Philippe Halsman, Who Am I?

The attempt to understand our identity has preoccupied humankind since time immemorial. Each and every one of us grapples with the issue throughout our lifetime. Nevertheless, none of us can clearly or definitively answer the question: What makes us the person we are today?

The Who Am I? exhibition explored the notion of identity through the work of iconic artists and photographers including Philippe Halsman. The exhibition was curated by Jon Bollmann and Pia Marti and included artwork, new media, and exhibits from every day life. Along with Halsman, the exhibition featured artists such as Selma Alaçam, Candice Breitz, Lewis Davidson, and Oliver Sturm.

Who Am I? ran from May 22, 2016 to September 25, 2016 at the Vögele Kultur Zentrum in Pfäffikon, Switzerland. The Vögele Kultur Zentrum (formerly the Seedamm Kulturzentrum) is a multidisciplinary contemporary art centre that is listed in the Swiss Inventory of Cultural Property of National and Regional Significance.

Philippe Halsman was born in Riga, Latvia in 1906. He left engineering school to pursue photography and initially worked in Paris where he photographed such notable figures as André Gide, Marc Chagall, and Le Corbusier. At the outset of World War II, Halsman obtained a visa to America with the help of Albert Einstein and began working in New York City. Over his career, he took portraits of an incredible array of personalities including Einstein, Dali, Marilyn Monroe, Humphrey Bogart, Alfred Hitchcock, Frank Sinatra, Audrey Hepburn, Bridgette Bardot, and Winston Churchill. He died in New York City in 1979. The °CLAIR Gallery proudly represents the Halsman Archives and feels privileged to play a role in safeguarding this iconic photographer’s legacy.

Purchase Information: The featured image is of Edward Steichen, Jumping, 1954 by Philippe Halsman. Vintage print certified by the Halsman estate and the CLAIR Gallery. Exclusive to the CLAIR Gallery. Purchase inquiries are welcome via email at