Herman Leonard

Leonard

Herman Leonard's love of jazz started at an early age, when he borrowed a camera from his brother and started hanging out in the jazz clubs in New York City. It was there, within the smokey rooms and poorly lit stages of Birdland and the Royal Roost, that Leonard honed his craft, practicing and perfecting his backlit lighting that makes his photographs so recognizable.
 
After earning his BFA in photography in 1947 from Ohio University (interrupted by a two and a half year stint in the U.S. Army), Leonard sought out Yousuf Karsh, the famous portrait photographer from Canada, who offered him a one year internship – a turning point in Leonard’s career. Working with Karsh, Leonard learned the tools of the trade, meeting such distinguished people as Albert Einstein, Harry Truman and Clark Gable.
 
Soon after his time with Karsh, Leonard moved to New York City and opened a studio in Greenwich Village, photographing aspiring actors, singers and dancers, while working for Life, Esquire, Look, Cosmopolitan and Playboy, among others. But jazz was his passion, and a camera around his neck became his ticket into night clubs and dressing rooms of some of the most well known musicians of the time. At age 25, Herman Leonard took on the world of jazz, starting a personal journey which became a life-long project.
 
Photographing such notables as Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Thelonius Monk and Miles Davis, Leonard became a fixture of the jazz scene, his photographs gracing the covers of more than 200 albums. In 1989, after spending time in New York City, Paris, Ibiza and England, Leonard settled in New Orleans, immersing himself in a city known for its lively jazz and blues scene. With two monographs dedicated to his jazz work, Leonard is currently photographing in the local clubs, focusing his lens on young talent and seasoned pros who pass through New Orleans, including Lenny Kravitz, Dr. John and Cassandra Wilson.
 
All pieces from his second book, Images of Jazz, are housed in a permanent archive at the American Musical History Department of The Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. He received numerous awards and accolades and is considered to be one of the finest jazz photographers to date. Herman Leonard passed away at the age of 87 in August of 2010.

 

All images were printed during Herman's lifetime and signed, titled, dated, and editioned by the artist, with a few exceptions. Most images are available as 11 x 14", 16 x 20" and 20" x 24" gelatin silver prints in a limited supply. Pieces range in price from $1800 to $22,000+, depending on size and availability. There are a few exceptions to the above pricing.

Please call: (312) 266-2350 for prices of specific pieces.
Prices are print only unless otherwise indicated.

Herman Leonard
Art Blakey, Paris [ARB01], 1958
Herman Leonard
Billie Holiday, NYC [BLH03], 1949
Herman Leonard
Billie Holiday, NYC [BLH22], 1949
Herman Leonard
Billy Eckstine, NYC [BLE03], 1948
Herman Leonard
Bop City, NYC [BPC06], 1953
Herman Leonard
Brown & Roach, NYC [CLB/MXR02] , 1958
Herman Leonard
Bud Powell, NYC [BDP02], 1949
Herman Leonard
Charlie "Bird" Parker, NYC [CHP01] , 1949
Herman Leonard
Chet Baker, NYC [CHB02], 1956
Herman Leonard
Count Basie, Paris [CTB05], 1960
Herman Leonard
Dave Brubeck, Newport Jazz Fest [DVB02], 1955
Herman Leonard
Dexter Gordon, NYC [DXG01], 1948
Herman Leonard
Dinah Washington, NYC [DNW04], 1955
Herman Leonard
Dizzy Gillespie, NYC [DZG02], 1955
Herman Leonard
Dizzy Gillespie, NYC [DZG04], 1948
Herman Leonard
Dr. John, San Fransisco [DRJ02], 1992
Herman Leonard
Duke Ellington, NYC [DKE04], 1958
Herman Leonard
Duke Ellington, Paris [DKE02], 1958
Herman Leonard
Duke Ellington, Paris [DKE08], 1960
Herman Leonard
Duke Ellington, Paris, Shoes [DKE03], 1958
Herman Leonard
Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, Downbeat Club, NYC [ELF03] , 1949
Herman Leonard
Ella Fitzgerald, NYC [ELF01], 1949
Herman Leonard
Ella Fitzgerald, NYC [ELF09], 1949
Herman Leonard
Ella Fitzgerald, NYC [ELF09], 1949
Herman Leonard
Ella Fitzgerald, Paris, Olympia Theatre [ELF02], 1960
Herman Leonard
Fitzgerald & Ellington, NYC [ELF07] , 1948
Herman Leonard
Frank Sinatra, Monte Carlo [FRS01] , 1948
Herman Leonard
Frank Sinatra, NYC [FRS02], 1956
Herman Leonard
Frank Sinatra, NYC [FRS03], 1956
Herman Leonard
James Moody, NYC [JMM01], 1951
Herman Leonard
Johnny Hodges, Paris [JNH01], 1958
Herman Leonard
Lena Horne, NYC [LNH03], 1948
Herman Leonard
Lenny Kravitz, New Orleans [LNK06] , 2004
Herman Leonard
Lester Young, NYC, Hat "Prez" [LSY03] , 1948
Herman Leonard
Louis Armstrong, NYC [LSA04], 1949
Herman Leonard
Louis Armstrong, Paris [LSA07], 1960
Herman Leonard
Marilyn Monroe, Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus, NYC [MRM01], 1953
Herman Leonard
Miles Davis, Birdland [MLD08], 1949
Herman Leonard
Miles Davis, Montreux [MLD10], 1991
Herman Leonard
Miles Davis, Montreux [MLD15], 1991
Herman Leonard
Nat King Cole, NYC [NKC04], 1949
Herman Leonard
Nat King Cole, NYC, Quartet [NKC01] , 1949
Herman Leonard
Palm Court Cafe, New Orleans [PCC01] , 1996
Herman Leonard
Parker & Gillespie, NYC [CHP/DZG01] , 1949
Herman Leonard
Pearl Bailey, NYC [PRB01], 1950
Herman Leonard
Quincy Jones, NYC [QYJ01], 1955
Herman Leonard
Ray Brown, NYC [RYB01], 1948
Herman Leonard
Sarah Vaughan, NYC [SRV01], 1950
Herman Leonard
Sarah Vaughan, NYC [SRV02], 1949
Herman Leonard
Sonny Stitt, NYC [SNS01], 1953
Herman Leonard
Spirit of New Orleans, New Orleans, 2001 [NOL04], 2001
Herman Leonard
Stan Getz, NYC [STG01], 1949
Herman Leonard
Stan Kenton, Atlanta, Shoes,[STK01] , 1950
Herman Leonard
Thelonious Monk, NYC [THM01], 1949
Herman Leonard
Tony Bennett, NYC [TYB02], 1950