(From Wikipedia, the free
Nickolas Muray (15 February
1892 - 2 November 1965) was a Hungarian-born American photographer.
Muray attended a graphic arts school in Budapest, where he studied
lithography, photoengraving, and photography. After earning an
International Engraver's Certificate, Muray took a three-year course in
color photoengraving in Berlin, where, among other things, he learned to
make color filters. At the end of his course he went to work for the
publishing company Ullstein. In 1913, with the threat of war in Europe,
Muray sailed to New York City, and was able to find work as a color
printer in Brooklyn.
By 1920, Muray had opened a portrait studio at his home in Greenwich
Village, while still working at his union job as an engraver. In 1921 he
received a commission from Harper's Bazaar to do a portrait of the
Broadway actor Florence Reed; soon after he was having photographs
published each month in Harper's Bazaar, and was able to give up his
Muray quickly became recognized as an important portrait photographer, and
his subjects included most of the celebrities of New York City. In 1926,
Vanity Fair sent Muray to London, Paris, and Berlin to photograph
celebrities, and in 1929 hired him to photograph movie stars in Hollywood.
He also did fashion and advertising work. Muray's images were published in
many other publications, including Vogue, Ladies' Home Journal, and The
New York Times.
Between 1920 and 1940, Nickolas Muray made over 10,000 portraits. His
1938's portrait of Frida Kahlo, made while Kahlo sojourned in New York,
attending her exhibit at the Julien Levy Gallery, became the best known
and loved portrait made by Muray. Muray and Kahlo were at the height of a
ten-year love affair in 1939 when the portrait was made. Their affair had
started in 1931, after Muray was divorced from his second wife and shortly
after Kahlo's marriage to Mexican muralist painter Diego Rivera. It
outlived Muray's third marriage and Kahlo's divorce and remarriage to
Rivera by one year, ending in 1941. Muray wanted to marry, but when it
became apparent that Kahlo wanted Muray as a lover, not a husband, Muray
took his leave for good and married his fourth wife. He and Kahlo remained
good friends until her death, in 1954.
After the market crash, Murray turned away from celebrity and theatrical
portraiture, and become a pioneering commercial photographer, famous for
his creation of many of the conventions of color advertising. He was
considered the master or the carbro process. His last important public
portraits were of Dwight David Eisenhower in the 1950s.