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Clemens Kalischer

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Clemens Kalischer

American, (1921–2018)

Clemens Kalischer was born in Lindau, Germany, in 1921. In 1933, he and his family fled Nazi Germany and relocated to Paris. After the Nazi occupation of Paris, he was held in various French concentration camps. In 1942, after reconnecting with his father at a concentration camp, they escaped and made their way to Casablanca. In Morocco, they found passage to the United States. At the New York harbor, he photographed the displaced refugees which would become is most recognized work. Kalischer went on to study at the Cooper Union, a private college in New York City, from 1944-1946. In 1948, Beaumont Newhall, curator, and photo historian for Black Mountain College, invited Kalischer to visit. There, he photographed Erik Satie’s The Ruse of Medusa and some of the artists that were living at the school including John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Elaine de Kooning, and Buckminster Fuller. Kalischer visited the school again in 1954. Throughout Kalischer’s career, his work was featured in Life, Fortune, The New York Times, and other well-known publications. His photographs can be found in various institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Library of Congress.

[source: Kat Bertam, winter 2021 curatorial intern]

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