Yavno, Max

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Max Yavno was born in New York City on April 26, 1911. He is known for his work in fine art and commercial photography and for his ability to capture urban life in his photographs. After earning his Bachelor of Social Science from the City College of New York in 1932, he attended the School of Business Administration at Columbia University and a year later, enrolled in Columbia's political science graduate program. In 1935, Yavno worked briefly as a social worker at the New York City Home Relief Bureau. It was during the mid-1930s that Yavno became involved in photography professionally, working for the Works Progress Administration (WPA) as a photographer. He also joined the Photo League and later served as president of the organization in 1938. During World War II, Yavno served in the United States Army Air Force as a photography instructor. After returning from the war, Yavno moved to Los Angeles in 1945 where he worked as a freelance photographer for magazines such as Vogue and Harper's Bazaar. In 1948, he collaborated with Herb Caen to create The San Francisco Book, which contained photographs taken by Yavno. In 1950, another compilation of Yavno's photographs was published in The Los Angeles Book, with text written by Lee Shipley. During the 1950s, Yavno devoted his skills to commercial photography and was awarded the New York Art Directors Gold Medal in 1954 and 1955. In 1954, he opened a commercial photography studio in Los Angeles. During the 1960s, Yavno's The Story of Wine in California and Natzler Ceramics were published. In 1975, Yavno turned away from commercial photography to focus on creating artistic photographs, traveling to Death Valley in California and to other countries including Israel, Egypt, Mexico, and Morocco. Solo exhibitions of his work were held at various galleries around the country. In 1981, The Photography of Max Yavno was published. At the age of 74, Max Yavno passed away on March 4, 1985.


"A Biography of Max Yavno." UCR/California Museum of Photography. 23 June 2003 www.cmp.ucr.edu/exhibitions/yavno/bio.html.

"The Artists and Their Visions." Center for Creative Photography. 23 June 2003 www.library.arizona.edu/branches/ccp/education/guides/sisyavgd/artguid.htm.

"Max Yavno Chronology." Center for Creative Photography. 23 June 2003 www.library.arizona.edu/branches/ccp/education/guides/sisyavgd/yavchrn.htm.

From the guide to the Max Yavno photograph collection, circa 1945 - 1950, (Claremont Colleges. Library. Ella Strong Denison Library.)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Max Yavno photograph collection, circa 1945 - 1950 Claremont Colleges. Library. Ella Strong Denison Library.
creatorOf Yavno, Max, 1911-. [Max Yavno : International Art & Artists File]. Libraries Australia
creatorOf Yavno, Max, 1911-1985. Max Yavno : artist file, miscellaneous uncataloged material. Baltimore Museum of Art Library & Archives
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Birth 1911

Death 1985




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