Carl Perutz

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Carl Perutz (1921-1981) was a New York photographer who was active from the 1930s through the 1970s covering a wide range of subject matter and in the genres of street photography, photojournalism, portraiture, fashion and advertising.


Perutz started taking photos in his teens in the 1930s. Fashion photography by him featured in Vogue as early as 1940[1] He joined the U.S. Army shortly after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour and served in the American Eighth Air Force as a reconnaissance photographer, flying in a B17 over North Africa, France and Germany. In the rank of Captain to which he rose in 1945, he worked on the ground behind enemy lines.

Paris (1946-52)[edit]

He moved to Paris after the War and from there filed reports for Popular Photography magazine,[2] and his correspondences indicate that he was using colour quite early for the work he undertook there from 1946 photographing fashion, writers, artists and stage and screen actors.[3][4] In their September 29, 1947 issue LIFE magazine published his atmospheric picture of Juliette Gréco wearing men’s trousers at Le Tabou.[5] His unusually candid shot of fashion models - one smiling broadly at his camera - parading British designer Charles James’ gowns at the candlelit haute couture soirée at Plaza Athénée in Paris, was made on July 1947.[6]


He shared an apartment in Paris with photojournalist Robert Capa (1913-54) who with Henri Cartier-Bresson, George Rodger and David Seymour was forming the Magnum agency (1947). Though he stamped ‘Magnum’ on his prints made in Paris (1947–52) and in New York (1952-58), and was credited as "Carl Perutz, Magnum" in issues of LIFE magazine into the 1950s,[7][8] the agency does not recognise him as one of their official photographers and he does not appear in searches of their current website. Nevertheless, he is mentioned as ‘another member of Magnum” in a caption to his 1950 photograph of Robert Capa by Gael Elton Mayo,[9] and by Cornell Capa (1918-2008), Robert’s younger brother, and by Inge Morath (1923-2002).

New York (1952-58)[edit]

Returning to America, Perutz worked for a variety of corporate[10] and magazine clients. John G. Morris describes how he selected Perutz for stories on film and theatre because "he had been virtually born in the theatre".[11] While his famous subjects included Helen Keller, Duke Ellington, Jimmy Durante, Roland Petit and other celebrities, it is for his photographs of Marilyn Monroe that Perutz is becoming best remembered.

On June 16, 1958, shortly before the movie star flew out to Hollywood to film Some Like It Hot, Perutz was contracted by the Hearst Corporation to conduct a photo-shoot with Monroe for their 1958 cover-story, “Milady’s Easter Bonnet” in The American Weekly Sunday supplement, for which six leading milliners to provided a hat for six well-known women; Monroe along with Kathy Grant Crosby, Lucille Ball, Elsa Maxwell, Eleanor Roosevelt and Mamie Eisenhower, wife of the President.

Perutz shot about sixty frames during this session in which Monroe wore several hats from Northridge’s salon, including a black unblocked felt hat worn low over one eye and the frame chosen for publication shows Marilyn wearing a white, floppy hat. Silver gelatin prints were produced, and some bought by Monroe herself, although in publication the photographs were replaced with illustrations by Jon Whitcomb (1906–88) using Carl’s work as reference. The photograph itself features on the cover of Marilyn in fashion : the enduring influence of Marilyn Monroe[12]

Personal life[edit]

Carl Perutz’s marriage to Lida Livingston (1912–1977), manager of Margaret Ettinger’s publicity firm, on Sept 25, 1952, was announced in Variety magazine, Wednesday, October 1, 1952,[13] as well as the birth of their son Peter on May 21, 1953.[14] Livingston formed her own public relations company in 1967 and counted Helena Rubenstein and Elizabeth Arden among her clients. The marriage ended in divorce and she died on September 17, 1977. Two sons, Peter (Pete Livingston) and Jack survive.


  • Pertutz's light-hearted observation of a woman on a New York ferry sheltering herself from rain and wind behind her taller male partner was featured in MoMA’s world-touring blockbuster exhibition and book The Family of Man curated by Edward Steichen.[15]
  • Posthumous joint exhibition with Louis Stettner of monochrome street photographs, still lives, from Paris and New York at Neikrug Photographics, 224 E. 68th, NYC, February 13 to March 9, 1985.[16]



  1. ^ Vogue ; New York Vol. 96, Iss. 10, (Nov 15, 1940): 92, 93
  2. ^ ”"My hotel is in the center of the Quartier Latin where all aspiring but broke photographers should be—it's fairly reasonable compared to hotels in the fancier sections of Paris but still a lot more than New York. Prices have tripled here since the end of 1945. "London on the other hand remains about the same. There is less to eat there but at least everyone gets the same amount on their rations. In France, one can buy anything that one desires-if one has the money. The black market is no longer black, but grey, since almost everyone has to deal in it in order to live —sad but true. “If any photographers are headed this way, tell them to bring everything they need with them-film, bulbs, lenses, tripods, and paper. Also include tea, coffee, and sugar." ’Popular Photography, June 1947, Vol. 20, No. 6, 145-6
  3. ^ "There is no Kodachrome being processed in Paris except 35 mm stuff and that only once a month. London is processing up to and including 4x5 or 4x6. However, their processing is now showing an excess of red (during the war it was over on the yellow side). Life can certainly let complicated here!’Popular Photography, June 1947, ol. 20, No. 6, 145-6
  4. ^ "Paris pay and Paris prices are further apart than their American cousins, according to reports from CARL PERUTZ who is busily free-lancing for French picture magazines. A color cover on assignment brings 10,000 francs, Perotz says, or Iess than $85. And the difficulties are enormous. He writes that he and several other photographers are shooting Ansco color and Ektachrome, and processing it themselves, with good results. But available paper Is heartbreakingly bad, and the water so poor that prints and film have to be run through a dilute hydrochloric acid solution to prevent calcium deposits in drying. There are no model agencies in Paris, of all things. When Perutz manages to line up a model, the couturier is having a showing and can't lend clothes. When the clothes are available, the model isn't. When both are ready, it rains. "What should be a one-day job sometimes takes two weeks,” he moans. Color film costs 2.000 francs a roll, against one dollar, or 120 francs, U. S. price. Paris, like every other place on the globe, is producing a strobe unit. The first test. models seem to be quite good, according to Perutz, fire about 1,500 flashes before recharging, weigh roughly 18 pounds, recharge on 110-125 volts, and cost-somewhere around 50,000 francs." Popular Photography, Aug 1947, Vol. 21, No. 2; 166
  5. ^ Jonathan Faiers, Mary Westerman Bulgarella (eds.) Colors in Fashion, Bloomsbury Publishing, 2016, ISBN 1474273696
  6. ^ Koda, Harold; James, Charles, -1978, (designer.); Reeder, Jan Glier, (author.); Scaturro, Sarah, (contributor.); Petersen, Glenn, (contributor.); Rucci, Ralph, (author of introduction, etc.) (2014), Charles James : beyond fashion, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, ISBN 978-0-300-20436-0CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  7. ^ LIFE, 2 May 1949, ISSN 0024-3019, Time Inc. 33
  8. ^ LIFE, 10 Jul 1950, Vol. 29, No. 2, ISSN 0024-3019, Time Inc, 17
  9. ^ Mayo, Gael Elton The Magnum Photographic Group: The memories of a friend and colleague in Apollo, Sep 1, 1989; 130, 331.
  10. ^ e.g. Squibb Pharmaceutical, see Wirz, Adolf 'art directors club of new york: 43rd Annual Exhibition of Advertising and Editorial Art 1964', in Graphis, Nov 1, 1964; 452
  11. ^ Morris, John G. (John Godfrey) (1998), Get the picture : a personal history of photojournalism (1st ed.), Random House, p. 109, ISBN 978-0-679-45258-4
  12. ^ Nickens, Christopher; Zeno, George (2012), Marilyn in fashion : the enduring influence of Marilyn Monroe, Running, ISBN 978-0-7624-4332-1
  13. ^ Variety Oct 1, 1952; 188, 4
  14. ^ 'BIRTHS' Variety, May 27, 1953; pg. 79
  15. ^ : Steichen, Edward & Steichen, Edward, 1879-1973, (organizer.) & Sandburg, Carl, 1878-1967, (writer of foreword.) & Norman, Dorothy, 1905-1997, (writer of added text.) & Lionni, Leo, 1910-1999, (book designer.) et al. (1955). The family of man : the photographic exhibition. Published for the Museum of Modern Art by Simon and Schuster in collaboration with the Maco Magazine Corporation, [New York]
  16. ^ New York Magazine, 18 Feb 1985, Vol. 18, No. 7 ISSN 0028-7369, New York Media, LLC. 127.

External links[edit]

  • Carl Perutz website [1]