straight.

When the photography department was formally opened in April 1978 Arnold Newman was the natural choice for the inaugual exhibition. 90 of his works constituted one of the two shows, the second being "Forming a Collection" featuring the images Arnold had the wisdom and vision of collecting over the years for the future department.

Besides his continuous support and friendship, over the years, the Israel Museum was also most fortunate to be the beneficiary of Arnold's generosity as he donated an important group of his photographs for our permanent collection, and this still continues since he also bequested us with another group of important images.

It is thanks to devoted friends like Arnold and the group of people who gathered around him that we were able to form a world class collection which carries his touch and signature.

We miss you, Arnold. We are deeply indebted to you and grateful for what your help and support for so many years and for what you achieved. You will always live in our hearts.

Nissan N. Perez
Senior Curator, Department of Photography
The Israel Museum, Jerusalem

I first met Arnold at a photo conference, that I was in charge of planning, in the Fall of 1994 in New Orleans, my hometown. I took on the challenge of planning this event after the national leadership of a major photo organization failed in it's effort to plan their 50th Anniversary celebration. I had 6 months to get it together, with a $2,000 budget put up by my local chapter of this organization.

My initial task was to try to line up speakers of some import so that I could obtain sponsors and draw attendees. One of my first calls was to Arnold, mind you, that I had never spoken with or met Arnold prior to this call, although we were members of the same photographers organization. I asked Arnold if he would be interested in being the keynote speaker at our conference, and after he expressed strong interest, I said, very nervously, "Oh, by the way, you'll have to pay all of your own expenses.". During the pregnant pause that followed, I started thinking that, here, I am, a small-time photographer from New Orleans calling an icon of photography, asking him to be a keynote speaker at a conference and telling him that he has to pay his own way. What the Hell am I doing? How did I get myself in this mess?

After a few more moments of silence, during which time I had the Mother of All Butterflies in my stomach, Arnold spoke in his usual gruff voice, "So, I'll be the keynote speaker.". I assured him that he would. "In New Orleans?". I replied, "Yes." He said, "Well, Gus has always wanted to go to New Orleans and she likes jazz. We'll do it."

The memory that stands out the most from that event is when we had a second-line jazz band march the conference attendees from the hotel to a restaurant for Sunday brunch. To see Arnold and Gus strutting down Poydras Avenue behind the band was indeed a sight to behold and one that I will never forget. From that time forward, Arnold and I were friends because, as he recounted to me numerous times over the years, of the fun that Gus had in New Orleans. I've never seen a husband more devoted to his wife.

Fast forward to the Fall of 2005. Hurricane Katrina slammed into New Orleans on August 29, 2005. It was the first hurricane for which I ever evacuated. I was out of my home for exactly one month because of damage to the infrastructure of my neighborhood. I was fortunate because, unlike many others, I only had very minor damage to my home. Shortly after I returned home, my phone rang, and it was Arnold. I couldn't believe it. One of my first calls after this horrific disaster and it was Arnold. He told me that he had been trying to track me down for weeks and wanted to know how I was doing and was my house O.K., etc.,. We chatted for awhile and then, said our goodbyes. However, that phone call, once again, demonstrated the kind of man that Arnold is/was. A man of integrity, loyalty, and devotion to his wife, family, and friends. I'm proud to say that we were friends.

Les Riess

I first met Arnold when Taschen was publishing a monograph of his portraits.

I was just starting out in publicity, and was nervous about meeting such a famous photographer who had shot every president in the White House since Eisenhower.

Well, it took all of about 4 minutes for my trepidation to evaporate when I found, instead of an hauteur, a grandfatherly, down-to-earth mensch with a twinkle in his eye. The deal was sealed when we mounted the studio stairs to his office and he, being old school, insisted that I precede him. Half way up, I turned and remarked to him that I knew full well he sent me up ahead, not because he was a gentleman but so he could get a good look at my legs. My cheekiness, and not entirely off-the-mark observation won me a place in Arnold's heart that I know I held for the rest of his days.

I traveled with Arnold to Washington where he insisted that I join him in the Oval Office to give President Clinton a copy of his new book. Old hat for him perhaps, but certainly a thrilling experience for me! My husband and I were invited to a decoration ceremony for Arnold at the French Institute of Culture, and we were as proud as if he were a member of our own family. I always considered Arnold my honorary grandfather because he was as loving and warm, and almost as important to me as my own had been. His home was a haven filled with love and the history of the amazing life he shared with Gus and I always felt spiritually restored after a visit with them.

Arnold and I had the regrettable experience of bonding over our respective mate's health difficulties when my husband was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. We saw Arnold and Gus as often as we could, for brunches at each other's homes, and occasionally for a meal out. Neither of us wanted to burden the other with our own tsuris so we didn't talk for a few months, but when my husband's condition worsened I reached out to let Arnold know.

He came to Peter's memorial service last February, and I couldn't have been more moved or more honored. It was mere days later that I learned of his own illness, and it makes me very sad that the service was the last time I saw Arnold. I cried at his funeral for the loss of this remarkable man, who managed to create a stupendous body of work over decades, while having a wonderful life with his great love, in which he felt blessed by his boys, and each of their families. His life seemed to me, a perfect balance of fulfilling and important work, beloved family, and genuine appreciation for the gifts his life had given him.

Knowing him was one of the gifts my life has given me.

Pam Sommers

I was introduced to Arnold by Frank Zachary who had hired me at Holiday magazine in the 1950s. It was always a special treat to work with Arnold's photographs. Sometime after I moved to San Francisco, in the 1960s, I got a call from Arnold. He and Gus were in town and asked me to join them for dinner at Cecilia Chang's restaurant in Ghirardelli Square. He said to come alone, he had a date for me. I was single at the time so I figured what the hell. I arrived at the appointed time to find Gus, Arnold and my "date," Imogen Cunningham. We had a rollicking good time, and Imogen was in great form.full of anecdotes and ribaldry, in her 80s. We carried on until closing.

In 1968, I was working as head art director at D'Arcy Advertising in New York. I had assigned Arnold to shoot a couple of ads for a business machine client.Arnold and I made a date for lunch on a Saturday. He asked me to come by the studio. When I arrived, Arnold was doing some chores; moving background flats and dusting the big Deardorf, fiddling with lenses. He said he wouldn't be long and asked me to please sit down over there.We went to lunch and after lunch he showed me his art collection in the spacious apartment he and Gus shared for so many years. A week or two later, I got a package delivered to my office. It was a black and white portrait Arnold had made of me as he was "doing his Saturday chores." I treasure it.

Arnold introduced me to the late lamented Luchow's on 14th Street. It was one of his favorite restaurants. Especially around Christmas.

I'd assigned Arnold to do a shoot in Toronto for Travel & Leisure in 1976. As he was setting up to shoot the handsome City Hall buildings, a group of about a dozen ladies appeared, dressed to the nines. One of the ladies approached Arnold and handing him her Instamatic, asked if he would take a picture of the group.Arnold arranged the ladies with great care, and snapped the picture. Little did they know.

Adrian Taylor

Arnold Newman birth announcement

From: Descendants of Light, American Photographers of Jewish Ancestry. By Penny Wolin, publication date, 2013

I met Arnold when I was working for Getty Images. He took one look at me, and later admitted that he was mad at Getty for sticking him with some young thing to work with. We had a good laugh about that. I let him know how "young" I was by knowing all the names of the artists and political figures that he had shot in the last few decades. He was impressed and our bond stood from that time on. He was my friend and he was a legend and I am honored to have had the chance to share some of life with him.

I have the last email he sent to me - after I told him how sorry I was to have to miss his National Arts Club Gold Medal Dinner,

"Dear Valerie, I really regret you couldn't make the 18th. But everyone had a great time, over 110 people and frankly, I loved every minute of it and can not "poo poo" the medal. Gus was there beside me and enjoyed the evening. I hope the next time you can come up with Kramer and I'll be well to meet you.

Affectionately,

Arnold"

A short time later he was gone. His images remain as a testament to his life, that he was here, that he saw these shapes, the way the light fell and defined the people and times and he recorded them, forever. Or at least as long as forever holds true to a piece of photographic paper or negative.

He thought deeply about his legacy. He spoke to me often about wanting his work to live on, but he also wanted to "burn all the negatives" so they would not be printed poorly, and would not be shown to the world in forms that were less than what he had in mind for them. (He liked them dark!...very dark.)

He was an artist, but he knew the value in making commercial art. He knew the value of his photo credit, and he fought for it like a tiger.

He was proud of his name and his body of work. He loved making his art and wanted more than anything to be needed like he had been during his days with Life Magazine working with his favorite art director, Frank Zachary. He knew the phone wasn't ringing with offers like there had been in the past. Times had changed, but Arnold still dreamed of new works. I think that was the most beautiful thing about Arnold, he had lived a storied life, and had taken historic portraits of acclaimed people, and he still dreamed of new ways to see. He still had ideas that he wanted to fulfill artistically. He got incensed when asked about retiring.

"How does an artist retire? How can you retire from being creative? Do you retire from being yourself??!!"

Every one of his photographs allowed him to tell a story-- when I was working with him, each time a print was brought out and he caught a glimpse of that part of his life, his lived past, the captured moment which he experienced. He took a journey and shared it with who ever had the time to listen. He was compiling thoughts for his memoirs and often made notes on scraps of paper about things to expound upon in more detail for his book. He also had a small tape recorder that he spoke his thoughts into. He was very aware of the time he had left.

The time he didn't have, and the time he had lived and what it would take to actually record his thoughts properly. He was like a man climbing a personal Mount Everest. He wanted to remain necessary to the culture he was in. He wanted to record the faces and personalities that shaped history, past and present. He wanted new heroes and his old heros, he ended up knowing personally.

"How are things Arnold?"

"The usual! Oye, snowed under, trying to catch up, correspondence, everyone wants a piece of me these days. Come for lunch. I want to see you, papers can wait, people can't."

I always got the sense from Arnold that he was in a race against time.

He thought nothing of climbing up a two story ladder in his Studio to get the light just right. I caught him coming down on the rickety rungs and he looked a bit shaken, saying, "maybe I AM getting too fat for that thing!"

His person, was made of the kind of stuff that "they don't make them like that anymore" out of. He may have been difficult. He confided in me that he felt like he was too tough on his interns, but then he winked and also confided that he liked to test people's limits.

He loved and admired his family, and his wife Augusta was always at the top of his list. He knew that he would never have been able to achieve what he had done in life without her by his side. He was old fashioned. He was a gentleman but no gentle man. He told you what he thought, when he thought of it, and then maybe thought better of it later. He was never above an apology or a compliment. He had more energy than most men half his age.

I knew him at the end of his Age. I am grateful to have called him friend. I can hear him speaking about Max Ernst in the chair from Peggy Guggenheim, and the way he tortured Robert Oppenheim with a long exposure, in which his cigarette ash stayed aloft and whole for a surreal amount of time. How Marilyn Monroe was the saddest person he ever met. The way Picasso flirted with Gus and how Gus usually made a sound like "phooey" every time Arnold told the story. He told stories more than once, but he usually added something new each time.

Projected through the beam of his voice, I began to see his work in CinemaScope. I think that was his intent, to pass on as much information as he could remember so his work would be forever vital, to grab hold of one more person, and take them on his journey.

Thank you Arnold. You are missed.

Valerie Zars
February 2007