Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Gita Lenz, Project Begins

copyright Gita Lenz

Last week, I met with my interns for the first time, to begin the project of conserving and organizing the work of photographer Gita Lenz. Below, is a very loose chronology of her life as I understand it so far. There are some large holes but right now we are trying to read through old correspondence and notes and pay stubs, etc. in hopes of pulling together a better understanding of Gita's life.

Anyway, here is the Chronology:

Gita Lenz, Photographer, Writer

Born Gertrude Maslow October 9, 1910 to Louis Maslow (seamstress) and Yetta Youkeles (piano teacher), in New York City. Parents immigrants from Ukraine. One younger brother who later died in car accident in Los Angeles (date unknown).

Married George Zoul, a Czech immigrant, in mid 1930’s. He was a communist and later joined the Lincoln Brigade with whom he went to Spain in late 30’s to fight against Franco. He was shot in combat and was buried in Spain.

Married Richard Lenz in 1940. Marriage lasted 18 months or so.

Moved to 65 Carmine, in the East Village, in 1940. Lived there until October 2001.

Some correspondence with Mel Most (died 1990) a foreign correspndent and PR agent.

Friends with:

Julien Beck, founder of the Living Theatre
Bayard Rustin, a prominent civil rights and worker activist
William Packard, poet and playwright, founder of NY Quarterly
Aaron Siskind, photographer

Part of Brooklyn Museum photography show titled ‘The Third Eye’ in 1952
Part of MOMA ‘The Family of Man’ show
Published in ‘Modern Photography’ monthly periodical in a few issues early 1950’s.

Held odd temp jobs entire working career. I think was an officer with “NY Quarterly” from inception in the early 1970’s Wrote poetry and studied under William Packard in 60’s / 70’s.

Was interested in socialism and anarchism as it applied in the 30’s through 1960’s.

Only known travels were to Mexico in 1960’s (?)


Anonymous said...

Very cool G, glad to see you are making some headway with this project.

Gary M

Anonymous said...

Very cool G, glad to see you are making some headway with this project.

Gary M

Anonymous said...

I think you've found a stellar jewel.
Can't wait to read more as this epic unfolds.

beck said...

This is getting more and more interesting by the page. Superb work once again, Gordon. Hmm, she appears to have been much too young to have met Alfred Stieglitz and possibly having her things published in his, Camera Work, quarterly. It was founded by Stieglitz in 1903 and the last issue was printed in 1917.

Speaking of Camera Work, there was a gentleman on Antiques Roadshow not too long ago, possibly a repeat, where he possessed 20 issues of this really fantastic photographic journal, that was appraised at $60-90,000. Some of the photographs shown on the show looked extraordinary as some were printed on Japanese tissue paper.

Here's an interesting link showing some words from the different authors and editors from that magazine, etc.


..and, you can also purchase a paperback of Camera Work. Alfred Stieglitz. The Complete Illustrations. 1903-1917 by Pam Roberts, here:


alliedog said...

Fascinating. Looking forward to more. Kudos to you and your interns.

biene said...

Hey Gordon,

I work for the museum "The Family of Man" in Clervaux, Luxembourg, and I was wondering if you could pass me the new adress of Gita, since we might need it for any copyright issus....thank you