Andre Kertesz is photography's man of the hour, and not a minute too soon. At 90, he is being celebrated in a major traveling exhibition (now at the Chicago Art Institute), a show at Susan Harder's New York gallery and, locally, in a large and immensely satisfying parade of images surveying his work from the '20s through the '80s. All this after early success in Europe, 30 years of near-obscurity in New York (while paying his bills with commercial assignments) and another two decades of building a reputation that now ranks him among a handful of the best living photographers in the United States.
Like that of most major photographers, Kertesz's fame rides on a few images--"Chez Mondrian," a masterfully orchestrated shot of an artist's house that tells volumes about the abstractionist who lived there; "Satiric Dancer," a lovable picture of a woman cavorting on a couch, her twisted pose echoed by a male statue, and some wonderfully lyrical bird's eye views of Washington Square. They're all on display, looking as good as ever, along with dozens of other pictures of nearly equal, if not surpassing, resonance. The survey covers works from his native Hungary, Paris and New York, plus "Distortions" of nudes and recent Polaroid still lifes.