Walker Lewis writes about a Feininger photograph of African Sculpture for LIFE magazine

Walker Lewis writes about a Feininger photograph of African Sculpture for LIFE magazine

In 1883, LIFE Magazine was founded as a Manhattan-based tabloid. Mostly focused on humor and Broadway, LIFE spent 53 years as a rag with ~250,000 issues in daily circulation. In 1936, Henry Luce bought the magazine and transformed it into a weekly with a strong focus on photojournalism. Its first issue was a bargain, 50 pages of pictures sold for only a dime. LIFE would go on to become one of the most-purchased weekly magazines in America, and throughout the 1940s (its peak in popularity) it would sell over thirteen million copies a week.

While LIFE gained popularity because of its unique, photojournalistic style, it ended up becoming an American institution-- a magazine where all could see for themselves how the other half of the world lived. By purchasing a subscription to LIFE, average Americans could live vicariously through the eyes of famous photographers: Alfred Eisenstaedt, Margaret Bourke-White or Andreas Feininger, to name a few. Feininger would take one of the magazine's most notable photographs: (as well as one of the best known pictures of the 1940’s) “The Kiss”, which showcased just how high emotions were running on V-J day, the day Japan surrendered -- ending World War II.

LIFE provided more than just pictures of current events; photographers were hired to bring pictures of the world to American Households. When Andreas Feininger went to Africa in 1951, he was able to bring a small slice of life back to Americans with his photos. One picture, simply titled, “African Sculpture”, displayed a Tutsi religious totem, used in ceremonies to represent the patriarchs of the family. Feininger used LIFE, and his camera, to show a part of African life to thirteen million Americans, a part which most of America never would have seen without him.

African Sculpture by Andreas Feininger

December 22, 1951

7.5” x 9.5”

14 x 11 x 1 in black frame, arrives with clear plexiglass instead of glass, for safe shipping.

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