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Lerner, Nathan, 1913-1997



Nathan Lerner (1913-1997) was one of the first scholarship students of the New Bauhuas in Chicago, enrolling in 1936. Before attending the New Bauhaus he studied painting at the National Academy of Art and the Art Institute of Chicago. There he turned to photography, creating Constructivist images involving photograms and other methods. In 1939 he became assistant to Gyorgy Kepes, the head of the school's light workshop. After serving in the Navy in WWII, he returned to the school and became Education Director in 1946 after Moholy-Nagy's death. Kepes left the Institute of Design in 1949 to open a design firm. Lerner was a professor of design philosophy at the University of Illinois from 1966-1977.

Lerner areas of focus included Chicago immigrant neighborhoods circa 1930, Maxwell Street (Chicago), and photographs. He invented the Lerner Photograph Machine, the Smoke Chamber, and the Light Box. He was the co-author of The Creative Mind with Gyorgy Kepes. A restrospective exhibit of Lerner's work was held at the Illinois Art Gallery in 1997.

Found in 3 Collections and/or Records:

Chicago Bauhaus: Past, Present and Future collection, 1974

Identifier: 008.03.03
Description of the Collection Materials related to a one-day seminar concerning the Institute of Design, titled Chicago Bauhaus: Past, Present and Future held at Illinois Institute of Technology on May 11, 1974. Includes program information and invitation, tear sheets and press clippings of pre-program publicity, and biographical information about program presenters including the following: Hans M. Wingler (photo included), Gyorgy Kepes (photo included), Konrad Wachsmann (includes photocopy of article from AIA Journal),...
Dates: 1974

Institute of Design Photography Oral History Project, 2011

Identifier: 008.05.01
Description of the Collection

Twenty-three video interviews with Institute of Design alumni regarding their experiences in the photography program. The interviewees discuss fellow students and instructors such as Arthur Siegel, Aaron Siskind, Garry Winogrand, Harry Callahan, Nathan Lerner, Frederick Sommer, and others. The interviews were recorded on Sunday, May 1, 2011 at the Stephen Daiter Gallery, Chicago, IL. The collection includes 23 interviews, 3 essays, 3 photographs and a guestbook.

Dates: 2011

Nathan Lerner photographs, 1935-1980

Identifier: 038.01.44
Content Description

Photographic prints, including prints made by Nathan Lerner of photographs from his time as an Institute of Design student and faculty member, as well as collaborative photographs with Henry Holmes Smith printed by Smith's son, Theodore R.M. Smith. Also included are 12 oversized reprints from a Chicago Cultural Center exhibit of Lerner's work and a single print of a photograph by Institute of Design alumnus Ishimoto Yasuhiro.

Dates: 1935-1980; Majority of material found within 1935-1946

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Paul V. Galvin Library

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