William Mortensen (1897 - 1965)

Curated by Brenden Walls for the DARK MOFO Festival in Tasmania
Salamanca Arts Centre, Hogarth, Tasmania, Australia.

 

William Mortensen "L'Amour" c. 1930 sold





William Mortensen (1897 - 1965) "Caprice Vanois" circa 1924 - 26
Manipulated photograph, Unique Print. private collection





Willim Mortensen (1897 - 1965) Mary of Magdala (Dorothy Cumming) 1926.
Manipulated photograph, Unique Print. please inquire for pricing and availability

        


William Mortensen (1897 - 1965) "Witch on Broom" c. 1928 - 1930
Manipulated photograph, Unique Print. private collection
 
        

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The Devil's Photographer: William Mortensen & Hollywood (feat West of Zanzibar) (trailer) from Cinefamily on Vimeo.

 

monstersandmadonnas from stephen romano on Vimeo.

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William Mortensen is featured in the Museum Of Everything's exhibition at 
The Museum of Old and New in Tasmania opening June 10th 2017 


     

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THE WORKS OF WILLIAM MORTENSEN WERE FEATURED AT SCOPE ART FAIR NEW YORK 
MARCH 2 - 5 2017 AT THE METROPOLITAN PAVILION      

continue to full article


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The works of WILLIAM MORTENSEN were also featured  at 
the 25th annual OUTSIDER ART FAIR in New York January 2017.

 

William Mortensen at the 25th Outsider Art Fair in New York 2017 Stephen Romano Gallery's booth.

 

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The works of WILLIAM MORTENSEN were also featured 
at Morbid Anatomy Museum in the exhibition "OPUS HYPNAGOGIA" 
in Brooklyn NY  July - October 2015.
      

Stephen Romano, Joe Coleman and the works of William Mortensen at Morbid Anatomy Museum 2015      

 

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William Mortensen was also featured in a one person exhibition at 
STEPHEN ROMANO GALLERY BROOKLYN NY OCTOBER 15 - DECEMBER 30, 2014 .
read the review by Claire Voon in Hyperallergic
http://hyperallergic.com/157037/william-mortensen/

 

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William Mortensen "The Initiation of a Young Witch" c. 1924  private collection.

 

William Mortensen "The Old Hag" c. 1924      private collection     
 

William Mortensen "Myrdith Monaghan" circa 1926 
please inquire for pricing and availability .




Willim Mortensen "Fra Junipero Serra" 1926
please inquire for pricing and availability .





William Mortensen "Untitled (Red Head in Feathered Hat)" circa 1959
please inquire for pricing and availability .





William Mortensen "A Pirate and His Trove", circa 1930
please inquire for pricing and availability .




William Mortensen "Strenght, Wisdom and Fortitude", circa 1958
Vintage Metal Chrome print, please inquire for pricing and availability . 

William Mortensen (1897 - 1923) "SAPPHO" circa 1924 - 26 
please inquire for pricing and availability .
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William Mortensen "Balphagor and the Lost Souls in Hell" c 1926 - 1928 
Manipulated Photograph, please inquire for pricing and availability .

 

William Mortensen "An Indian Woman" circa 1926 -28, 
please inquire for pricing and availability .

 

 

William Mortensen "Mediation" series of of four photographs, 
please inquire for pricing and availability .

 

William Mortensen "Circe" 1930 Silver Print sold

 

 

 

An extraordianry William Mortensen suite of 6 portraits of Mona Maris.
Mona Maris (November 7, 1903 – March 23, 1991) was an Argentine film actress who was born in Buenos Aires. 
Her Hollywood film career began with the 1925 movie The Apache.From 1931 until 1941 she starred in 19 Spanish-language versions of successful 
American pictures, which were produced by the Fox FilmCompany. 
Maris also appeared in seven English dialogue motion pictures for three studios. While in Hollywood, she worked with Buster KeatonGilbert RolandHumphrey BogartMary PickfordLeslie HowardCary GrantBela Lugosi and Victor Mature to name a few.
Maris remained active at age 81, in the role of "a disturbed, broken-hearted grandmother" in the film Camila (1984), which was described as 
"the most successful Argentine film in decades."

 

 

PORTRAITS OF MONA MARIS 
six (6) gelatin silver matte double-weight 11 in. x 14 in. (one borderless 10 1/2 in. x 13 1/2 in.) 
master prints with stenciled screen of Mona Maris by William Mortensen. 
The only master set test sequence of a single pose in the Mortensen archive. 
From the personal collection of William Mortensen, and the William Mortensen Estate.
please inquire for pricing and availability .


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Witches and Peasants by Eve Khan

 

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William Mortensen's 20th Century Photos Are 
Some Of The Most Beautifully Terrifying Images Ever Made

 

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"A Pictorial Compendium of Witchcraft" July 2014
"Monsters and Madonnas" August 2014

 

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Untitled c 1926 - 1927
         from the series "A Pictorial Compendium of Witchcraft
sold
The Mark of the Borgia, ca. 1930 
sold

 

           Chained Nude With Monk c 1926 - 1927 
           from the series "A Pictorial Compendium of Witchcraft"
sold

 

           Nude with Demon 1926 - 1927 
           from the series "A Pictorial Compendium of Witchcraft"
sold
 

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click on images to enlarge
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William Mortensen (1897 - 1965) was an American Photographer, primarily known for his Hollywood portraits in the 1920s-1940s in the pictorialist style.

"Ansel Adams called him ‘the Antichrist’ and wanted him written out of history. But William Mortensen’s grotesque photographs of death, nudity and torture and are now having their day..
..Mortensen’s methods often made it hard to distinguish whether the results were photographs or not. He used traditional printmaking techniques, such as bromoiling, and developed many of his own. He would create composite images, scratch, scrape and draw on his prints, then apply a texture that made them look like etchings, thereby disguising his manipulations. Consequently, every print was unique. Ultimately, Mortensen’s aim was to create something that, for all intents and purposes, appeared to be a photograph, yet portrayed scenes so fantastic they caused wonder and astonishment in the viewer.


..His love of the fantastic and the grotesque was, then, partly an outward expression of his love to shock, but it had another purpose: by giving form to such emotions as fear and hatred, Mortensen, a Christian Scientist, believed “we are enabled to lessen their power over us”. He added: “When the world of the grotesque is known and appreciated, the real world becomes vastly more significant.”
..It was these kinds of ideas that so angered Adams and his Group f/64 brethren devoted to photography that depicted a pure, unmediated reality. This began a spirited debate with Mortensen within the pages of the magazine that became ever more vitriolic. However, Adams did not stop there, suggesting in a personal letter to Mortensen that he “negotiate oblivion”. When fellow photographer Edward Weston wrote telling of his excitement at photographing a “fresh corpse”, Adams replied: “My only regret is that the identity of said corpse is not our Laguna Beach colleague.”


..The critics Beaumont Newhall and his wife Nancy held the same view: Beaumont consciously excluded Mortensen from his grandiosely titled 1949 book The History of Photography, From 1839 to the Present Day. Their distaste would not even allow them to acknowledge Mortensen’s mastery of his craft. Ultimately though, for all the griping of Adams and f/64, it turns out that Mortensen was the true modernist all along, not them. For today, we are surrounded by images of the fantastic and unreal.

PULSE ART FAIR NYC 2013
Mortensen, Oddfellows Angels, Kris Kuksi, Cellarius at  
METRO SHOW NEW YORK Jan 2013.

 

William Mortensen,  METRO SHOW NEW YORK Jan 2014. sold

Charles Dellschau, William Mortensen,  METRO SHOW NEW YORK Jan 2014.

 

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William Mortensen The Command To Look
PDF version 
A Pictorial Compendium of Witchcraft 
WILLAIM MORTENSEN 1897 - 1965
published by Stephen Romano Gallery 2014
PDF version 

 

 

Monsters and Madonnas a book of methods
WILLIAM MORTENSEN 
PDF version 
 

 

 

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