HENRY WOLF (1925-2005)

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ZSA ZSA GABOR AND BUSTER KEATON AT THE MOULIN ROUGE, PARIS, 1959 by HENRY WOLF (1925-2005) - photograph for sale from Beetles & Huxley





Henry Wolf was an Austrian photographer and graphic designer who, as art director of 'Esquire', 'Harper's Bazaar' and 'Show' in the 1950s and 60s, had great influence over the design of America's magazines.

Henry Wolf was born on 23 May 1925 in Vienna, where he lived until the age of thirteen. However in 1938, with the rise of Hitler, Wolf's family were forced to flee Vienna. The next three years of Wolf's life were spent attending an array of different schools until, as a teenager, he moved to Paris to study art. In 1941, he emigrated to America, where he studied at New York City's School of Industrial Arts. However, Wolf's art studies where interrupted when, in 1943, he joined the army and served for three years. After the war, Wolf returned to his passion and began working for an art studio. At the same time he was studying photography and design under the legendary art director Alexey Brodovitch, whom he would later succeed as art director at 'Harper's Bazaar'.

In 1952, Wolf took a job at 'Esquire' as the junior art director. He soon went on to become graphics editor and, at twenty-six, was one of the youngest at any national magazine. It was not long, therefore, until he was appointed art director of the magazine. Over the next two years, he shaped 'Esquire' around his own visual idea, featuring witty covers and newly discovered photographers, creating the lasting image for which the magazine became known. In 1958, Wolf succeeded Alexey Brodovitch as art director of 'Harper's Bazaar'. He worked there for three years where, again, he collaborated with editors to define the magazine, choosing what to feature on the covers and holding sway over the design of the publication as a whole. In 1961, he became art director of a new magazine called 'Show'. There, his covers became known for their humour and sophistication.

In 1965, Wolf began working for McCann Erickson, an advertising agency, where he directed high-profile advertisement campaigns for Alka Seltzer, Gillette and Coca-Cola. Then, in 1971, Wolf turned his hand to photography, film and design, and launched his own company called Henry Wolf Productions. For the next thirty years, he worked as a photographer and designer, creating in that time over five hundred commercials and nine films. He went on to teach graphic design in New York and in 1976 was awarded the American Institute of Graphics Art Medal for Lifetime Achievement.

Henry Wolf died on 14 February 2005, aged seventy-nine.

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