HORACIO COPPOLA, EVOCATIVE ARGENTINE PHOTOGRAPHER, DIES at 105

Re-publicado desde Chicago por Gaston Saint Martin (gsaintmartin@hotmail.com) –

The photograph “Calle Corrientes” from 1936.

Horacio Coppola, whose black-and-white photographs of the cafes, side streets and neon-lit boulevards of Buenos Aires in the 1930s, and of ordinary objects like a typewriter and a doll, introduced avant-garde photography to Argentina, died on June 18 in Buenos Aires. He was 105.

His death was confirmed by Michael Hoppen, a gallery owner in London who deals in Mr. Coppola’s work. Mr. Hoppen donated a Coppola photograph to the Tate Modern museum in London, where it was put on display just a few weeks before Mr. Coppola’s death.

The Museum of Modern Art owns six of Mr. Coppola’s photographs, which aren’t currently on display, and hopes to obtain more for a show in 2015 of his work and that of the photographer Grete Stern, who was his first wife. “The museum has a directed a lot of attention toward the acquisition of work by Latin American artists, and Coppola is at the top of that list,” Sarah Meister, a photography curator at MoMA, said.

In 1930, the writer Jorge Luis Borges, a friend, launched Mr. Coppola’s career by using some of his photographs to illustrate a book about the poet Evaristo Carriego, according to Amanda Hopkinson, a literary translator and specialist on Latin American culture who teaches at City University London and the University of Manchester.

Mr. Coppola is not well known outside Argentina, but his works, particularly his nighttime images of Buenos Aires, are on par with those of more renowned photographers from his era, like George Brassaï, known for images of Paris at night, and Bill Brandt, celebrated for portraits and night scenes in London, Ms. Meister said.

One Coppola photograph at the Museum of Modern Art, perhaps his most noted, is “Egg and Twine,” taken in 1932 when he was studying at the Bauhaus in Berlin with the photographer and teacher Walter Peterhans. The picture is a still life of an egg in its shell, resting on a wood surface alongside a looping, curling length of twine. A print of it is hanging in the Tate.

“It is spectacular,” Ms. Meister said, adding: “The very close-up view was characteristic of work being done when Walter Peterhans was directing the photography program at the Bauhaus. The idea of describing surface textures and the quality of light in a uniquely photographic way was something Peterhans championed. This is a particularly well-accomplished example of that, in terms of the composition, the layering of light and dark. It’s a very shallow space, and yet the range of light is impressive.”

Mr. Hoppen said he had chanced on one of Mr. Coppola’s photographs at a gallery in Berlin around 2000 and was instantly captivated.

He tracked down Mr. Coppola and spent a week with him in Buenos Aires examining his work. Mr. Coppola, then in his 90s, still remembered where and how he had taken every picture, Mr. Hoppen said. He bought about 50 photographs — half of what Mr. Coppola had on hand — including night and day cityscapes, abstractions, nudes and the coronation of King George VI, the father of Queen Elizabeth.

“Nobody knew about him,” Mr. Hoppen said. “It was a strange sort of backwater.”

The photographs sell for an average of $6,200 to $7,800. Horacio Coppola was born in Buenos Aires on July 31, 1906, the youngest of 10 children. His parents, Italian immigrants, were well off, and he studied art, music, law and languages. He was about 20 when he began taking pictures.

He traveled to Europe in the 1920s and ’30s, and was excited by the modernist movement. Photography was coming into its own as an art form, with pictures being shot from odd angles and cropped for effect.

He met Ms. Stern in Germany; they married in London. There, he took portraits of famous artists, and worked on a book about Mesopotamian artifacts in the Louvre and the British Museum. The couple went back to Argentina in 1936. That year, he was commissioned to photograph Buenos Aires for its 400th anniversary, and produced evocative streetscapes that captured the romance, vitality and squalor of a great city.

He and Ms. Stern had a daughter, Silvia, and a son, Andres. They later divorced. In 1959 Mr. Coppola married Raquel Palomeque, a pianist. Ms. Stern, Ms. Palomeque and the two children died before him.

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Soy el Dr. Gastón Alejandro Saint Martin (ARDMS. RVT. RPVI eligible, MD. CCPM). Medico patagónico; me gradué en la UNBA (Universidad Nacional de Buenos Aires, en 1961) Recién graduado y casado fui a hacer mi entrenamiento en la Universidad de Louisville, (UdeL) Kentucky, USA, la mas antigua Universidad Municipal de La Unión; pobre, pero de excelente nivel académico; con una pequeña escuela de medicina. Louisville está en la margen izquierda del rio Ohio (afluente del Mississippi) Elegí a UdeL por estar entre los rio Ohio y Tennessee, que era la zona mas subdesarrollada de La Unión, (cuna de los "Hillbillies") montañeses pobres, poco ilustrados, casi analfabetos pero gente honrada, noble y muy trabajadora; donde era de esperar encontrar problemas de patología medica y socio económicos similares a los de la población rural patagónica indigente. Los médicos residentes de la Universidad de Louisville atendíamos al Louisville General Hospital y al Children’s Hospital of Louisville. Finalizado mi entrenamiento, y al tener yo visa de emigrante, me pude quedar en USA, donde los abogados jueces y los médicos con residencias de entrenamiento completas, teníamos un brillante futuro económico, estabilidad y brillo social. La tentación para quedarse fue muy grande, pero cumplimos mi plan regresando a casa; Argentina (No a Buenos. Aires.) sino a La Patagonia (Gral. Roca, Rio Negro), donde trabajé intensamente, no solo en medicina asistencial sino en política. Para el inicio, recluté un pequeño grupo de médicos argentinos jóvenes entrenados en USA y Canadá con quienes creamos al Instituto Medico del Comahue, el pequeño hospital austral privado pionero en medicina asistencial moderna. Construimos el edificio por esfuerzo propio, y por administración, con la dirección técnica de mi padre (Ingeniero Prospero Saint Martin). Tuvimos muchos éxitos y fracasos. Nos integramos al Colegio Medico de General Roca, donde fui el primer organizador de la primer biblioteca medica patagónica. De nuestros Colegas Veteranos aprendimos la Filosofía Ético Moral Medica Hipocrática) y a ser médicos humanistas, antes que corporativos." Allí, practicando, aprendimos las normas básicas de cortesía entre colegas y pacientes. No fue fácil la convivencia y el pasaje armonico de lo (clásico) antiguo a lo (bueno) moderno, pero ¡lo logramos ... y muy Bien! En el ano 2000/2002 La Anarquía establecida Argentina desde el 10 de Septiembre de 1930 estalló y ya “no pude tolerar al criminal anárquico mamarracho republicano Argentino" que culminó con el "Robo Legalizado" (Google "The Legalized Theft" by Steve Hanke - CATO Instituto and/or Johns Hopkins economist) Como muchos de los argentinos ordenados, responsables, con importante capital de trabajo sin deudas, con algunos ahorros PERDIMOS TODO! Yo no perdí mis edificios, mi casa, mi Consultorio Radiológico) ni mi costoso instrumental diagnostico pero al quedar fuera de corporaciones medicas-hospitalarias corruptas, y fuera de los canales de facturación y cobro ... me encontré despojado de uno de los derechos humanos mas importantes “EL DERECHO A TRABAJAR” , del que depende mi “DERECHO A LA PROPIEDAD” y derecho a de “VIVIR en LIBERTAD” como me de la gana y sin pedir nada a nadie (¡LIBRE ALBEDRIO!) Por ello decidimos volver (ya estando jubilados) por segunda vez a USA. Hoy tengo otra residencia legal en Chicago (Oak Park, 60301) Mi mentor (en USA y Argentina) ha sido el Dr. Rene Favaloro (pionero del bypass coronario), con quien (cada uno por su lado) hemos compartido los mismos dilemas, para decidir volver, y para adaptarnos a esta ANARQUÍA Argentina (ver www.29deJulio.wordpress.com ) – La ANARQUÍA en la que cayó La Republica Argentina el 10 de Septiembre de 1930, fue causado por errores garrafales del GOBIERNO DE LOS ESTADOS UNIDOS DE NORTEAMÉRICA. (Presidente Herbert Hoover (POTUS 31) ...MAS... errores garrafales en la "ACORDADA UNÁNIME de LA TOTALIDAD DE LOS JUECES DE LA CORTE DE JUSTICIA ARGENTINA" ...MAS... errores garrafales del Gobierno del Reino Unido de Gran Bretaña (UK) ...MAS... el error de un soldadito con grado de General y cáncer de estomago Gral. Félix Uriburo) que no se atrevio a desobedecer al Jefe de su jefe cuando le ordenaron "violar a La Constitucio ... "en nombre de ella??) y asi TODOS ELLOS JUNTOS, en un contubernio internacional, por primera vez en la historia de La Republica Argentina depusieron a un Presidente Constitucional, (Presidente Hipólito Yrigoyen) electo dos veces (en periodos NO consecutivos), por el voto popular, y depuesto con la absurda e ignorante excusa (si no fue mentirosa) de ser "ser viejo e inoperante..."

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