Alexander Semeonovitch Liberman
September 4, 1912
|Died||November 19, 1999 (aged 87)|
Miami, Florida, US
|Citizenship||United States (since 1946)|
|Education||University School, Hastings, Sussex, England, 1921–22|
St. Pirans School, Maidenhead, Berkshire, England, 1923–24
Ecole des Roches, 1924–27
Sorbonne, 1927–30, philosophy and mathematics,
studied painting, under André Lhote, Paris, 1931
Ecole Speciale d'Architecture, Paris, 1931–32 (under Auguste Perret)
École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, 1932–33
|Occupation||magazine editor, publisher|
painter, photographer, sculptor
|Employer||Vogue magazine (1943–)|
Condé Nast Publications (1960–1994)
|Spouse(s)||Hildegarde Sturm (1936–??) |
Tatiana Yacovleff du Plessix (1942–1991)
Melinda Pechangco (1992–1999)
|Children||Francine du Plessix Gray|
stepdaughter, not adopted
Alexander Semeonovitch Liberman (September 4, 1912 – November 19, 1999) was a Russian-American magazine editor, publisher, painter, photographer, and sculptor. He held senior artistic positions during his 32 years at Condé Nast Publications.
Life and career
He was born in a Jewish family in Kiev. When his father took a post advising the Soviet government, the family moved to Moscow. Life there became difficult, and his father secured permission from Lenin and the Politburo to take his son to London in 1921.
Young Liberman was educated in Russia, England, and France, where he took up life as a "White Émigré" in Paris.
He began his publishing career in Paris in 1933–36 with the early pictorial magazine Vu, where he worked under Lucien Vogel as art director, then managing editor, working with photographers such as Brassaï, André Kertész, and Robert Capa.
Only in the 1950s did Liberman take up painting and, later, metal sculpture. His highly recognizable sculptures are assembled from industrial objects (segments of steel I-beams, pipes, drums, and such), often painted in uniform bright colors. In a 1986 interview concerning his formative years as a sculptor and his aesthetic, Liberman said, "I think many works of art are screams, and I identify with screams." His massive work "The Way", a 65 feet (20 m) x 102 feet (31 m) x 100 feet (30 m) structure, is made of eighteen salvaged steel oil tanks, and became a signature piece of Laumeier Sculpture Park, and a major landmark of St. Louis, Missouri.
Before finding success in painting and sculpture, Liberman was a photographer. Beginning in 1948, he spent his summers visiting and photographing a generation of modern European artists working in their studios including Georges Braque, Henri Matisse, Maurice Utrillo, Marc Chagall, Marcel Duchamp, Constantin Brancusi, and Pablo Picasso. In 1959 the Museum of Modern Art in New York City exhibited Liberman's photographs of artists and their studios. A year later the images were collected in Liberman's first book, The Artist in his Studio published by Viking Press (Kazanjian and Tomkins, 1993).
He was married briefly to Hildegarde Sturm (August 25, 1936), a model and competitive skier. His second wife (since 1942), Tatiana Yacovleff du Plessix Liberman (1906–1991), had been a childhood playmate and baby sitter. In 1941, they escaped together from occupied France, via Lisbon, to New York. She had operated a hat salon in Paris, then designed hats for Henri Bendel in Manhattan. She continued in millinery at Saks Fifth Avenue where she was billed as "Tatania du Plessix" or "Tatania of Saks", until the mid-1950s. In 1992, he married Melinda Pechangco, a nurse who had cared for Tatiana during an early illness. His stepdaughter, Francine du Plessix Gray, is a noted author.
- part-time design assistant to A. M. Cassandre for approximately three months, Paris, 1930
- full-time painter since 1936
- Served in the French Army, 1940
- photographer since 1949
- sculptor since 1958
- Vogue magazine, Manhattan, Condé Nast hired Liberman as an assistant to Vogue art director Mehemed Fehmy Agha, who had just fired him. In 1943 Liberman succeeded Agha as the magazine's art director.
- numerous exhibitions of paintings and sculptures
- Gold Medal for Design, Exposition Internationale, Paris, 1937.
- Doctor of Fine Arts: Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, 1980.
- La Femme Française dans l'Art, 1936 (in French)
- (editor and designer) The Art and Technique of Color Photography: A Treasury of Color Photographs by the Staff Photographers of Vogue, House & Garden, Glamour, introduction by Aline B. Louchheim, Simon & Schuster (New York), 1951
- The World in Vogue, Compiled by the Viking Press and Vogue ; Editors for Viking: Bryan Holme and Katharine Tweed ; Editors for Vogue: Jessica Daves and Alexander Liberman, New York : Viking Press, 1963
- The Artist in His Studio, foreword by James Thrall Soby, Viking Press (New York), 1960, revised edition, Random House (New York), 1988
- (photographer) Greece, Gods, and Art, introduction by Robert Graves, commentaries by Iris C. Love, Viking Press (New York), 1968
- Painting and Sculpture, 1950–1970 (exhibition), Garamond/Pridemark Press (Baltimore, Maryland), 1970
- Introduction to Vogue Book of Fashion Photography 1919-1979, by Polly Devlin (New York), 1979
- Marlene: An Intimate Photographic Memoir, Random House (New York), 1992
- (photographer) Campidoglio: Michelangelo's Roman Capitol, essay by Joseph Brodsky, Random House (New York), 1994
- (photographer) Then: Photographs, 1925–1995, preface by Calvin Tomkins, selected and designed by Charles Churchward, Random House (New York), 1995
- Ritual II (1966), Lynden Sculpture Garden, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
- Orbits (1967), Lynden Sculpture Garden, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
- Axeltree (1967), Lynden Sculpture Garden, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
- Temple II (1964-1969), The Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller Empire State Plaza Art Collection, Albany, New York
- Contact II (1972), Portland, Oregon
- Gate of Hope (1972), University of Hawaii at Manoa
- Argo (1974), Milwaukee, Wisconsin
- Covenant (1975), University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- Symbol (1978), Rockford, Illinois
- On High (1979), New Haven, Connecticut
- Stargazer (1983), San Diego, California
- Olympic Iliad (1984), Seattle, Washington
- Galaxy (1985), Leadership Square, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
- Trope I (1986), Norfolk, Virginia
- Abracadabra (1992), Hamilton, Ohio
- Archway (1997), Museum SAN, Wonju, South Korea
- The Way (1980), Laumeier Sculpture Park, St Louis, Missouri
This section does not cite any sources. (October 2018) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Liberman's work is held in the following collections:
- Metropolitan Museum of Art
- Storm King Art Center
- Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
- Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park
- Tate Gallery
- Guggenheim Museum
- Lucy Sisman, "Alex Liberman: Ways of Looking at Design," (2013)
- Calvin Tomkins and Dodie Kazanjian, Alex: The Life of Alexander Liberman (1993)
- Radford, Georgia and Warren Radford, "Sculpture in the Sun, Hawaii's Art for Open Spaces", University of Hawaii Press, 1978, 94.
- Francine du Plessix Gray, Them.
- James Pilgrim, Alexander Liberman: Painting and Sculpture, 1950–1970 (1970). (exhibition catalogue for the Corcoran Gallery of Art)
- Liberman's introduction to Polly Devlin, Vogue: Book of Fashion Photography, 1919–1979 (1979).
- The Guardian, Lucy Sisman, Alexander Liberman: The Inspired Mastermind Behind Vogue for More than 20 Years (6 Dec. 1999)
- New York Post (20 Nov. 1999) (business section)
- Calvin Tomkins, "Balancing Act", New Yorker (6 Dec. 1999).
- Maier, Thomas (1997). Newhouse: All the Glitter, Power, and Glory of America's Richest Media Empire and the Secretive Man Behind It. Big Earth Publishing. ISBN 978-1-55566-191-5. Retrieved 2008-11-01.
- Roiphe, Katie (2005-05-12). "Lifestyles of the Rich and FamousFrancine du Plessix Gray's glamorous, forgetful parents". Slate.com. Archived from the original on 9 October 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-02.
- Arts Magazine, June, 1977, Frederic Tuten, "Alexander Liberman: Aquatints, Paintings, Photographs and Sculpture."
- Entertainment Weekly, December 1, 1995, Rebecca Ascher-Walsh, review of Then: Photographs 1925-1995, p. 68.
- The New York Times, May 12, 1979, Marie Winn "Liberman Staying in Vogue.".
- Photo Magazine, July, 1982, "Alexander Liberman: Photographs of Artists."
- School Library Journal, April, 2004, Wendy Lukehart, review of The Artist in His Studio, p. 64.
- Time magazine, February 7, 1994, "Retiring, Alexander Liberman", p. 21.
- Women's Wear Daily, February 6, 2004, Sharon Edelson, "Liberman's Art Direction", p. 10.
- Los Angeles Times, November 20, 1999, p. A23.
- Mediaweek, November 22, 1999, Lisa Granatstein, p. 4.
- New York Times, November 20, 1999, p. C15.
- Newsweek International, November 29, 1999, p. 4.
- The Times (London, England), November 27, 1999.
- The Washington Post, November 20, 1999, p. B7
- Booklist, February 1, 1995, Brad Hooper, review of Campidoglio: Michelangelo's Roman Capitol, p. 983.
- Art in America, November–December, 1977
- Carter Ratcliff, "Alexander Liberman at Storm King"; January, 1994
- Carter Ratcliff, "Platonic Purposes", discusses author's artwork, p. 92; October, 2004
- Jonathan Gilmore, "Alexander Liberman at Ameringer & Yohe", p. 149.
- The History of Fashion Photography by Nancy Hall-Duncan, New York 1979
- Alexander Liberman: Monograph by Barbara Rose, New York 1981
- The Library of World Photography: Photography as Fine Art, with introduction by Douglas Davis, Tokyo 1982, 1983, London 1983
- The Library of World Photography: Portraits, with introduction by Colin Ford, Tokyo 1982, 1983, London 1983
- "Alexander Liberman at Storm King" by Carter Ratcliff in Art in America (New York), November/December 1977
- "Liberman Staying in Vogue" by Marie Winn in The New York Times, 12 May 1979
- Carmody, Deirdre (1999-11-20). "Alexander Liberman, Condé Nast's Driving Creative Force, Is Dead at 87". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-11-02.
- Contemporary Authors Online, Gale, 2008. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Mich.: Gale, 2008. http://galenet.galegroup.com/servlet/BioRC. Fee. Accessed 2008-11-02. Entry updated: 12/07/2006. Document Number: H1000059908.
- "Alexander Liberman." Contemporary Photographers, 3rd ed. St. James Press, 1996. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Mich.: Gale, 2008. http://galenet.galegroup.com/servlet/BioRC. Updated: 09/19/2002. Fee. Accessed 2008-11-02. Document Number: K1653000394.
- "Alexander Semeonovitch Liberman."The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives, Volume 5: 1997-1999. Charles Scribner's Sons, 2002. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Mich.: Gale, 2008. http://galenet.galegroup.com/servlet/BioRC. Fee. Accessed 2008-11-02. Document Number not given.
- "Alexander Liberman." Contemporary Artists, 5th ed. St. James Press, 2001. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Mich.: Gale, 2008. http://galenet.galegroup.com/servlet/BioRC. Updated: 10/01/2001. Fee. Accessed 2008-11-02. Document Number: K1636001282
- Morris, Susan (Autumn 1993). "There's no art in magazines". Eye. Quantum publishing. Archived from the original on 2007-10-10. Retrieved 2008-11-04.
- Liberman, Alexander. "Alexander Liberman", [BOMB Magazine] Summer, 1986. Retrieved April 15, 2012.
- "Restoration of 'The Way' underway". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. September 27, 2011. Archived from the original on August 14, 2012. Retrieved August 13, 2012.
- "The Way, 1972-80". Laumeier Sculpture Park. Archived from the original on August 14, 2012. Retrieved August 13, 2012.
- Silva, Eddie (January 19, 2000). "Queen Beej". The Riverfront Times. Archived from the original on August 14, 2012. Retrieved August 13, 2012.
- Keaggy, Diane Toroian (September 21, 2011). "Iconic Laumeier sculpture 'The Way' to be restored". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Archived from the original on August 14, 2012. Retrieved August 13, 2012.
- Kazanjian, Dodie (1993). Alex, The Life of Alexander Liberman. New York, New York: Alfred A. Knopf. pp. 174–180, 221. ISBN 039457964X.
- Gray, Francine du Plessix (1995-05-08). "Growing up Fashionable". The New Yorker. p. 54. Retrieved 2008-11-02.
- "Obituary: Alexander Liberman". The Independent. Retrieved 2016-04-08.
- "Empire State Plaza Art Collection". Retrieved 6 November 2018.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Alexander Liberman.|
- http://www.stormking.org/AlexanderLiberman.html[permanent dead link]
- Art Directors Club biography and portrait
- Union List of Artist Names, Getty Vocabularies. ULAN Full Record Display for Alexander Liberman, Getty Vocabulary Program. Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, California
- Alexander Liberman photography archive, ca. 1925-ca. 1998. Research Library at the Getty Research Institute. Los Angeles, California.