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Louis Stettner (American)



Who was photographer Louis Stettner?

Louis Stettner was an American photographer best known for his streetscapes, architectural images, and portraits that often portrayed New York and Paris. Different from many of his peers, Stettner was considered something of a pioneer among photographers, using his high aesthetic eye when capturing the every-day life of the city. Stettner’s photography received many honors in his lifetime. In 1950 he was named Life’s top new Photographer. In 1975 he won the much-revered First Prize from the esteemed Pravda World Contest.

His work features prominently in many museums and art galleries around the world. Some of the biggest include The Art Institute of Chicago, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, LACMA, MoMA, The Musee de l’Elysee in Paris and the Smithsonian. After he died in 2016, Stettner leaves a legacy of beautiful, haunting imagery that manages to allure as it arrests. His work is truly one of a kind.

What kind of art did Louis Stettner make?

Louis Stettner is best known for his photographs of streetscapes, portraits, and other architectural images of New York and Paris of the 20th century. Stettner spent much of his life documenting these two cities, framing the mundane or everyday with an eye for unexpected beauty. His work in the Photo League of New York in the 1940s is considered iconic, and his subsequent time in Paris is still collected voraciously today. Stettner was also a cultivator of others' art, he helped popularize great photographers like Doisneau, Brassai, and Boubat with a larger audience. Later in life, Stettner would focus on art education, teaching at Brooklyn College, Queens College, and the Cooper Union.

How did painter Louis Stettner get started?

Louis Stettner was born in Brooklyn, one of four children. His father was a craftsman, a cabinet maker who Louis was expected to follow into the family trade. While learning this profession as a boy, Stettner made enough money to afford his photography supplies, soon after he was given a box camera as a present. He frequented the MoMA with his family, falling in love with art soon after. In 1940, Stettner decided to enlist in the US Army, becoming a combat photographer in Europe at the tender age of 18. Later he would be sent to the Pacific theater, shooting photographs in New Guinea, the Philippines, and Japan. After he returned from the war, he joined the famed Photo League of New York. He visited Paris soon after and became enamored with the city. New York and Paris would continue to be his photographic muses for the rest of his life.

How much are Louis Stettner's art pieces worth?

Louis Stettner’s photography can be worth anywhere from hundreds to tens of thousands of dollars depending upon the piece. Because of his atmospheric imagery and popular subject matter (New York and Paris) his work is in high demand by many collectors. The most ever paid (on record) for a Louis Stettner gelatin silver print is $8,125.00 for the piece Lower Manhattan (1979) which sold on April 6th, 2019. It was sold by Heritage Auctions. Stettner’s work is extremely popular for its aesthetics, but also as a document of another time. These pieces resonate with many collectors and are frequently in demand.

Where to buy Louis Stettner paintings and photos for sale?

See the works for sale below. Why buy from Heritage? Art buyers feel confident because our experts know the market and put careful valuations on the artwork for sale. We make the bidding process easier to help you expand your art collection.

How to value Louis Stettner paintings and photographs?

The best way to value art is to compare past auction prices for similar works. View past sale prices below. When you’re ready to sell, contact Heritage Auctions to request an auction estimate of the likely selling price at auction. If you need a formal written appraisal for estate planning or insurance, please contact our Appraisal Services Department.

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