Two different periods occur in American photography from the end of World War I in 1918 until the end of the second in 1945. In both, the pictures were modern in that its forms and themes drawn from the life and contemporary art. However, each of them the picture looked different, in response to different sets of social, political and economic, rather than owning their individual styles. During the economic boom that lasted from the end of World War I to the crash of the stock of Wall Street in 1929, the American photography was dominated by a modern contemporary style, characterized by bold geometries and the fascination those performed by modern materials and industrial machinery, a fascination that by European artistic avant-garde gala. During the Depression and World War II, modern and intrusive that was largely abandoned in the interests of another current documentary style, which apparently opened a window transparent about those terrible events contemporaries.
For a current understanding of interwar American photographers, we must go back in time to see what happened in the world of photography in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. From the time of the invention, in 1839, to about 1,890, only professionals and serious amateurs bother to learn the intricate skills required taking pictures, his pictures were generally realistic documents, the most common were the portraits, followed landscapes and travel photos. According to naturalist aesthetics prevailing in those days, his best works were able to collect in them the artistic satisfaction and the realistic precision, without concealing that they were photographs. Just the odd amateur, as Oscar Rejlander or Julia Margaret Cameron in England, taking photographs with the intention purely aesthetic or utilitarian purposes regardless of representation.
However, two innovations of the century had to change this placid mix of utility and art. In 1888, George Eastman introduced the first Kodak snapshot camera, capable of being used by anyone, even without any preparation to record their daily activities, following exposure, the camera was issued in the factory, where working in series, was carried out revealed and made copies. Also during the eighties of this century, created the first effective photo printing mechanical presses along with the text, which led to a widespread conduct of photographic images. In response to industrialization, commercialization and professionalization of photography representing these innovations, amateur photographers stressed the artistic qualities of his work and began to call themselves “pictorial,” to emphasize its intention to align the picture with other print media such as painting, drawing and printmaking, sharing many of the ideas and ideals of the English reformers John Ruskin and William Morris, and the aesthetic movement and Arts and Grafts, pictorial photographers easy access rejected the picture offered by Eastman Kodak. They insisted that industrialism degraded the art and threatened to strip him of all life. In protest, refused to use industrially produced photo products, but instead experimented with outdated techniques that granted your photos a traditional look, performed the exposure of the film without focus or soft targets, draw or paint on the negative ; made paper copies manually impregnated with salts of precious metals impregnated wood overlaid with colored and framed to look like drawings and engravings. In turn, his best photos are often exhibited in international exhibitions in Europe and America under the sponsorship of pictorial Clubs, the most important were the Linked Ring in England, the Photo Club de Paris and the Photo Secession of New York.
The latter was founded in 1902 by a group of American photographers led by Alfred Stieglitz. Being the most progressive among the supporters of artistic photography, Stieglitz took out its mission through the luxurious publication edited the Photo Secession between 1903 and 1917 (Camera Work), and through the Little Galleries (small gallery) of the Photo Secession, between 1905 and 1907, at 291 Fifth Avenue in New York. 1,908 Stieglitz remained faithful to the misty shades and typical pictorial themes, taken from French Impressionism last time Victorian painting and art of the century symbolist, from the time he immersed himself in the most recent art through Europe and parts of stories sent to him from Paris and fellow member of the Photo Secession, Eduard Steichen. Until the International Exhibition of Modern Art presented recent works by Picasso, Duchamp, Picabia and other avant-garde artists to the large audience in New York, Boston, Chicago … etc. Stieglitz was the most visible advocate of European modernism in America. It was he who made known to Rodin, Picasso and Matisse in Camera Work and “291”, also in part to encourage their colleagues to abandon advantaged models pictorial art in favor of other more contemporary.
Among the first American photographers who reacted to the light of that European modernity, were two young colleagues Stieglitz, Paul Strand and Charles Sheeler. Working in his Connecticut summer home during the summers of 1,915 and 1,916, Strand plunged into a series of photographic experiments, including close-ups of still lifes with cups and saucers, with the intention of investigating what cubism could offer photography. The results of this effort are among the photographs Stieglitz will publish in 1,916 and 1,917 in the last two issues of Camera Work. Sheeler, a painter who at first was introduced in the picture for economic reasons, was experiencing, in photographs taken between 1,914 and 1,917, with the ability of Cubist geometric abstraction to reduce the architectural elements of his home in Bucks County , Pa., to rigid designs. Praised by Stieglitz and assimilated by Strand and Sheeler, Cubism offered to photography not merely a formal program, but something much more important: an aesthetic justification of such intimate examination of surfaces and penetrating that the photograph could well perform.
The experiments of the handful of photographers, just before and after the First World War, later crystallized in the modern style that prevailed in the twenties, when created an image professional technique, formal and iconographic day. The intimate association of American photography with the avant-garde art, inspired by Stieglitz in the years ten, continued after the war. Embraced the European avant-garde photography: the new Russian Constructivism and German Bauhaus vision of French Cubism supplemented as a source of great art while in those forms (geometries sharp graphics) and those theories (eg putting the mechanical production craft) that formed the basis of artistic range of photography. From these avant-garde, and in clear opposition to pictorialism, modern photographers in the twenties made negative sharp focus and expanded in coated papers to better exploit the photographic gray scale, from the richest blacks to whites more luminous. Formal novelty of his work was to design a flattened space and a bold geometries achieved through curves, lines and angles acute. In selecting the topic, following the currency and held its dialogue with the everyday images that extolled in modern life, especially New York and machines.
Although clearly dominated the modern American photography in the twenties, the intention behind the use was not very consistent, over the decade we can distinguish various attitudes towards commercial applications of modern style. The latter is particularly important, as many photographers were drawn from the realm of art for art’s own elitist pictorialism, to the struggle of trade, as soon as the editorial and advertising pages of popular magazines began to rely on dazzling geometries of modern photography to distinguish as “the last” personalities and commercial projects. Although Stieglitz had worked in the import of European avant-garde modernism, retained its elitist and individualistic. Under his guidance, the American avant-garde of the twenties, lacked the political aspect that if he held his European counterpart, devoted to recent mass media. Instead, the discourse of modern American photography of the twenties remained rooted in elitism and its position of art for art, many of whom were adopted as pictorialism internalized, and this until the point that even successful of work developed for the media became dependent on his success in creating idealized images of the elite class.
The photographer who garnered more success in meeting the demands of commercial photography was Edward Steichen. Steichen had been since the decade of 1890 to 1,900, one of the leading global pictorialism, but the experiences they went through on their way through the army as a reconnaissance photographer during World War led him to leave the muddy tones pictorialism by other images of much more crisp and full of information and detail. Using this newfound descriptive power, Steichen took jobs in New York in 1,923 for the advertising agency J. Walter Tompsom and publisher Candi Nast, whose popular publications had the chic Vanity Fair and Vogue fashion magazine. Steichen created for these and other clients praised modern fantasies to celebrities, to fashion itself, and certain commercial items. Thanks to a very careful lighting and location of the models, Steichen produced images that were not only elegant, but had a graphic force that looked good on the printed page.
When choosing commercial use his talent, Steichen moved away from his close friend Stieglitz, photography was an art, but only when individuals express their unique personalities with her, for him, Steichen’s collusion with the nascent mass media invalidated the artistic potential your photo. As the commercial work of Steichen offended the aesthetic elitism Stieglitz, Charles Sheeler offended the political idealism of his partner Strand when he went to work for MW. Ayer and Sons, a Philadelphia advertising agency in 1,924 for the Candi Nast Steichen in 1926, and Ford Motor Company in 1927 (the newly opened car manufacturing plant at River Rouge, Michigan). Sheeler recovered the bold geometries and flattened space that had developed in the ten, and successfully adopted to the glorification of the machine era in American industry in an elegant presentation of the chimneys and conveyor belts of the Ford.
During the first twenty, Strand continued to explore the photographic potential of the best modern. In 1920 he began to stage a penetrating portrait made of his wife Rebecca, possibly influenced by the meticulous portrait of Georgia O’Keeffe to Stieglitz had begun three years ago. By 1922, impressed by the purity of its lines and industrial finishing, Strand photographed Akeley CAMERAS he had bought. Subsequently moved away from commercial applications of modernity, following the consequences of the interest of direct photography for the object before the camera. Strand aesthetication rejected the American currency applied to the visual experience, and instead, as politically engaged person, adopted a firm position regarding the social and political importance of what he photographed. In the thirties, worked on a documentary film for the revolutionary government of Mexico and founded the company Frontier Films along with other progressive filmmakers, with the intention of filming documentaries pro-worker and anti-fascists. After World War II, Strand made a series of books depicting landscapes and people of various countries.
Many of the best commercial photographers in the twenties pictorialism absorbed the aesthetic was taught in the Clarence H. White School of Photography in New York. Its founder, photographer Clarence White, and Stieglitz had been teammates since co-founding of the Photo Secession in 1902, but their relationship began to deteriorate into 1910 when White put into question the elitist and authoritarian leadership Stieglitz at the head of the movement pictorialism, and when Stieglitz branded as backward and at odds with modernity the White pictorialism. Having abandoned Stieglitz and the Photo Secession, White Platinum Print magazine founded in 1913 (renamed Photographic Art in 1916), the Clarence White School of Photography in 1914, and the Pictorial Photographers of America in 1916. Through all this, White argued for a photographic aesthetics more open and tolerant than that of Stieglitz, which could reconcile the aspirations of amateur and commercial photographers, as well as the most exalted and authentic artist.
White’s school contacted her students with modernity thanks to the presence in their classrooms from 1914 to 1918 of Max Weber and Dow, White students learned a kind of modern elegance then applied to the presentation of items advertising and consumer magazines.
Max Weber was more versed in Cubist painter of his time in America and also thanks to the aesthetics of Arthur Wesley Dow, a professor of art at Columbia University, whose teachings and publications (especially his book Composition 1899) proposed an artistic style derived from Japanese prints, which valued the decorative graphic simplicity.
Among White students find Paul Outerbridge, Margaret Baunke-White, Laura Gilpin and Ralph Steiner. Steiner was a student at the White from 1921 to 1922, complained after the years that the emphasis placed on design, was like a corset that could only be released much later. As a student and then as a professional in the twenties, however, the truth is that the wording was adjusted school aesthetic with a gorgeous formal compositions was by chance or built. Unlike most of his fellow students at twenty, of whom worked in advertising in magazines, Steiner was devoted to photography in public relations with clients who wished to appear as news for free. His view was that such work was more free to be devoted to advertising, because advertising had on me telling directors what to do. Steiner felt compelled to achieve a superior technical perfection in 1927, having referred to photos of Strand. A commercial use of completely different picture is what appears in the work of Man Ray, an American associated with the “Dada” in New York in the years ten, who worked in Paris in the twenties and thirties as a portraitist and fashion photographer, and as a surrealist artist. On behalf of the Compagnie Electricite di Parisiene Distribution, Man Ray made in 1931 Electricite folder, containing works that combine pictures and frames, which were pictures taken without a camera by placing objects directly on photographic paper and exposing it to light. Unlike fashion photographers and commodities, which showed tangible items that were for sale, Man Ray folder at the same time sought to give visible form to an invisible energy and show how power shapes the modern life. Stiegitz elitist modernity had its counterpart in the west coast of the hand of Edward Weston and his son Brett. From 1911 onwards, Weston worked in California as a commercial portraitist style, vaguely oriental soft target, as he received national attention in pictorial exhibitions. In the early twenties, was decanted into a modern style that combined Cubist forms soft ambient tones. Photographs made in 1922 in a modern geometric during a trip to visit Stieglitz in New York. From 1,923 to 1,926, Weston lived with the poet and photographer Tina Modotti in the post-revolutionary Mexico, its commitment to a direct photographic style, glossy paper and a daily theme, emerged and was consolidated during this period, influenced in part by his friendship with extridentista revolutionary Expressionist movement, who published some photos in their magazines. After returning to California, Weston lived a simple life on the shores of the Pacific in the town of Caramel and continued to work in a thoroughly modern style, photographing isolated subjects, such as peppers and mushrooms, with infinite attention to the sharpness and hue in tone. By 1933, Weston’s work had not only objects but also descriptions of the environments where they were, sand dunes, ocean beaches and other landscapes.
Brett Weston got a remarkable early success, having learned photography from his father in Mexico in 1925 at the age of fourteen. His father realized that Brett was making fourteen a better job than his own thirty. In 1929, Brett Weston was among the photographers represented in the prestigious American West exhibition in Stuttgart Film and Photo. Compared with the photograph of his father, Brett Weston is more abstract, use extreme hues and has more drama.
In addition to the elitism of Stieglitz and Weston, the commerciality of Steichen, Sheeler and students at the Clarence H. White and Strand political idealism, there were two more positions on the modernity of the twenties. The first was a sort of modern pictorialism hybrid, which influenced a Margrette Mather, Imogene Cunningham and Laura Gilpin. His images were gala at a time of bold forms of modernity and hermetic aestheticism and pictorialism atmospheric softness.
Mather Margrette befriended with Weston in 1912 and became his studio assistant in 1921 and 1922. Like Weston, was a notable pictorialism in ten years an Orientalist aesthetic line and asymmetrical composition parca very popular at that time in California. In the twenties, with his friend and contemporary art enthusiast William Justema, began using more contemporary formal models in their photographic exploration on the surface and form. In his photographs of about 1,930 retained remnants of its original design aesthetic Orientalist in the organization of flat space.
Imogene Cunningham began as a studio photographer in Seattle, Washington and the northern Pacific coast. Although not a member of the Photo Secession, if he knew the work of its members and, indeed, the first photographs made bore a certain resemblance to them and also with the works of English painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti prerafaelista and those of supporter of the English Arts and Grafts, William Morris. In its attempt to balance her roles as wife (the writer of etchings Roi Partridge, with whom he moved to San Francisco Bay in 1917) and as a mother and artist, during the twenties, Cunningham often was limited to shooting plants and flowers that grew near his home or that could lead there. The resulting photographs, copies of platinum in part, is boldly graphic, with dramatic contrasts of light and shadow.
After studying at the Clarence H. White School of Photograpy in 1926, Laura Gilpin returned to his native Colorado in the western United States, where he made portraits and books illustrated with his photographs while participating in international graphic exhibition halls. Like Cunningham, continued to use the preferred platinum paper by White, long after the photographers had already rejected progressive tinged softness, combined with harsh tones and rich industrial glossy. The photos in platinum Gilpin retain that first pictorialism undefined space, achieved by a smooth tonal range and reduced. However, at least partially, while exhibiting strong geometric forms out of all kinds of spatial context.
Separate Mather, Gilpin and Cunningham as examples of a modern hybrid pictorialism is a little misleading and poses a clear partition in which there were actually between them and supposedly more advanced photographers. Despite the attention given to design decorative surfaces and occasional use by Cunningham and Gilpin platinum paper, certainly places her work within the pictorialism aestheticism, his photographs are a little more tight than it had done Edward Weston recently. Even more has suggested a positive reappraisal of art is often done by women and often not considered by the decorative aspect from exploration of the past sixty performed in formerly taboo areas, referred to the decoration and design, female artists such as Judy Plaff American sculptor. Artists who wanted to include in the mainstream of art, the interest of women by manual work and decoration, activities once dismissed as insignificant domestic skills.
The final position was taken (inadvertently outside modern standards) for the countless studio photographers whose work remains largely without collecting. These candid photographers, indifferent to artistic trends, while customers might give satisfactory results, fell increasingly in the United States after World War II because the increasing accessibility to instant cameras allowed people to make their own portraits family and their own reminders of events, without having to rely on professionals. However, a commercial photographer whose business was resisted James Van Der Zee. His photographs taken in New York, especially in the black community of Harlem, between 1,916 and 1,968, give us visual evidence of a way of life that otherwise could have been asked not only by the passage of time, but that segregation racial also at that time made him invisible to the dominant white culture. Among his photographs we see Marcus Garvey, black nationalist movement leader, Moorish and Jews, parishioners of a church in Harlem.
The crack of 1,929, had an immediate impact not only on the economic welfare of the United States but also in its cultural life. The refined modern style of the twenties and luxury goods whose consumption promoted quickly ceased to be relevant in the rich lost their fortunes based on oversized stock and real estate values, and employees their jobs. The country is focused on the plight of the unemployed and the battle for economic recovery. The American citizens need to understand what was happening and the government’s need to communicate with those citizens transformed the country into a culture of image and sound inhabited by people of cinema and radio.
The documentary style with transmitting such information (whether the medium used was the cinema, painting, photography or written text) mimicked the frank and direct style of instant photography, the Americans of the thirties considered as evidence Firmware direct visual experience and therefore credible.
American photographers not only a modern left for another documentary, also withdrew from the pictorialism long put emphasis on the laborious implementation of the extensions that were shown before a live audience. In their mansions in the commercial modernity of the twenty, more and more photographers began to consider the thirty pages of magazines, books and newspapers as an ideal place for the presentation of their work. Because of this documentary style of the thirties, developed in the media and in political and social environment beyond the galleries and exhibitions, were probably closer to the spirit of European modern photographers after World War what were the photographers of the twentieth, although the latter were more consciously modern.
The effects of depression were felt later and less intensively in the west coast, then still largely agricultural, industrial cities in the east. Perhaps for this reason can be seen in the work of California photographer Ansel Adams a transitional species between modern and documentary styles. Adams studied piano when I was young, but left as a professional in 1926 to devote himself entirely to his interest in photography, born pictorialism amateur. In 1930 the growing dissatisfaction that produced the pictorialism culminates when he met Paul Strand in Tass, New Mexico and saw his negatives. Years later with Imogene Cunningham, Edward Weston and other photographers of the West Coast, founded the Reform Group 64f, which advocated a clear exploitation of the unique qualities of the medium, as opposed to the recent pictorialism style expounded by William Mortenson. The large format landscapes Adams thirties, have the meticulous perfection of the works of Weston and Strand of the twenty, now, as opposed to its abstract tendencies. Adams was more interested in an accurate visual representation of the world.
Modernity thirty documentary was especially institutionalized during the presidency of Franklin Delano Roosbelt whose economic recovery program, the New Deal involved the United States for the first time in a large-scale social planning as opposed to its strong tradition of individualistic capitalism. Administrators who ran the New Deal quickly recognized the power of photography to raise popular support in the reorientation of the ideology of the country and led teams of photographers in most programs, these teams created images that were circulated in the press local and national levels. The New Deal program that brought most talented photographers of the Farm Security Administration was responsible for assisting farmers and rural people in general. Under the direction of economist Roy Stryker, the photographic section of the FSA was more than simply to record the activities of the FSA and provided a graphic file encyclopedia covering all aspects of life in the countryside and small towns. The most famous of the photographers who worked for the FSA Striker were Walker Evans and Dorothea Lange, Arthur Rothstein and were also Marian Post Wolcott. Through publication in local newspapers and national magazines the status of American rural population became known to their urban contemporaries. Although the realistic style of those pictures, it suggests that documents were adopted without appeal as impartial and true, a recent student of the art in them has stressed that there is a deliberate attempt to form a certain image of America on its own, portraying nostalgically as real agrarian tradition and then was marginal.
Even before working for the FSA, Walker Evans and practiced a documentary style. As a friend and colleague of Berenice Abbott, Evans was living in Paris in the late twenties until he returned to the United States in 1929. Upon returning, both Evans and Abbott began photographing New York in a style that used cuboconstructivista approaches for building high-angle images geometricized strongly. In the early thirties, however, both photographers abandoned this modern style. Instead adopted other styles of documentaries, subtly transparent, that did not prevent the audience to recognize what they were seeing.
Abbott had a really unique style. Was exposed to the influence of Surrealism and other modern European currents as an assistant in Man Ray’s studio in Paris, but returned to the United States to photograph New York in emulation of the French photographer Eugene Atget, whose corpus of photographs of streets and elegant Parisian parks acquired after his death with the intention of preserving it.
Abbott photographed New York for six years the project by paying out of pocket, then went from 1,935 to 1,939, under the title Changning New York, with support from the Federal Arts Projets the New Deal, a project run by the Projets Works Administration, which was a government effort to provide work for unemployed artists during the Depression.
In addition to modeling the public face of official projects of the New Deal, the documentary style originated in the thirties to the illustrated magazines. Among the most notable are Life and Look, founded in 1936 and 1,937 respectively. Adopting the same appearance it presented the picture of the New Deal Government in collaboration with editors and photojournalists fugitives from German National Socialism, these publications news exploited the desire of Americans of that era of depression on their citizens and the efforts of government to resolve the devastating economic and social issues raised. Between Life photojournalists was Margaret Bouska White, a former student at the Clarence H. White School of Photograpy, which had published photos of American industry in the monthly magazine sister Life, Fortune, dedicated to the business of the upper class , also was W. Eugens Smitz, who tried unsuccessfully to reconcile political engagements with the editorial policy of the magazine, and Andreas Feininger was born in America. The youngest of the Feininger studied architecture, but in Sweden, where he lived from 1933 to 1939, moved to architectural photography. As an American citizen unable to find work in Germany then moved to the United States and worked for Life from 1,943 to 1,962. Look at Arthur Rothstein was also entered into the magazine after leaving the FSA
Throughout the thirties, the daily newspaper also aimed at the graphic. Partly in response to competition accounted for the success of the tabloid newspapers illustrated the use of photography in American newspapers on the type of loose leaf paper, increased by two thirds in the thirties, reaching a saturation point in 1938 when thirty-eight percent of the advertising space not metropolitan newspapers, was dedicated to photography. But few of the photographers who worked in the daily press gained local recognition. As a noteworthy exception to Arthur Felling, a photographer based in New York dedicated to issues of crime. Felling called himself “Weegee”, a phonetic translation of “Jaws”, the brand name on the board that was to receive telepathic messages. Weegee, who worked on his own, was so often the first to arrive at the scene of the crime in killings and other horrific cases such as accidents, etc. .., than their competitors came to believe that he possessed some sort of mystical power of divination, before assuming that, as it turned out, enjoyed the only radio license granted to a police photographer. Weegee had a special ability to capture in a bend of his huge camera release, the horror of the events recorded in the faces of the onlookers.
Photographers also disposed of other means of publication in the thirties and forties. In the last three in particular, the popularity of documentary photography type FSA gave rise to a market of mass-marketed books, which mixed images and text. Among those who enjoyed the most successful are “You and Paul Taylor” and “Let us now praise famous man,” Walker Evans and James Ager. While these books were joint efforts of photographers and writers, Wright Morris entered the world of photography in 1938, with the ability to create real images with the same photographic realism that stemmed from his descriptive prose. The first of his two books, “The inhabitans”, completed in 1942 and published in 1946, contains text and images on a road trip, alone across the United States, which went through the strange south before reaching the Midwest and western parts of the country more familiar to him. For his second book, “The Home Place” (1947), Morris returned to the stage of childhood, the state of the Great Plains, Nebraska, in the north-center of the Union, where he photographed with disciplined love their farms uncle and his recently deceased neighbor.
In addition to the founding of Life and Look, thirty were witnessed in the publishing business, the revitalization of the fashion magazine Harpers Bazaar, Hearts corporation, and the recruitment of Camel Snow as director in 1932 and Alexey Brodovitch art director two years later. Under his creative leadership, the magazine promoted to Robert Frank, Man Ray, Richard Avedon and Irving Penn as fashion photographers, giving them incredible freedom and a substantial remuneration to define their own approaches to fashion. Another member of Harpers Bazaar Louise Dahl-Wolf was formed as a painter in California and was introduced to photography in the twenties after meeting the pictorialism Anne Brigman in San Francisco. Having started in 1936, Dahl-Wolf worked photographing fashion, especially swimwear. Subsequently, intolerable judging the changes in the magazine following the retirement of Snow and Brodovitch, retired in 1957. His departure coincided with the emergence of a state of opinion of the photographers in the sense that the growing corporate structure of the magazines, was contrary to the creative freedom they had brought them.
Lisette Model also made photographs for Harpers Bazaar. Born in Vienna, left in 1937 to go first to France and then New York, where in 1940, was hired by Ralph Steiner, who was then working as photo director of a daily newspaper and the following year, took Brodovitch services . Using graphic images consistent and socially satirical, and also with his teaching work at the New School for Social Research in New York, begun in 1950, Model had a great influence on the younger generation of photographers, especially in Diane Arbus.
During the Second World War, the photojournalism magazine continued its role as a reporter by introducing into American homes images of the activities of its troops abroad. But even before the war was evidence that some photographers were dissatisfied of documentary photography, and considered their unbiased reporting requirements or even complacent was over-restrictive to your own creativity.
Frank Cappa, which would at that time one of the best examples of photojournalism through your pictures on the Spanish Civil War, played a major role in creating the most stunning images of the horror of war. Later, along with other photographers of the same size as Cartier Brenson, would create one of the most important agencies for the quality of its contents in the second half of the century, the Magnum agency. “If your pictures are not going well is because you are not close enough,” was one of his most famous, and perhaps the cause of his death years later.