Mortensen, William

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1897
Death 1965
Americans

Biographical notes:

A Hartford, Connecticut mayor and politician.

From the description of Papers, 1933-1945. (Hartford Public Library). WorldCat record id: 57616316

Albert W. Mortensen--this is what is recorded as his name on the Utah 1900 census record--was born in 1897 in Park City, Utah. His family moved to Salt Lake City when he was 11 years old. He was interested in painting and was trained by his high school teacher, and possibly took lessons before that. He was inducted into the army in 1916 and discharged in 1918. Upon his release from the army, Mortensen spent 1919 and at least part of 1920 in New York City, possibly attending the Arts Students League while there. He traveled to Greece in 1920 and returned the same year. Traveling back to Utah, he took a job teaching art at his alma mater in Salt Lake City. By the end of the school year he left his job at East Side High School, and in 1921 traveled by train escorting a friend's sister to Hollywood. (The sister was Fay Wray.) Mortensen evidently knew someone in Los Angeles who put him in contact with film director King Vidor. He worked in the burgeoning film industry alternately painting scenery, making masks, and engaging in various film art-related services. Simultaneously he began work at Western Costume Company photographing silent film stars in costume. In 1924 he married Courtney Crawford, a librarian, and moved into her home on Hollywood Boulevard, where he maintained a studio from 1925-1931. Also, during this time, he began to enter and show in photographic salons both here and abroad. His work was published in various journals and newspapers, including Photograms of the Year, American Annual of Photography, Vanity Fair, and the Los Angeles Times. Mortensen moved to Laguna Beach in 1931 and opened a studio on the Pacific Coast Highway (then called South Coast Highway), the first of four spaces that he rented over the next thirty years. His school, the Mortensen School of Photography, officially opened in 1931 and always occupied the same address as his studio. In 1933 Mortensen married Myrdith Monaghan and met George Dunham who became a friend and model. More importantly, 1933 is also the year when he began his long writing collaboration with Dunham, which didn't end until 1960 with an incomplete manuscript titled Composition. The 32-year collaboration yielded 9 books in multiple editions and printings, 4 pamphlets, and over 100 articles in magazines and newspapers. Both Myrdith and Dunham proved to be his most significant models, helping him to produce his most important body of work. The school remained open until a short time after his death from leukemia in 1965.

From the description of Papers of William Mortensen, 1890-1986, (bulk 1950-1965). (University of Arizona). WorldCat record id: 710862539

Albert W. Mortensen-this is what is recorded as his name on the Utah 1900 census record-was born in 1897 in Park City, Utah. His family moved to Salt Lake City when he was 11 years old. He was interested in painting and was trained by his high school teacher, and possibly took lessons before that. He was inducted into the army in 1916 and discharged in 1918. Upon his release from the army, Mortensen spent 1919 and at least part of 1920 in New York City, possibly attending the Arts Students League while there. He traveled to Greece in 1920 and returned the same year. Traveling back to Utah, he took a job teaching art at his alma mater in Salt Lake City. By the end of the school year he left his job at East Side High School, and in 1921 traveled by train escorting a friend's sister to Hollywood. (The sister was Fay Wray.)

Mortensen evidently knew someone in Los Angeles who put him in contact with film director King Vidor. He worked in the burgeoning film industry alternately painting scenery, making masks, and engaging in various film art-related services. Simultaneously he began work at Western Costume Company photographing silent film stars in costume.

In 1924 he married Courtney Crawford, a librarian, and moved into her home on Hollywood Boulevard, where he maintained a studio from 1925-1931. Also, during this time, he began to enter and show in photographic salons both here and abroad. His work was published in various journals and newspapers, including Photograms of the Year, American Annual of Photography, Vanity Fair, and the Los Angeles Times.

Mortensen moved to Laguna Beach in 1931 and opened a studio on the Pacific Coast Highway (then called South Coast Highway)-the first of four spaces that he rented over the next thirty years. His school, the Mortensen School of Photography, officially opened in 1931 and always occupied the same address as his studio.

In 1933 Mortensen married Myrdith Monaghan and met George Dunham who became a friend and model. More importantly, 1933 is also the year when he began his long writing collaboration with Dunham, which didn't end until 1960 with an incomplete manuscript titled Composition. The 32-year collaboration yielded 9 books in multiple editions and printings, 4 pamphlets, and over 100 articles in magazines and newspapers. Both Myrdith and Dunham proved to be his most significant models, helping him to produce his most important body of work. The school remained open until a short time after his death from leukemia in 1965.

From the guide to the William Mortensen collection, 1890s/1986, (University of Arizona Libraries, Center for Creative Photography)

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Permalink:
http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6rp0xhf
Ark ID:
w6rp0xhf
SNAC ID:
29104748

Subjects:

  • Photography
  • Photographers

Occupations:

  • Photographers

Places:

  • United States (as recorded)
  • Hartford (Conn.) (as recorded)
  • Connecticut (as recorded)