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Franz Hubmann (1914–2007)
Pablo Picasso at his villa „La Californie”
France, Cannes, 1957
Gelatin silver print, 40 x 40 cm
Signed in the image lower left, photographer’s stamp on the reverse

The 1950s and 1960s are generally regarded as the golden age of photo journalism. Numerous photographers spread out across the world in order to bring to the public exciting pictures of interesting people and important places. One of these was Franz Hubmann. He was one of the people who made contact with artists in France in order to capture the contemporary atmosphere with his camera. At that time Paris was the undisputed centre of the art world and Franz Hubmann immediately understood that one could only report on art if one had personal contacts.

It is only thanks to his persistence that Hubmann was able to meet Picasso: Daniel Henry Kahnweiler, the discoverer and sole dealer in Picasso’s work, assisted Hubmann with his research on the subject of the „Der Olymp von Paris” by giving him advice and support but refused point blank to arrange a visit to Picasso in Cannes. So Hubmann set off on his own and was lucky. His request was willingly complied with and he was invited into the villa „La Californie”. To his surprise he found that Kahnweiler was also there!

Franz Hubmann was born in Ebreichsdorf/Lower Austria. After secondary school education he attended the College for the Textile Industry to become a technician. From 1935 to 1938 he worked in a hat factory till he was called up. In 1945 he was taken prisoner. From 1946 to 1949 he studied at the College of Graphic Arts and Photography in Vienna and then became picture editor for the Österreichischen Fremdenverkehrswerbung [Austrian Tourist Board], being responsible for establishing their archives. From 1954 till 1962 his worked at the Journal Austria International and was picture editor of the newly founded culture magazine Magnum. The Magazine for Modern Living.

His work made an essential contribution to modern Austrian photography and was a significant influence on succeeding generations of photographers. In the period 1960 to 1974 he was involved in making 17 television films including a 5-part series „Hohe Schule der Photographie” [Photography High School]. From 1983 to 1985 Franz Hubmann was a visiting professor at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna. His work has been shown in numerous exhibitions in Hamburg, Munich, Cologne, Copenhagen, Milan, New York, Rome, Naples and Austria. The artist has received many awards and prizes. He published around 80 books including nature studies and pictures of the Austrian cultural landscape. For his 90th birthday Franz Hubmann was honoured in a retrospective exhibition in Westlicht. Schauplatz für Fotografie – a cooperation with Leica Gallery Vienna and the Austrian Museum der Moderne at Salzburg.

Ulla Fischer-Westhauser, © WestLicht

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