About This Image
Signed and dated at the bottom left corner in copy print by Tabard. P.53 written in pencil by photographer.
Maurice Tabard was born in Lyon, France on July 12, 1897. Tabard failed his exam at the conservatory, effectively ending his plans for a career as a young violinist. In 1914 he immigrated with his family to the United States, where his father worked in a silk mill in Patterson, NJ. There he studied silk design by day and art--mainly painting--by night. He became interested in photography, which he studied under Emil Brunel at the New York Institute of Photography in 1916.
He was impressed by the work of Edward Steichen, among others, and became a friend of his assistant Harvey White. After various menial jobs, he worked as a portrait photographer for Bachrach Studios during the 1920s in Baltimore, MD, although he also produced several official portraits in Washington, DC, including some of the Coolidge family. In 1925-27 he also studied portraiture with the painter Carlos Baca-Flor in New York.
In 1928 he returned to Paris, intending to work as a fashion photographer, and met the French Surrealist writer Phillipe Soupault. Soupault put him in touch with Lucien Vogel, the director of the magazine Jardin des Modes, which became Tabard's first client in Paris.
He later met Man Ray in 1930, who taught him the technique of solarization, and he became a friend of the Belgium surrealist René Magritte at about the same time.
Tabard first worked as a freelancer providing portraits, advertising, and fashion photography for several other magazines such as Art et Décoration, Vu, Jazz, Marie Claire and Bifur. He participated in the important exhibition Film und Foto in Stuttgart in 1929. In 1930 and 1931, he worked in the Deberny-Peignot studio, where he met Roger Parry and Eméric Féher.
During his early European period, Tabard spent much of his time experimenting with multiple exposures, foreshortening, photomontage and other techniques, producing highly complex images. This work was included in "Surrealism" and "Modern European Photography" exhibitions at the Julien Levy Gallery, New York, in 1932, and he had his first solo exhibition at the Galerie de la Pléiade in Paris in 1933. His photography was also included in the groundbreaking "Photography 1839-1937" exhibition at the New York Museum of Modern Art.
After returning to New York City during the 1940s, he was hired by Alexey Brodovitch, director of Harper's Bazaar. He then met Irving Penn, Richard Avedon and Martin Munkacsi.
He taught briefly at the University of Hudson and Winona Lake School of Photography and traveled to Paris frequently on fashion assignments. Virtually all of his work and negatives were destroyed during WWII.
After retiring in 1966, Tabard was given a major retrospective show (1925-1939) at the Ecole de Paris in 1973. In 1983 he received the "Grand Prix de la Ville de Paris".
In 1980 Tabard moved to Nice where he passed away on February 23, 1984.
His work is in the collections of most major museums, including the Georges Pompideu; the New York Museum of Modern Art; the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Bibliothèque National de France, Paris; FNAC, Paris; the Art Institute of Chicago; the Philadelphia Museum of Art; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and the Cleveland Museum of Art, to name a few.
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Medium Silver print
Photo Date 1948 Print Date 1970s
Dimensions 11 x 8-1/2 in. (279 x 216 mm)
Photo Country France
Photographer Country France