Breitenbach, Josef, 1896-1984

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Photographer and book artist.

From the description of Papers, ca. 1920-ca. 1984. (University of Arizona). WorldCat record id: 28421123

Breitenbach was born in Munich, Germany in 1896. He attended schools in Munich and later served in the military during 1916. He eventually joined his father's wine merchant business in 1919. When the wine business went bankrupt in 1932, Breitenbach opened a portrait studio and began photographing the City Theater in Munich. In September 1933, Breitenbach left Munich with his son Hans and settled in Paris. He established a portrait studio and began teaching photography. As a correspondent for the British International News Agency, Breitenbach wrote about and photographed the following important exhibitions in Paris: [Freie] Deutsche Buch, 1936 (Free German Books); The Paris International Exposition, 1937; 5 ans de régime hitlérien, (Five Years of the Hitler Regime), 1938; the International Surrealism Exhibition, 1938; and [Freie] Deutsche Kunst (Free German Art), 1938. In addition, Breitenbach photographed panels for a planned exhibition for the Freedom Pavilion, New York World's Fair, 1939, The Germany of Yesterday, The Germany of Tomorrow. In 1938 Germany revoked his citizenship. When Germany invaded France during W.W.II, Breitenbach was interned as an enemy alien in various camps. He successfully emigrated to the United States in 1941. Josef Breitenbach established himself as a photographer and teacher in New York City in 1941. He lived there until his death in 1984. He began to receive commercial assignments from magazines such as Fortune, Harper's Bazaar, and Time. Breitenbach's long career as a teacher began in 1944 with an appointment to Black Mountain College in Asheville, North Carolina. In 1946 he began teaching at Cooper Union and in 1949 at the New School for Social Research, both in New York City. From 1952-53, Josef Breitenbach served as the Chief of Still Photography for the United Nations Reconstruction Agency in Korea. Those years served as Breitenbach's introduction to Korea and Japan. Each year until the 1970s he worked on commercial projects in Asia to finance his travel and personal photographic work. Josef Breitenbach died in New York City in 1984.

From the description of Papers of Josef Breitenbach, 1873-1990, (bulk 1933-1983). (University of Arizona). WorldCat record id: 549522511

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Breitenbach, Josef : [miscellaneous ephemeral material]. Metropolitan Museum of Art, Thomas J. Watson Library
referencedIn Orraca, Jose. Jose Orraca conservation papers, 1970-2005. Winterthur Library
creatorOf Breitenbach, Josef, 1896-1984. Papers of Josef Breitenbach, 1873-1990, (bulk 1933-1983). University of Arizona Libraries
creatorOf Breitenbach, Josef, 1896-1984. Papers, ca. 1920-ca. 1984. University of Arizona Libraries
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Orraca, Jose. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
United States
United States
Artists' illustrated books


Birth 1896-04-03

Death 1984-10-07







Ark ID: w6h73vnw

SNAC ID: 13794837