Paul Outerbridge in his 1920s Dada Moment: It Shaped the Commercial Work that Came Later

THE DAILY PIC: At Bruce Silverstein, Paul Outerbridge's early self-portrait predicts the secret radicalism of his later ads.


THE DAILY PIC (#1611): The photos by Paul Outerbridge that I know best are the Norman Rockwell-ish ones that he shot for color magazine ads in the 1930s and ‘40s. But the other day I fell in love with this radical 1927 self-portrait in black and white, now on view in his solo show at Bruce Silverstein gallery in New York.

The self-portrait has links to Dada and Surrealism and other cutting-edge movements of its time – similar shots came out of the Bauhaus – and that confirms a feeling I’ve had about Outerbridge’s later color images: I think they were more complex, even defiant, than they seem at first. Read carefully, they seem to quietly undercut the verities of Rockwellian America, rather than shoring them up. (Courtesy Bruce Silverstein, NY)

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