Caption: An afternoon at the Libermans’, 1963. Left to right, Lawrence Alloway, Beatrice Leval, Barnett Newman, Alexander Liberman, Sylvia Sleigh, Robert Motherwell, and Annalee Newman. Liberman’s ever-present Leica camera is on the table. The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, (2000.R.19). © J. Paul Getty Trust.

Caption: An afternoon at the Libermans’, 1963. Left to right, Lawrence Alloway, Beatrice Leval, Barnett Newman, Alexander Liberman, Sylvia Sleigh, Robert Motherwell, and Annalee Newman. Liberman’s ever-present Leica camera is on the table. The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, (2000.R.19). © J. Paul Getty Trust.

by Emmabeth Nanol, library assistant in Special Collections Cataloging at the Getty Research Institute

Co-published with The Iris, the online magazine of the Getty.

The Getty Research Institute recently partnered with the Artstor Digital Library to digitize and make available approximately 1,500 selections from the Alexander Liberman photography archive, from the series “Artists and Personalities.” These selections from the archive, which holds nearly 150,000 items, were inspired by Liberman’s publications, most notably The Artist in His Studio. The images are available now both via Artstor and the GRI’s digital collections.

A prolific photographer since his childhood, Liberman enthusiastically identified with the candid documentary style of the 35mm camera and its grainy aesthetic—almost all of the images in the archive were captured using 35mm. He admired the camera’s journalistic aesthetic, its soft focus, and how it disintegrated background details.