[Armstrong, Louis. (1901–1971)] [Weegee. [Fellig, Arthur.] (1899–1968), in the style of]

Distortion Photograph

Original photograph of the great trumpeter, in the style of the distinctive "distorted" portrait photographs by Weegee. The original photograph showed Satchmo arriving at a Mexican airport; his recognizable smile has been stretched vertically as if to emphasize his legendary chops. Stamps and markings to the verso, with one stamp dated February 5, 1962. A few light edge nicks, else fine. 7.25 x 10 inches (18.7 x 25.8 cm).

Weegee was born Usher Fellig in Ukraine in 1899; his given name was changed to Arthur when he emigrated with his family to New York in 1909. He began his photographic career as a freelancer, following police leads to be first at the scene of a crime, and selling the resulting photographs to tabloids. Weegee can be seen as the American counterpart to Brassaï, who photographed Paris street scenes at night. Weegee's themes of nudists, circus performers, freaks and street people were later taken up and developed by Diane Arbus in the early 1960s. 

In the 1950s and 1960s, Weegee experimented with panoramic photographs, photo distortions and photography through prisms. Using a plastic lens, he made a famous photograph of Marilyn Monroe in which her face is grotesquely distorted yet still recognizable; he applied similar techniques to self-portraits and portraits of Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan and others. Weegee photographed Louis Armstrong in performance in the early 1950's, and is even to be spotted blowing on Louis' trumpet in one photograph! (16344)

Unsigned Photograph