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Albok, John

American, Born Hungary, 1894-1982
  • 1931
    Gelatin Silver on Photo Paper
    8 x 8.75 in. (Paper Size)
    Listing no. 726
    NOW: $900.00
  • 1947
    Gelatin Silver on Photo Paper
    8.25 x 7.75 in. (Sight Size)
    Listing no. 734
    NOW: $1,500.00
  • 1934
    Gelatin Silver on Photo Paper
    10.5 x 10.75 in. (Paper Size)
    Listing no. 730
    NOW: $2,950.00
  • 1932
    Gelatin Silver on Photo Paper
    12 x 11.5 in. (Paper Size)
    Listing no. 690
    NOW: $2,750.00
  • 1938
    Gelatin Silver on Paper
    11 x 9 in. (Sight Size)
    Listing no. 733
    NOW: $1,250.00

About this Artist

John Albok, a Hungarian immigrant, maintained a livelihood as a master tailor on Madison Avenue in New York City for nearly sixty years while pursuing avocations of photography, cinematography, music and painting. In his lifetime, Albok created over 16,000 photographs in the confines of his tailor shop, and was the subject of hundreds of reviews, tributes publications and awards.

John Albok was a self-taught photographer and print maker whose prolific career spanned the years of the Depression through the recovery years of the Roosevelt administration. Albok’s mastery of photography was his ability to capture on film the character and feeling of a place, the essence of a moment, and the dignity and humility of a person no matter how impoverished or downtrodden. He is acknowledged as a preeminent chronicler of his time, and his work is found in the permanent collections of major museums worldwide.

ARTIST STATEMENT

"I carry a camera on every off moment. The people of the city, young or old, rich or poor, are my subjects. The flowers, the trees, the ever-changing beauties that dwell in the sky, lovers in the park… the dream of my childhood. My images of the people are unaffected, many times laced with a tragic sense of life that speaks for itself. I like the freedom of selecting my subject matter at will and then to create them in the manner of the artist. Living life is a great art. The more we cultivate it, the better it will be for ourselves and our children." John Albok, 1979

Resume

JOHN ALBOK

1894 Born Janos Albok, Munkacs, Hungary
1982 Died New York City, New York

1904 Works in father’s tailor shop at age eight
1907 Trades binoculars for Kodak Brownie box camera.
1911 Enrolls in school for master tailoring, Debrecen, Hungary
1917 Inducted into Hungarian Army. Photogrphs prison life
1921 Emigrates to America at age twenty-six and settles in New York City
1923 Establishes John Albok-Merchant Tailor on Madison Avenue, NYC
1929 Wins first prize in the Eastman Kodak Amateur Picture Contest
1930 Forced to close tailor shop at onset of Depression.
1932 Reopens tailor shop, which doubles as an art gallery. In the evenings behind closed curtains it becomes a social club for artists, musicians and writers.
1933 Triple Prize Winner of “Daily Snapshot Contest”, sponsored by Chrysler Tower Corporation and the Daily Mirror
1938 First one-person exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York.
1938 Opens “World’s Fair Studio”, a portrait studio.
Purchases a 16mm Bell and Howell movie camera.
1939 Invited to exhibit and lecture to The Rockefeller Center Camera Club at Radio City Music Hall. Receives a standing ovation.
Begins documentation of the New York World’s Fair which results in a portfolio of 200 photographs made with a medium format, twin lens reflex camera. [The portrait of John Albok on the home page, taken by an unknown photographer, depicts Albok at the World’s Fair with this camera.]
1950 Continues selling portraiture, along with tailoring through 1960
1960 CBS discovers Albok’s work and produces a documentary entitled, “John Albok’s New York”, which receives an Emmy nomination and a Cine Golden Eagle Award in Washington, DC.
1966 One person exhibition, THROUGH THE EYE OF A NEEDLE, organized by CBS for the International Photography Fair at the New York Coliseum
1966 Group exhibition, CAMERA OUT OF DOORS, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
1973 One-person exhibition, NEW YORK CITY DURING THE ROOSEVELT YEARS 1933-1945, at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, Hyde Park, New York
1980 Two-person exhibition, NEW YORK IN THE THIRTIES-FACES AND FACADES, with Berenice Abbot organized by the Museum of the City of New York, debuts in Berlin
1981 Retires from tailor shop due to failing health
1982 Retrospective exhibition, TAILORED IMAGES opens at the Museum of the City of New York featuring 140 photographs. Albok dies one day before the opening of this tribute exhibition. He was eulogized nationwide by Charles Kuralt.


SELECTED COLLECTIONS

Amon Carter Museum of Western Art, Fort Worth, Texas
Amerika-Haus, U.S. Cultural Center, Berlin, Germany
American-Hungarian Heritage Center, New Brunswick, New Jersey
Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts
Columbia Broadcasting Systems Archives, New York, NY
Central Park Conservancy, New York, NY
El Museo del Barrio, New York, NY
The Fifth Avenue Public Library, New York, NY
Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, Hyde Park, New York
Getty Museum, Malibu, California
Joseph E. Seagram & Sons, Inc, New York, NY
Magyar Munkasmozgalmi Muzeum, Budapest, Hungary
Metropolitan Museum of Art, , New York, NY
Museum of the City of New York, , New York, NY
Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Houston, Texas
The National Soccer Hall of Fame, Oneonta, NY
The New York Camera Club, , New York, NY
The New York Historical Society, , New York, NY
New York University, Tamiment Library, , New York, NY
Public Broadcasting Service Archive, , New York, NY
Research Institute of Scripps Clinic, LaJolla, California
Rice University, Department of Art and History, Houston, Texas
Rye Art Center, Rye, NY
Swedish Television, Stockholm, Sweden
University of Wyoming Archive of Contemporary History, Laramie, Wyoming


SELECTED EXHIBITIONS

1938 FACES OF THE CITY, Museum of the City of New York
1939 HUNGARIAN PHOTOGRAPHIC EXHIBIT AND CONCERT, The Hungarian Reference Library,NYC, group show with Andre Ketesz, Andre de Diene and Martin Munkacsi
1939 Rockefeller Center Camera Club, Radio City Music Hall, NY
1941 NEWSPAPERS NATION SNAPSHOT AWARDS, National Geographic Society, Washington DC
NEW YORK HERALD TRIBUNE AMATEUR PHOTOGRAPH CONTEST, Radio City Music Hall
1944 New York Public Library, Seward Park Branch, NY
1952 Museum of the City of New York, photographs from the museum’s permanent collection
1966 THROUGH THE EYE OF A NEEDLE, International Photography Fair, New York Coliseum
CAMERA OUT OF DOORS, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
1973 NEW YORK CITY DURING THE ROOSEVELT YEARS 1933-1945, at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, Hyde Park, New York
1976 THE HUNGARIAN CHRONICLER, Magyar Munkasmozgalmi Muzeum, Budapest, Hungary
1977 Pratt Institute School of Art and Design
1980 NEW YORK IN THE THIRTIES-FACES AND FACADES, Amerika Haus, Berlin, Germany, two-person exhibit with Berenice Abbott
1981 10TH ANNIVERSARY EXHIBIT, Soho Photo Gallery, NYC, group exhibition
1982 TAILORED IMAGES. retrospective exhibition, Museum of the City of New York
THROUGH THE EYE OF A NEEDLE, International Photography Fair, New York Coliseum
VINTAGE PHOTOGRAPHS, Camera Club of New York
JOHN ALBOK-NEW YORK CITY-THE DEPRESSION YEARS, Daniel Wolf inc
1983 SPOTLIGHT SHOW, Soho Photo Gallery, NYC, group exhibition
1984 SIGNS OF THE TIME- STOREFRONTS AND BILLBOARDS, Joseph E. Seagram and Sons
1985 THE INTERNATIONAL SCENE, National Soccer Hall of Fame, Oneonta, NY
1988 ON BEING HOMELESS, Museum of the City of New York
1989 REVISITING THE NEW YORK WORLD’S FAIR, The New York Historical Society, group show
1990 THE CORNER SHOW, Central Park Conservancy, NYC
1991 THE AMERICAN DREAM, MYTH AND REALITY, Rye Arts Center, Rye, NY,
1994 JOHN ALBOK-AN AMERICAN LEGACY, Photographic Archives Gallery, Dallas, Texas
1995 FOR THE CHILDREN, Photographic Archives Gallery, Dallas, Texas


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