Lewis Baltz

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Lewis Baltz
Lewis baltz N°3-1.jpg
Lewis Baltz in Jean Nouvel's Amat hotel.
Born(1945-09-12)September 12, 1945
DiedNovember 22, 2014(2014-11-22) (aged 69)[1]
Paris, France
EducationSan Francisco Art Institute
Claremont Graduate School
Known forNew Topography

Lewis Baltz (September 12, 1945 – November 22, 2014) was a visual artist and photographer who became an important figure in the New Topographics movement of the late 1970s.[2] His work has been published in a number of books, presented in numerous exhibitions, and appeared in museums such as the Museum of Modern Art, Paris, Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.[citation needed] He wrote for many journals, and contributed regularly to L'Architecture d'Aujourd'hui.

Life and work[edit]

Born in Newport Beach, California, Baltz graduated with a BFA in Fine Arts from San Francisco Art Institute in 1969 and held a Master of Fine Arts degree from Claremont Graduate School.[3] He received several scholarships and awards including a scholarship from the National Endowment For the Arts (1973, 1977), the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship (1977),[3] US-UK Bicentennial Exchange Fellowship (1980) and Charles Brett Memorial Award (1991). In 2002 Baltz became a Professor for Photography at the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, Switzerland.[2] He lived his last years between Paris and Venice.

His work is focused on searching for beauty in desolation and destruction. Baltz's images describe the architecture of the human landscape: offices, factories and parking lots.[3] His pictures are the reflection of control, power, and influenced by and over human beings. His minimalistic photographs in the trilogy Ronde de Nuit, Docile Bodies, and Politics of Bacteria, picture the void of the other.[vague] In 1974 he captured the anonymity and the relationships between inhabitation, settlement and anonymity in The New Industrial Parks near Irvine, California (1974).

Baltz moved to Europe in the late 1980s and started to use large colored prints. He published several books of his work including Geschichten von Verlangen und Macht, with Slavica Perkovic (Scalo, 1986). Other photographic series, including Sites of Technology (1989–92), depict the clinical, pristine interiors of hi-tech industries and government research centres, principally in France and Japan.

His books and exhibitions, his "topographic work",[2] such as The New Industrial Parks, Nevada, San Quentin Point, Candlestick Point (84 photographs documenting a public space near Candlestick Park, ruined by natural detritus and human intervention), expose the crisis of technology and define both objectivity and the role of the artist in photographs.[vague][citation needed]

In 1995, the story Deaths in Newport was produced as a book and CD-ROM. Baltz also produced a number of video works.

Baltz died on November 22, 2014 at the age of 69 following a long illness.[4]


  • Landscape: Theory, Lewis Baltz, Harry Callahan, Eliot Porter, Carol Digrappa and Robert Adams, 1980 ISBN 0-912810-27-0
  • The New Industrial Parks Near Irvine, California, Lewis Baltz and Adam Weinburg, 2001 ISBN 0-9630785-6-9
  • The Tract Houses: Die Siedlungshauser (English and German Edition), Lewis Baltz, 2005 ISBN 0-9703860-4-4
  • The Prototype Works, Lewis Baltz, 2010 ISBN 3-86521-763-X
  • Mario Pfeifer: Reconsidering The new Industrial Parks near Irvine, California by Lewis Baltz, 1974, Lewis Baltz, Mario Pfeifer, Vanessa Joan Mueller, 2011 ISBN 1-934105-29-5
  • Lewis Baltz: Candlestick Point, Lewis Baltz, 2011 ISBN 3-86930-109-0
  • Lewis Baltz: Rule Without Exception / Only Exceptions, Lewis Baltz, 2012 ISBN 3-86930-110-4
  • Lewis Baltz: Texts., Lewis Baltz, 2012 ISBN 3-86930-436-7
  • Lewis Baltz, Lewis Baltz, 2017 ISBN 3-95829-279-8


  1. ^ Crowder, Nicole (November 24, 2014). "Icon of New Topography movement Lewis Baltz dies at 69". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 24, 2014.
  2. ^ a b c Lewis Baltz Archived May 27, 2010, at the Wayback Machine Faculty Website at European Graduate School.
  3. ^ a b c Jeff Rian (2001), Lewis Baltz, London: Phaidon, ISBN 0-7148-4039-4, OCLC 47677835, OL 3579790M, 0714840394
  4. ^ O'Hagan, Sean (December 4, 2014). "Lewis Baltz obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved October 22, 2015.

External links[edit]