The Harry Ransom Center, a humanities research library and museum at The University of Texas at Austin, presents the retrospective exhibition “Fritz Henle: In Search of Beauty.”
The exhibition celebrates the art of photographer Fritz Henle (1909-1993) and coincides with the centenary of his birth in Germany. Featuring more than 125 seminal works that span the six decades of Henle’s career, the exhibition documents his enduring quest to find beauty in all forms of artistic genres and throughout the world.”One thing an artist can do in this world is to remind people that there is so much beauty that you only have to see it,” said Henle.Running from Feb. 3 to Aug. 2, 2009, the exhibition includes vintage and modern prints and features a broad range of Henle’s subjects, including images of New York City, Mexico, China and Paris; fashion; nudes; industry; and portraits of famous personalities.Versatility marked Henle’s work from the beginning, with his talents extending across genres of photography, including travel, fashion, commercial, portrait, journalistic, documentary, celebrity, industry, landscape and culture.Not long after he settled in the United States in 1936, Henle became one of the earliest contributors to Life Magazine, which featured more than 50 picture stories and five front covers by the photographer.Dubbed “the last classic freelance photographer” by photohistorian Helmut Gernsheim, Henle produced work for a range of clients, including Harper’s Bazaar, Glamour, Mademoiselle, Town and Country, and Holiday and published more than 20 major books of his works.A champion of the large square-format image, Henle relied on the twin-lens Rolleiflex camera for most of his work. Nicknamed “Mr. Rollei,” Henle found the square format provided one of the brightest and clearest screens for composition, detail, flexibility and creative expression.
While Henle’s subjects and assignments remained diverse and complex, he always managed to capture the meaning and passion an image’s true forms could reveal and convey.
Roy Flukinger, curator of the exhibition and senior research curator of photography at the Ransom Center, said, “Henle remained the champion of what he defined as ‘beauty’ in photography and, regardless of the subject matter he encountered, always strove to find an aesthetically pleasing approach to what came before his camera.”
Recognized for the clean and sharp elegance of the photographs, Henle’s art was unrestricted by convention or popular trends. “Fritz Henle: In Search of Beauty” illustrates why Henle’s photography continues to be recognized for its artistry, eloquence and insightfulness.
The exhibition is presented by the Judy and Steven Gluckstern family through their Lucky Star Foundation and by the Robin and Danny Greenspun family through their Culture Dog Foundation.
High-resolution press images from the exhibition are available, as is a list of Henle’s major publications.
“Fritz Henle: In Search of Beauty” can be seen at the Ransom Center on Tuesdays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with extended Thursday hours to 7 p.m. On Saturdays and Sundays the galleries are open from noon to 5 p.m. The galleries are closed on Mondays.
Complementing the exhibition is the book “Fritz Henle: In Search of Beauty,” co-published by the Ransom Center and the University of Texas Press. Available in February 2009, the publication includes an introduction by Flukinger and more than 125 images of Henle’s prints.