Elliott Erwitt was born in France of Russian émigré parents in 1928. His formative years were spent in Italy. At the age of 10 he moved with his family to France afterward immigrating to the United States in 1939, settling in New York for two years then transferring to Los Angeles.
In the early 50’s, Erwitt moved to New York City by way of Pittsburgh, Germany and France (the last two locations courtesy of the United States Army). He settled in New York for good establishing his fundamental base of operations… although “settling” is Erwitt parlance means “where you are at the moment for as long as you don’t go somewhere else”. Flexibility and adaptation to the requirements of the profession and personal interests have kept him moving the globe before returning to base.
While attending Hollywood High School Erwitt worked in a commercial darkroom processing “signed” prints for fans of movie stars. During 1949 he returned to Europe travelling and photographing Italy and France thus marking the start of his professional career. Drafted in to US Army in 1951 he continued taking photographs for various publication totally apart from his military duties while stationed in New Jersey, Germany and France.
By good fortune while looking for work on exploratory trips to New York City prior to his military service, he met Edward Steichen, Robert Capa and Roy Stryker who liked his photographs and took a personal guiding interest becoming significant mentors.
In 1953 freshly decommissioned from military service, Elliot Erwitt was invited to join Magnum Photos as a member by its founder Robert Capa. In 1968 he became President of the prestigious agency for 3 terms. To date he continues to be an active member and one of the leading figures in the competitive field of photography.
Erwitt’s books, journalistic essays, illustrations and advertisement have been featured in publications around the world for over forty years. While continuing his work as a stils photographer Erwitt began making films in the 70’s. His documentaries include “Beauty Knows No Pain” (1971), “Red and White and Blue Grass” (1973) sponsored with a grant from the American Film Institute and the Glass Makers of Herat (1977).
In the 80’s Erwitt produced seventeen comedy and satire television programs for Home Box Office. From the 90’s to the present he continues to lead a remarkably varied professional life encompassing many disparate aspects of photography. While actively working for magazine, industrial and advertising clients Erwitt devotes all his spare time toward creating books and exhibitions of his work destined for galleries and museums. To date he is the author of over 20 photography books and is preparing a new one titled “This and That” for fall of 2007.
A listing of one man shows at significant public venues include the Museum of Modern Art in New York, The Chicago Art Institute, the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C., the Museum of Modern Art in Paris (Palais de Tokyo), the Kunsthaus in Zurich, the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid, the Barbican in London, the Royal Photographic Society in Bath, the Museum of Art of the New South Wals in Sydney, the Spazio Oberdan in Milan, various Asian venues too difficult to pronunce and many others. Private galleries scattered throughout the world display, promote and sell Erwitt’s “fine art” photographs.
Elliott Erwitt likes children and dogs.
In the recent few years, the following cities have hosted one man Elliott Erwitt exhibitions.
Santiago del Chile
2015 Scatti Personali, Mondadori Electa
2014 Regarding Women, TeNeues
2013 Kolor, TeNeues
2010 Elliott Erwitt Personal Best, TeNeues
2010 Elliott Erwitt’s Paris, TeNeues
2010 The Art of Andre S. Solidor aka Elliott Erwitt, TeNeues
2009 Elliott Erwitt’s New York, TeNeues
2009 Elliott Erwitt’s Rome, TeNeues
2005 Woof, Chronicle Books
2002 Elliott Erwitt’s Handbook, the Quantuck Lane
2002 EE 60/60, Ediciones Aldeasa
2001 Snaps, Phaidon
1999 Museum Watching, Phaidon
1998 Dog Dogs, Phaidon
1994 Between the Sexes, W W Norton&co. Inc.
1993 The Angel Tree, Harry N. Abrams
1991 On the Beach, W W Norton&co. Inc.
1988 Personal Exposures, W W Norton&co. Inc.
1978 Recent Developments, Simon & Schuster
1974 Son of Bitch, the Viking Press
1974 Elliott Erwitt: the Private Experience, Cromwell
1972 Obseravation on American Architecture, the Viking Press
1972 Photographs and Anti-Photographs, Thames & Hudson Ltd