Paul Himmel

Paul Himmel was born 1914 in New Haven. His parents were emigrants form Ukraine. 1922 the Himmel family move to Coney Island and open America's first vegetarian restaurant. Summer 1923 Paul meets Lillian Bassman for the first time, in 1935 they are married.


Starts teaching himself photography


Finishes his degree in Science and starts teaching


Marries Lillian Bassman


Undertakes trip to Mexico with Lillian. The resulting pictures are shown in the exhibition along the 'Pan American Highway'


Starts working as a professional photographer


Starts studying at the New School under Brodovitch and enrols in graphic journalism


Starts his first fashion shootings for Harper's Bazaar under the patronage of Lillian Bassman and also works for Vogue. Soon he is one of the few photographers working for both magazines. All negatives of this time were destroyed.


Disillusioned with the way photography is moving away from journalistic work to commercialism, Himmel works more and more on his own projects. His series on circus, boxers, and ballet start evolving


Exhibition of his dance images at the Asia House in New York


His book 'ballet in action' is released with an extensive foreword by George Balanchine, choreographer of the New City Ballet.


Edward Steichen curates the famous exhibition 'the Family of man'. For MOMA, NY. Paul Himmel's images are included


Paul and Lillian move to their new studio an old carriage house where they still live today.


Paul Himmel gives up working as a photographer and starts a degree in psychotherapy. For more than twenty-five years he works as a psychotherapist


New York Galleries Howard Greenberg and James Danziger show Paul Himmel's work after more than 25 years and the shows become an instant success. A book on his work is also released.




Zwei Leben für die Fotografie, Grassi Museum für Angewandte Kunst, Leipzig


Keith de Lellis Gallery, New York
"Lillian Bassman and Paul Himmel – the artists couple", Gallery f5.6, Munich Germany, their work is shown in dialogue for the first time ever.


"Summer of love. Art of the psychedelic era"
Tate Galery, Liverpool
KunsthalleSchirn , Frankfurt a. Main
Kunsthalle, Vienna
Whitney Museum, New York


Paul Himmel 1914-2009 A Unerring Vision, Large Scale Black & Whites Photographs of New York, Keith de Lellis Gallery
A Joint Retrospective with Lillian Bassman, Deichtorhallen, Hamburg Museum

Works from the Artist