Louise Dahl-Wolfe, A Style of her Own

Louise Dahl-Wolfe (San Francisco, 1895-New Jersey, 1989) was an outstanding American photographer credited with modernising fashion photography and the Hollywood portrait of her time. Her images of fashion rank alongside those of such renowned contemporaries as Edward Steichen, Horst P. Horst, George Hoyningen-Huene, Irving Penn and Martin Munkácsi, while influencing others, such as Richard Avedon.

  • From 18th July to 1st Octobre 2017
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"Louise Dahl-Wolfe, estilo propioarekin" erakusketa
"Louise Dahl-Wolfe, estilo propioarekin" erakusketa
"Louise Dahl-Wolfe, estilo propioarekin" erakusketa

Her training at the San Francisco Art Institute, her studies of anatomy, composition, colour theory and, in particular, drawing were fundamental to her work. As she herself said, drawing nudes in life drawing classes was an enormous boon to her in fashion photography because it made her aware of the differences between men’s and women’s bodies, both in terms of form and movement. 

She started to take photographs in the 1930s, after travelling through Europe and North Africa with the photographer Consuelo Kanaga towards the end of the 20s. In this period she photographed still lifes, nudes and portraits, particularly the inhabitants of Nashville, Tennessee during the Great Depression and in the documentary style characteristic of the era.

For the greater part of her photographic career, between 1936 and 1958, she worked for Harper’s Bazaar. Over the course of this period the American magazine published  600 of her photographs in colour, 86 front covers and more than 3,000 photographs in black and white. Dahl-Wolfe had the great good fortune of working with an outstanding team: Carmel Snow, editor in chief, Alexey Brodovitch, art director and Diana Vreeland, fashion editor.


Louise Emma Augusta Dahl, (San Francisco, 1895 - New Jersey, 1989) was the youngest of three daughters born to a Norwegian immigrant couple; after moving to San Francisco they gave her the chance to study at the California School of Fine Arts (now the San Francisco Art Institute), where in 1914 she began her studies of design, composition, art history and colour theory, among other subjects, which would last six years. She received special training in drawing, still life painting and anatomy. Her teachers were Rudolph Schaeffer and Frank Van Sloan.

In 1921 she met the photographer Anne W. Brigman, who would become a great personal inspiration, and came into contact with photography.

In 1936 she was hired as a photographer for Harper’s Bazaar, which became an extraordinary showcase for her work.  Her creativity was as potent and prodigious as her output.

Her 1943 photograph of Lauren Bacall on the front cover of Harper’s Bazaar served as the launch-pad for the actress’s career.

After her retirement in 1960 her work fell somewhat into neglect until the 1980s with the publication of her memoirs, A Photographer’s Scrapbook. In 1983, the Staley-Wise Gallery encouraged her to exhibit in New York. From then on recognition burgeoned and her work was exhibited

: La Fábrica, Le Pavillion, San Telmo Museoa
: Oliva María Rubio


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