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Between and Mortarboard

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Underwater Swimmer, Esztergom

Accession Number

Underwater Swimmer, Esztergom

André Kertész

Artist Nationality
American (North American)

Object Creation Date

Medium & Support
gelatin silver print on paper

4 5/16 in x 5 1/2 in (10.95 cm x 13.97 cm);16 in x 20 in (40.64 cm x 50.8 cm);11 in x 14 in (27.94 cm x 35.56 cm)

Credit Line
Gift of Dr. Seymour and Barbara K. Adelson

Label copy
Recent Acquisitions: Curators Choice Part I, November 12, 2011-March 18, 2012
André Kertész
United States, born Hungary, 1894–1985
Underwater Swimmer, August 31, 1917, Eszterom, Hungary
Gelatin silver print
Gift of Dr. Seymour S. Adelson and Barbara K. Adelson, 2008/1.155

Subject matter
Calling this print his "first distortion," Kertész's photograph of a man swimming underwater explores the effect of light and water on the perception of form. The swimmer's body, which extends dynamically from the upper left to lower right corners of the image, becomes increasingly transformed towards the head and arms, which appear bent and reduced in scale. Excluding all extraneous detail, the photograph suggests time has slowed as the swimmer hovers in a field of reflecting light and rippling water.

Physical Description
A strong man with an athletic build swims through water. His arms are outstretched above his head and his legs are perfectly pivoted behind. He is clothed in a pair of striped swimming shorts.

Primary Object Classification

Collection Area

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bathing suits
reflections (perceived properties)
swimming pools
water (inorganic material)
water activities

6 Related Resources

Art of interest to Judaic Studies
(Part of 3 Learning Collections)
Exploring Gender and Sexuality
(Part of 6 Learning Collections)
Surreal Photography
(Part of 2 Learning Collections)
Jewish Photographers 
(Part of: Ethnicity and Race)
André Kertész
(Part of: Modern Jewish Photography W20 - Dash Moore)

& Author Notes

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