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George Maillard Kesslere

Time Period: 1921-1952
Location: 11 W. 46th Street, 44 East 50th Street, Manhattan, NYC

“Kesslere devoted his photographic art to theatrical portraiture and fashion. Trained as a painter, he pursued a parallel career as a fine artist, excelling in pastels. In the mid-1920s following the lead of Orval Hixon and M. I. Boris, he developed a style of vignette photography in which a portrait bust would float disembodied in pictorial space coalescing out of a drawn rendering of the sitter. The success of these mixed media portraits led others, for instance Hal Phyfe, John De Mirjian, even Irving Chidnoff to experiment with the style, leading to a moment in 1926-27 when a distinct New York style of art portraiture prevailed Even in the later 1930s, when a straight style of depiction became standard, Kesslere's images were so heavily retouched that they seemed graphic rather than photographic. He signed his portraits: G. Maillard Kesslere, B.P.”
© David S. Shields

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