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Roy Schatt

Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller by Roy Schatt

$2,000
Size
Stephen Bulger Gallery ( Toronto, ON)
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  • Artwork Info
  • About the Artist
  • 1955
    Gelatin silver print
    Signed, with artist stamp, in ink, au verso
    Printed circa 1990
    Unframed

  • Roy Schatt was born in New York City in 1909 and pursued a lifelong passion and career in the arts. He studied under N.C. Wyeth, painted murals during the WPA and used his artistic skills in the Army while stationed in India. Post-war, he returned to New York City where he worked in advertising, acting, illustration and photography, and landed in the circle of many creative personalities. He was influenced by renowned photographers Cartier-Bresson, Edward Weston, Ansel Adams, and Erich Salomon.

    Schatt was a dedicated photographer for 60 years, who captured legendary individuals and historic moments. Utilizing his 'method' approach and use of only natural light, Roy was committed to a pure form of photography. He developed all his photographs in his 33rd Street darkroom, with a focus on the balance of light. His inspiration from the photographers Henri Cartier-Bresson, Edward Weston and Ansel Adams, provided him with a skilled and experienced understanding of the camera as a means to achieve much more than 'documentation', but a meaningful art form translated into a photograph. His study of art, theatre, writing and history were the building blocks of his own photographic art.

    Schatt developed a remarkable friendship with James Dean. As a fellow actor and with a great interest in photography, Dean formed a special bond with Schatt and wanted to learn art from him. About the beginning of their relationship, Schatt states "He was a squinty schlump of a person all bent over. Then Dean suddenly got up and this ugly person became a dream, an Adonis who started to dance around the room. It was a transition I couldn't believe. (…) During our first meeting Jim asked me if I would shoot him, not as a regular session, but to document his activities. It soon developed that he wanted to shoot me as well, so we began classes." During the course of their year-long friendship, cut short by Dean's tragic death, Schatt captured the iconic “Torn Sweater” series portraits, as well as other images of Dean in personal moments playing the bongos at a party, pretending to steal candy from a newsstand, or practicing the art of photography using Schatt and actor friends as his subjects.

    During the 50s, Roy Schatt lived in Greenwich Village, the vibrant artistic epicenter of the epoch, and befriended creative personalities. Schatt's forte in portrait photography and his sensibility as an actor allowed him to capture the most genuine, even vulnerable, emotions of his subjects. Famed director Lee Strasberg recognized his caliber as a photographer and named Schatt the Official Photographer of the Actor's Studio.

    Roy Schatt’s photographs have been exhibited at the International Center of Photography, NYC; National Portrait Gallery, Washington, DC; Art Institute of Chicago; and included in national and international gallery exhibitions.

    Adapted from Westwood Gallery, NYC