Arthur Siegel

1913 - 1978 · United States

Artist biography

Exploring the art of photography for its true potential, Arthur Siegel transformed the practice of the documentary photograph into its own intimate art form. Simple yet dramatic, Siegel embarked on an exploration of photographic media in pursuit of the ultimate power of light.

Starting out as a purely documentary photographer, Siegel slowly embraced the trends of modern expression as the century progressed. He experimented with the photogram process in the 1970s and explored the potential of combination printing as part of his undeniable fascination with the importance of illumination.

Born in Detroit in 1913, Siegel attended both the University of Michigan and Wayne State University. In 1937, Siegel was lauded by the receipt of a New Bauhaus scholarship that afforded him study that year in Chicago, Illinois. It was during his time there that he was able to steep himself in the conceptual applications of the Bauhaus aesthetic. He would return in 1945 as head of the photography department at the Institute of Design in Chicago (soon after renamed the Illinois Institute of Technology). He resigned in 1949 in hopes of returning to his dynamic role as a freelance photographer for major publications; in 1971 he assumed his post in Chicago once more, serving as the photography department chair until his death in 1978.

Arthur Siegel

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