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Foto arte minore: Max Hutzel photographs of art and architecture in Italy, 1960-1990

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Hutzel (Max) Photographs of Art and Architecture in Italy

Biographical / Historical

German-born photographer and scholar Max Hutzel (1911-1988) photographed in Italy from the early 1960s until the late 1980s, resulting in a vast body of photographs that he referred to as "Foto arte minore." Over the years he amassed a collection of about one million negatives and sold his photographs to individual scholars for publication and to institutions such as the Biblioteca Herziana, the National Gallery in Washington, and the Kunsthistorische Institut in Florence. He used the revenue from these sales, in addition to some financial support he received from his brother in Germany, to continue his work until his death.

Hutzel studied printmaking and graphics in Stuttgart. Impressed by Walter Gropius and the Bauhaus School, he developed a deep interest in photography and studied with Paul Wolff. After World War II, he settled in Italy and by the beginning of the 1960's, he had devoted himself to the photographic documentation of art and architecture. Applying techniques and aesthetic solutions he learned from the Bauhaus movement, Hutzel's approach went beyond the purely documentary. His photography represented his artistic interpretation of Italian art and his sense of being in a specific place. He compared himself to the European scholars and researchers who traveled through Italy drawing in their notebooks as they studied the history and archeological artifacts of the region.

Hutzel comprehensively documented lesser known monuments, attempting to include everything that is connected with art historical development in Italy up to the 18th century: architecture, sculpture, wall painting, panel painting, museum objects and religious artifacts from the Etruscan and Roman civilizations and the early Medieval, Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque periods. In order to document architecture within its topographical context, he often photographed general and panoramic views of towns seen from afar, streets, and clusters of buildings. He also provided a glimpse of the social context by sometimes including residents, passersby, and vehicles.

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