Stettner Louis
Paris, la seine
Stettner Louis
Chez Pierre

Louis Stettner

About the artist

1922 — 2016

Louis Stettner was an American humanist photographer known for his portraiture and street photography in his native New York, and in Paris, where he settled in later life. Gifted a box camera at thirteen, Stettner would discover a passion for art visiting museums including New York's Met, going on to study photography and cinema in Paris. His experiences during WWII would leave a great impact on Stettner: he stated that "How they [his fellow military men] successfully fought against fascism has given me a faith in human beings that has never left me."

He concentrated his focus on ordinary working people in everyday scenarios, capturing moments both of struggle and of resilience and triumph, always with an empath's eye. In 1947, Stettner was comissioned to take portraits of several icons of the humanist movement in France, including Doisneau, Boubat, Masclet and his personal hero, Brassaï. He would go on to work commercially, shoot postwar street scenes extensively, become a lecturer, and write columns and essays on the topic of photography, in later years also branching out into sculpture and painting.

From 1990, Stettner moved full-time to Paris, and was awarded the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government in 2001. Prolific until the end of his life, Stettner had a distinctly French joie de vivre and, influenced by many of the twentieth-century greats, lived to see himself become one. He died in 2016, having been exhibited everywhere from the Whitney Museum of American Art to the Centre Pompidou. 

Technical information

Image 1: Paris, La Seine. 1928

Image 2: Chez Pierre, 1991.
Size: 34 x 34,8 cm