A BRIEF ACCOUNT OF MY CAREER
My interest in photography developed during World War II, when I spent two years in the Signal Corps in Europe, and wandered through the ruins of bombed cities. These images exuded an amazing surrealistic quality despite the intense reality of the subject. Following the war, I enrolled at the Chicago Institute of Design where Harry Callahan, Arthur Siegel and Laszlo Moholy-Nagy were among my instructors. While still a young man, now married, a father, and working in an advertising agency, where I learned to draw fashion promotions for department stores, I believed my chances for financial security and a career would be greater in New York City; I arrived there in early fall of 1953. My talent for drawing served me well while allowing time to pursue photography, what I really loved most. I also worked for some time as a fashion photographer, but preferred wandering the streets of American and European cities, especially those of New York City and Paris, taking pictures of people doing ordinary things, seeking discovery on every corner. Early on I had occasion to meet the great French photographer, Henri Cartier-Bresson, on the streets of New York, and he, whether I realized it or not, became my silent absentee mentor. Like he, I constantly searched for that split-second opportunity of the moment.
In America, it has taken a very long time for photography to come into its own as an art form and I was fortunate in 1954, to meet Helen Gee, who operated Limelight, the only gallery in New York devoted to the art of the photograph; she gave me my first solo exhibition in 1957. In my own loft, in 1965, I opened a commercial photography business specializing in interior designs and home furnishings; I dissolved the corporation in 2003, in order to devote full time to developing my career as a fine arts photographer, which I have always considered myself. I now have gallery representation on each coast and demand for my five decades of work has increased.
The advent of the digital camera dramatically changed my idea of photography. Since 2000, I have ceased photographing in film, and converted my former shooting studio to one set up for the electronic world of computers, scanners and printers. I am now producing large format prints in color, work that would never have been possible for me before. I continue to shoot the subject matter I love, seeking the difference between the reality of the image before me and that of the printed result. This journey never ceases to astonish, and it is for that difference, the play between surrealism and what purports to be realism, which I discovered as an eighteen-year-old soldier in Europe, that I stalk serendipity, the unknown, with my cameras.
Frank was born in Chicago on October 3, 1926 and passed away on June 10, 2016.
EDUCATION AND EXPERIENCE
1939-41 Family moves to New York City, then to Chicago; attends public schools
1943 Works as an apprentice at Whitaker-Christiansen Studio, a noted graphic arts production company; attends the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts
1944 Attends night school at the Art Institute of Chicago, enrolling in fashion and drawing courses, which Paulin believes will be useful in hls advertising job
1945 Drafted into the United States Army in January, at the age of eighteen; trained as a Signal Corpsman, he is stationed in Nuremberg, Germany for his entire two-year tour of duty
1946 Goes to Paris, a city to which he returns numerous times over his life; attends the Nazi War Crimes Trials; discharged on October 3rd, his twentieth birthday, returns to his home in Chicago, where he enrolls under the GI Bill of Rights in the Chicago Institute of Design, the American offshoot of the famous German Bauhaus, closed by the Nazi; takes classes from Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, of the original Bauhaus, and photographers Harry Callahan and Arthur Siegel
1947 Works for Hunter Gaby Studios as an illustrator; Marshall Fields, the great Chicago department store, hires Paulin as a fashion illustrator; soon he also works for Stevens Company and Mandel Brothers, drawing their fashion advertising promotions; begins to photograph city streets with his favorite camera, the Leica, which he purchased while in Germany
1948 Completes his studies at the Art Institute while continuing to work at Hunter Gaby Studio
1951 Travels to New Orleans, recording its unique flavor and architectural style
1953 Believing that greater opportunities for his career could be had in New York, Paulin , armed with samples of his artwork, moves to the City where he is immediately hired by major stores to illustrate their fashion advertisements: builds his first darkroom in the apartment bathroom; roams everywhere withhis cameras but is most awed by what he sees in the spectacle of Times Square, an always-changing drama that would hold lifelong fascination
1956 Meets Lew Parrella, one of the editors of US Camera Annual, who introduces him to Helen Gee, owner of Limelight, the only art gallery in New York City showing photography exclusively; she would give Paulin his first Solo exhibition of fifty-seven photographs the following year1958 Takes a course with the brilliant graphic designer and editor of Harper’s Bazaar, Alexey Brodovitch, who singled out one of Paulin’s photographs as ”monumental”
1960 Takes first trip to Havana, Cuba, to photograph its people, architecture, and conditions following the revolution and Fidel Castro’s takeover; meets Castro in the elevator of the hotel where each was staying; journeys to France and Spain
1961 Travels to New England and Canada over the summer, and later, visits London and Paris, where he meets famed photographer, Man Ray
1963 Travels again to Europe for two weeks, visiting Rome and Milan for the first time, then goes to Paris, where he takes a side trip to Versailles, which he had seen and photographed in 1946, prior to his Army discharge
1964-70 Continues to earn his principal living as a fashion artist, drawing thousands of figures for such stores as Lord & Taylor, Saks Fifth Avenue, B. Altman, Brooks Brothers, Stern’s, Abercrombie and Fitch, Franklin Simon, Abraham & Straus, and many others; purchases all the equipment of commercial photographer, Stephen Manville; takes assignments for print work from advertising agencies; among his clients, the DuPont company; travels to the Midwest, principally Minnesota and Wisconsin, returning with photographs of the flat farmlands, wheat and cornfields that are in marked contrast to his city images
1970-80 Acquires commercial photography clients involving room interior designs for fabric manufacturing companies, requiring that he hire an interior designer to help create multiple sets; continues this work through 1999; continues to shoot the streets of New York; begins to work in portraiture
1990 Ceases to draw fashion in order to concentrate on building a fine art career in photography
1992 Travels to Paris in July to photograph the colorful Bastille Day parade and celebrations; also photographs numerous gardens, fountains and lovers on park benches
1994 Begins association with the Howard Greenberg Gallery, which exhibits only photography
1996 Travels to Paris
1998 Makes second trip to Cuba, photographing the extensive changes over the forty years that had passed since his initial journey
1999 Advertises his photographs on a newly created website
2000 Leaves the Greenberg Gallery for representation at Bruce Silverstein, a new gallery of photography in Chelsea, on the west side of Manhattan; ceases to use film, converting entirely to the digital camera, working solely in color; sells his entire darkroom equipment
2005 Attracts west coast representation and has his first exhibition of new digital work at the Duncan Miller Gallery in Los Angeles; his initial show opens on May 20th
2006 Travels to London and Paris
2007-Current Enjoys seeing his work acquired into permanent collections of major museums and galleries around the country, visiting the exhibitions organized around or including his pictures, and giving lectures about his work. He continues to shoot in color.
Baltimore Museum of Art. Baltimore, MD
Boca Raton Museum of Art. Boca Raton, FL
Cantor Arts Center. Stanford University, Stanford, CA
Center for Creative Photography. University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ
Chrysler Museum of Art. Norfolk, VA
City of New York. Façades of the Court Houses (25) of all Five Boroughs
City of New York. Official Portraits (150) of the Sitting Judges of the Court System (Supreme, Surrogate and Appellate)
Colby College Museum of Art. Waterville, ME
Columbus Museum of Art. Columbus, OH
The Corcoran Gallery of Art. Washington, DC
Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art. State University of New York, New Paltz, NY
The Patrick & Beatrice Haggerty Museum of Art. Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI
Hood Museum of Art. Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH
Hungarian Museum of Photography. The Parade of the Hungarian Freedom Movement in New York, 1956. Kecskemet, Hungary
Kresge Art Museum. Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
Lowe Art Museum. University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL
Martin Z. Margulies Foundation & Collection at the Warehouse. Miami, Fl
Marlboro College, Rice-Aron Library, Marlboro, VT
Mead Art Museum. Amherst College, Amherst, MA
Milwaukee Art Museum. Milwaukee, WI
Museum of Fine Arts. Boston, MA
Museum of Fine Arts. Houston, TX
Museum of Modern Art. New York City
Museum of the City of New York. New York City
The National Arts Club. New York City
Picker Art Gallery. Colgate University, Hamilton, NY
The Harry Ransom Center. University of Texas, Austin, TX
Smithsonian American Art Museum. Washington, D.C.
Tufts University Art Gallery. Aidekman Arts Center, Medford, MA
Vassar College. Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Poughkeepsie, NY
Whitney Museum of American Art. New York City
Williams College Museum of Art. Williamstown, MA
Yale University Art Gallery. Yale University, New Haven, CT
EXHIBITIONS FEATURING THE WORK OF FRANK PAULIN
(SOLO EXHIBITIONS SO INDICATED)
PHOTO DOCUMENT: TWENTIETH-CENTURY AMERICAN PHOOGRAPHY AND FOUND TEXT. Maggie Dethloff, curated by. Amherst, MA, Mead Art Museum, Amherst College, March 30 – July 22, 2012.
CITIES OF LIGHT: PHOTOGRAPHS FROM THE CHRYSLER COLLECTION CAPTURES THE ESSENSE OF THE MODERN CITY. Norfolk VA, Chrysler Museum of Art, February 15 – December 31, 2012.
NEW YORK IN COLOR. Bob Shamis, co-curator. New York, Howard Greenberg Gallery, February 3 – March 17, 2012.
ART OF THE PEOPLE: TWENTHIETH-CENTURY SOCIAL REALISM. Boca Raton, FL, Boca Raton Museum of Art, Wendy M. Blazier, organized by. April 26 – June 19, 2011.
RECENT ACQUISITIONS. Annemarie Sawkins, organized by. Milwaukee, WI, Marquette University, Haggerty Museum of Art, January 27 – April 18, 2010.
FRANK PAULIN: AN AMERICAN DOCUMENTARIAN. Coral Gables, FL, Lowe Art Museum, University of Miami, January 2010 – January 2011. Solo
AN EXPANDING LENS: NEW PHOTOGRAPHIC ACQUSITIONS AT THE MEAD ART MUSEUM. Amherst, MA, Mead Art Museum, Amherst College, January 26 – May 30, 2010.
STREET SEEN: THE PSYCHOLOGICAL GESTURE IN AMERICAN PHOTOGRAPHY, 1940 – 1959. Lisa Hostetler, organized by, essay. Milwaukee, WI, Milwaukee Art Museum, January 30 – April 25, 2010.
NAKED CITY: PHOTOGRAPHS FROM THE FRANCES LEHMAN LOEB ART CENTER, VASSAR COLLEGE. Tampa, Fl, Florida Museum of Photographic Arts, November 18, 2010 – January 29, 2011.
NEW YORK, NY: An Exhibition of Photographs Primarily Capturing the Vibe and Energy of New York in the 1950s. Los Angeles, CA, Duncan Miller Gallery, December 9, 2010 – January29, 2011.
FRANK PAULIN: COLOR PHOTOGRAPHS. Los Angeles, CA, Duncan Miller Gallery, April Paul, essay for accompanying book of the same title, October 22 – December 31, 2009. Solo.
NEW YORK 400: STREETSCAPES FROM THE PERMANENT COLLECTIONS. New York, Museum of the City of New York, September 5 - November 9, 2009. (Accompanying book, titled NEW YORK 400: A VISUAL HISTORY OF AMERICA’S GREATEST CITY, reproduces Paulin’s 97TH STREET DEMOLITION, 1959, p. 392.)
THE SIXTH PAI (Photography and Imaging) MEMBERS PHOTOGRAPHY EXHIBITION, New York, NY, National Arts Club, December 9, 2009 – January 3, 2010.
SEXY AND THE CITY: NEW YORK PHOTOGRAPHS. New York, Yossi Milo Gallery, July 9 – August 28, 2009.
PICTURING NEW YORK: PHOTOGRAPHS FROM THE MUSEUM OF MODERN ART. Sarah Meister, organized by. Madrid, Spain, La Casa Encendida, March 26 – June 14, 2009, traveling. High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA, June 9 – September 2, 2012.
FRANK PAULIN: OUT OF THE LIMELIGHT. New York, NY, Silverstein Photography Gallery, Max Kozloff, essay, Massimo Vignelli, book design, January 19 - February 23, 2008. Solo
THE FIFTH PAI (Photography and Imaging) MEMBERS PHOTOGRAPHY EXHIBITION. New York, NY, National Arts Club, February 6 - 28, 2008.
FRANK PAULIN IN PLATINUM. Los Angeles, CA, Duncan Miller Gallery, November 15, 2007 – January 5, 2008. Solo.
NEW YORK AT NIGHT: PHOTOGRAPHS FROM THE COLLECTION. New York, NY, The Museum of Modern Art, December 12, 2006 - March 5, 2007.
THIRTY DAYS OF FASHION. Exhibition sponsored by Hearst Magazines, Inc., Benefit Auction for the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund, New York, NY, Hearst Building Atrium, September 14 - October 13, 2006.
FRANK PAULIN: MOMENTS. Los Angeles, CA, Duncan Miller Gallery, December 1, 2005 - January 30, 2006. Solo
PARIS IN BLACK AND WHITE. Los Angeles, CA, Duncan Miller Gallery, April 15 - May 21, 2005.
BY THE SEA. New York, NY, Yossi Milo Gallery, June 19 - July 31, 2005.
FRANK PAULIN: OUT OF THE LIMELIGHT. New York, NY, Bruce Silverstein Gallery, Mary Panzer, essay, May 22 - August 31, 2003. Solo
HELEN GEE: THE LIMELIGHT YEARS 1954-1961. New York, NY, Sarah Morthland Gallery, February 13 - March 15, 2002.
WHERE IS ELVIS? New York, NY, Howard Greenberg Gallery, June 20 -August 16, 2002.
THE NEW BAUHAUS: 1930 - 1971. New York, NY, Bruce Silverstein Gallery, September 12 - November 9, 2002.
HELEN GEE AND THE LIMELIGHT: THE BIRTH OF THE PHOTOGRAPHY GALLERY. Chicago, Ill, Stephen Daiter Gallery, Peter C. Bunnell, essay, October 6 - December 8, 2001.
TIMES SQUARED. New York, NY, Keith de Lellis Gallery, September 27 -November, 30, 1999.
PHOTOGRAPHY FROM THE MARTIN Z. MARGULIES COLLECTION. Miami Florida, The Art Museum at Florida International University, January 8 - February 13, 1999.
TAKE THE ‘A’ TRAIN. New York, NY, Howard Greenberg Gallery, June 18 -August 15, 1998.
THE STREETS AND BEYOND: NEW YORK PHOTOGRAPHY, 1900-1960. New York, NY, The Museum of the City of New York, organized by Leslie Nolan, Curator of Prints and Photographs, February 5 - June 8, 1997.
CAR CULTURE: THE AUTOMOBILE IN 20TH CENTURY PHOTOGRAPHY (a.k.a. Photography and the Automobile: Before and After the War). New York, Howard Greenberg Gallery, May 23 - June 21, 1997.
KISSING. New York, NY, Howard Greenberg Gallery, sponsored by the H2O Company & shown only in Japan, opening in Tokyo, February 28 - March 8, 1997 (traveling to eight venues, through April 25, 1998).
THE STREET WALKERS: LEO LEVINSTEIN AND FRANK PAULIN. New York, NY, Howard Greenberg Gallery, May 6 - June 18, 1994.
FACADES OF ALL THE COURT BUILDINGS OF THE FIVE BUROUGHS OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK. Commissioned portfolio of twenty-one photographs, including the principal interiors. Supreme Court, administrative offices and hallways, on permanent view, New York, NY, April - May, 1982.
JUDGES OF THE CIVIL COURT SYSTEM OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK. 150 formal portraits of every sitting judge of the Surrogate, Appellate and Supreme Courts. Civil Court House, 60 Centre Street, 6th floor, on permanent view, New York, NY, 1982 - 1993.
NEW YORK VU PAR. Lew Parrella, organized by, with brochure essay by Edward Steichen, Paris, France, Centre Culturel Americain, March 25 - May 5, 1960.
GROUP EXHIBITION. New York, NY, Limelight Gallery, September 3 - 30, 1958.
PHOTOGRAPHS BY FRANK PAULIN. Lew Parrella and Helen Gee, organizers. New York, NY, Limelight Gallery, February 19 - April 2, 1957. Solo
PUBLICATIONS THAT INCLUDE REPRODUCTIONS OF THE WORK OF FRANK PAULIN
Maloney, Tom, edited by. U.S. CAMERA. New York, U.S. Camera Publishing, 1956.
Parrella, Lew, edited by. CREATIVE PHOTOGRAPHY #2. New York, Maco Magazine Corporation, 1957.
NEW YORK VU PAR. Lew Parrella, organized by. Edward Steichen, essay. Paris, France, Centre Culturel Americain, 1960. Published in conjunction with exhibition of same title, March 25 - May 5, 1960.
Maloney, Tom, edited by. U.S. CAMERA: 25th ANNIVERSARY: THE PICTURE UNIVERSE. New York, U.S. Camera Publishing, 1961.
FRANK: AN INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF CONTEMPORARY WRITING & ART. VOL. I, no. 3, Winter, 1984. Published in Paris, France.
Gee, Helen. LIMELIGHT: A GREENWICH VILLEGE PHOTOGRAPHY GALLERYAND COFFEE HOUSE IN THE 1950S: A MEMOIR. Albuquerque, University of New Mexico, 1997.
CAR CULTURE: THE AUTOMOBILE IN TWENTIETH-CENTURY PHOTOGRAPHY (a.k.a. Photography and the Automobile: Before and After the War). Gerald Silk, essay. Marla Hamberg Kennedy, edited by. New York, Gibbs-Smith, 1998. Published in conjunction with exhibition of same title, held earlier: New York, Howard Greenberg Gallery, May 23 – June 21, 1997.
Evans, Walker. WALKER EVANS & COMPANY. Peter Galassi, essay. Glenn D. Lowry, foreword. New York, Museum of Modern Art, Abrams, 2000. Published in conjunction with exhibition of same title, March 16 – September 12, 2000,
Rock, Howard B. and Deborah Dash Moore. CITYSCAPES: A HISTORY OF NEW YORK IN IMAGES. New York, Columbia University, 2001.
Paulin, Frank. THE BELMONT BOOK: ONE DAY AT THE FAMED RACETRACK IN 1956. New York, Self-published, 2007.
FRANK PAULIN: OUT OF THE LIMELIGHT. Max Kozloff, essay, Messimo Vignelli, designed by. New York, Silverstein Publishing, 2008. Published in conjunction with solo exhibition of same title, New York, Silverstein Photography Gallery, January 19 – February 23, 2008.
Abriss, Alan. FRANK PAULIN/OUT OF THE LIMELIGHT: OPENING NIGHT. Photographs by Abriss of Paulin’s solo exhibition reception at Silverstein Photography Gallery. New York, Self-published, January 19, 2008.
Gefter, Philip. PHOTOGRAPHY AFTER FRANK. New York, Aperture, 2009.
FRANK PAULIN: COLOR WORKS. First edition. April Paul, essay. Los Angeles, A & I Photography, Duncan Miller Gallery, 2009. Published in conjunction with solo exhibition of same title, October 22 – December 31, 2009.
Gefter, Philip. NEW YORK IN BLACK AND WHITE. Essay to accompany auction sales catalogue, NEW YORK, NEW YORK. New York, Phillips de Pury & Company, December 12, 2009.
Meister, Sarah H. PICTURING NEW YORK: PHOTOGRAPHS FROM THE MUSEUM OF MODERN ART, Museum of Modern Art, 2009. Published in conjunction with traveling exhibition of same title.
NEW YORK 400: A VISUAL HISTORY OF AMERICA’S GREATEST CITY. Melanie Bower, John Thorn, editors, Michael Bloomberg, intro., Mike Wallace, preface. New York, Museum of the City of New York, Running Press, 2009. Published in conjunction with exhibition of same title, September 5 – November 9, 2009.
STREET SEEN: THE PSYCHOLOGICAL GESTURE IN AMERICAN PHOTOGRAPHY, 1940 - 1959. Lisa Hostetler, essay. Milwaukee, WI, Milwaukee Art Museum, Del Monico-Prestel, 2010. Published in conjunction with exhibition of same title, January 30 – April 25, 2010.
Golden, Reuel. NEW YORK: PORTRAIT OF A CITY. Cologne (Kohn), Germany, Taschen, 2010.
Shamis, Bob. NEW YORK IN COLOR. New York, Abrams, 2011.
PHOTO document: TWENTIETH-CENTUARYAMERICAN PHOTOGRAPHY and FOUND TEXT. Maggie Dethloff, organized by, essay. Amherst, MA, Amherst College, Mead Art Museum, 2012. Published in conjunction with exhibition of same title.
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