Rudy Burckhardt

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Rudy Burckhardt
Rudy Burckhardt.jpg
Born (1914-04-06)April 6, 1914
Died August 1, 1999(1999-08-01) (aged 85)
Nationality Swiss
Citizenship American
Occupation filmmaker

Rudy Burckhardt (April 6, 1914, Basel – August 1, 1999, Searsmont) was a Swiss-American filmmaker, and photographer, known for his photographs of hand-painted billboards which began to dominate the American landscape in the nineteen-forties and fifties.[1][2][3]


Burckhardt discovered photography as a medical student in London. He left medicine to pursue photography in the 1930s. He immigrated to New York City in 1935.[4] Between 1934 and 1939, he traveled to Paris, New York and Haiti making photographs mostly of city streets and experimenting with short 16mm films. While stationed in Trinidad in the Signal Corps from 1941-1944, he filmed the island's residents. In 1947, he joined the Photo League in New York City. Burckhardt married painter Yvonne Jacquette whom he collaborated with throughout their 40-year marriage. During the mid-Fifties he worked with Joseph Cornell on "The Aviary", "Nymphlight", "A Fable For Fountains", and "What Mozart Saw On Mulberry Street".[5] He taught filmmaking and painting at the University of Pennsylvania from 1967 to 1975. He is the great-uncle of author Andreas Burckhardt.

On his 85th birthday, Burckhardt committed suicide by drowning in the lake on his property.[6][7]

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