Art of the 20th Century

A Revolution in the Arts


Art Styles in 20th century Art Map


Paul Outerbridge


Paul Outerbridge

Paul Outerbridge, Jr. (1896–1958) was an American photographer noted for early use and experiments in color photography. Outerbridge was a fashion and commercial photographer, an early pioneer and teacher of color photography, and an artist who created erotic nudes photographs that could not be exibited in his lifetime.

Outerbridge, while still in his teens, worked as an illustrator and theatrical designer designing stage settings and lighting schemes. After an accident caused his discharge from the Royal Canadian Naval Air Service, in 1917, he enlisted in the U.S. Army where he did his first photography work. In 1921, Outerbridge enrolled in the Clarence H. White school of photography at Columbia University. Within a year his work began being reproduced in Vanity Fair and Vogue magazine.

In London, in 1925, the Royal Photographic Society invited Outerbridge to exhibit in a one-man show. Outerbridge then traveled to Paris and became friends with surrealist artists, Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp, and Berenice Abbott. In Paris, Outerbridge did a layout for the French Vogue magazine, met and worked with Edward Steichen, and built the largest, most completely equipped advertising photography studio of the times. In 1929, 12 of Outerbridge's photographs were included in the prestigious, German Film und Foto exhibition.

Returning to New York in 1929, Outerbridge opened a studio doing commercial and artistic work and began writing a monthly column on color photography for the U.S. Camera Magazine. Outerbridge worked in tri-color carbro process. In 1937, Outerbridge's photographs were included in an exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art and, in 1940, Outerbridge published his seminal book, Photographing in Color, using high quality illustrations to explain his techniques. A scandal over his shocking, full-color erotic nude photography, led to Outerbridge retiring as a commercial photographer and moving to Hollywood in 1943, although he continued to contribute photo stories to magazines and write his monthly column. In 1945, Outerbridge married fashion designer Lois Weir and worked in their joint fashion company, Lois-Paul Originals.

One year after his death, Smithsonian Institution staged a one-man show of Outerbridge's photographs in 1959. Although his reputation has faded, revivals of Outerbridge's photography in 1970s and 1990s has periodically brought him into contemporary public knowledge.





Kitchen Table


Ide Collar


Saltine Box


Triumph of the Egg


Images de Deauville


Nude with bandleader's jacket


Nude with mask and hat


Party-mask with Shells


Phoenix Rising


Woman with claws


Dutch Girl


Woman with snake


Tools with Blueprint


House Under Construction


Nude on a ladder




Nude 2


Marmon crankshaft


42nd Street Elevated






The Terrace


Cheese and Crackers


Toy Display (Circus)


, circa 1925

William Current and His First Wife


Glass bowl, chopping block and pan

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