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George Platt Lynes Collection 1933-1936

AG 105

Overview of the Collection

Creator: George Platt Lynes (1907-1955) .
Title: George Platt Lynes Collection
Inclusive Dates: 1933-1936
Quantity: 2 boxes (1.5 linear feet)
Abstract: Negatives and occasional prints made by photographer George Platt Lynes, 1933-1935. The bulk of the collection consists of 2 ¼ inch negatives of various subjects including images made in Spain, France, Holland, and Germany, as well as some nudes and examples of his commercial and fashion work. Also included in the collection are original boxes and negative sleeves.
Identification: AG 105
Language: Material in English
Repository: Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona
1030 N. Olive Rd., P.O. Box 210103
Tucson, AZ 85721-0103
Phone: 520-621-6273
Fax: 520-621-9444

Biographical Note:

George Platt Lynes was born April 15, 1907 in East Orange, New Jersey. After graduation from the Berkshire School in Massachusetts, he was sent to Paris to prepare for college. There he met Gertrude Stein, Glenway Wescott, Monroe Wheeler, and others who had a profound influence on him. He began his career as a photographer taking portraits of his friends. In 1932, the art dealer Julien Levy exhibited his work, and soon Lynes closed the bookstore he had run since 1927 and opened his own studio. Having graduated to commercial work for fashion magazines, Lynes was engaged in 1935 to photograph principal dancers of the American Ballet (now New York City Ballet). He eventually wound up moving to Hollywood, where he became chief photographer for the Vogue studios, photographing celebrities of every kind. By 1948, financial difficulties led Lynes back to New York. Here he left commercial work entirely and focused on male nudes, a subject he had pursued from his earliest years as a photographer. Lynes continued to struggle financially and twice declared bankruptcy. In early 1955, he was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. He closed his studio and destroyed many of his prints and negatives. He was careful, however, to donate some of his nudes to the Kinsey Institute, which now holds one of the largest collections of Lynes’s work. After a final trip to Europe, Lynes died on December 6, 1955.

Scope and Content

Box one of the George Platt Lynes Collection contains 2 ¼” x 2 ¼” negatives with titles by Lynes. Box two contains artifacts in their original boxes and sleeves, along with press prints of two photographs of interiors by Horst P. Horst.


The Collection is arranged into the following series:
Series 1: Negatives
Series 2: Artifacts
Series 3: Horst P. Horst press prints


Conditions Governing Access

Access to this collection requires an appointment with the Volkerding Study Center.

Conditions Governing Use

It is the responsibility of the user to obtain permission from the copyright owner (which could be the institution, the creator of the record, the author or his/her transferees, heirs, legates or literary executors) prior to any copyright-protected uses of the collection.

The user agrees to indemnify, defend, and hold harmless the Arizona Board of Regents, the University of Arizona, Center of Creative Photography, including its officers, employees, and agents, from and against all claims made relating to copyright or other intellectual property infringement

Related Material

The Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin holds the Lynes Archive consisting of 5 boxes (133 gelatin silver prints, 1 needlepoint, manuscript materials).

The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction at the University of Indiana in Bloomington, Indiana, has a significant collection of nudes.

Controlled Access Terms

Personal Name(s)
Horst, Horst P.
Lynes, George Platt, 1907-1955


Administrative Information

Custodial History

Gift of Magda Vasillov and Robert Denison, 2001.

Preferred Citation

George Platt Lynes Collection, 1933-1936. AG 105. Center for Creative Photography. University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona.

Processing Information

Finding aid updated by Meghan Jordan in May 2016.

Container List

Series 1 Negatives
2 ¼”x2 ¼” negatives, originally housed in glassine sleeves with titles by Lynes and stored in in blue Ce-Nei Film – Tesor boxes
1 “May in Vienna Ball / Chicago 5/29/35 / Circus” (15 negatives)
1 “Captiva – Feb. 1936” (11 negatives)
1 “Cupid / North Egremont” (12 negatives, undated
1Fortune – Restaurants,” (19 negatives) undated
1 “March 1935 /Fortune/ Bryn Mawr / Article – ”
1 “Miscellaneous / Vassar Sports” (9 negatives), undated
1 “Wisconsin 5/35” (20 negatives)
1 “Harold Westcott’s Art” [empty negative sleeve], undated
1 “Portraits” (11 negatives), undated
1 “1933 / Germany / Holland” (2 negatives)
1 “France 1933” (9 negatives)
1 “Stone Blossom” (18 negatives), undated
1 “Spain 1933 / Inanimate” (15 negatives)
1 “Europe 1935 / S.S. Columbus” (2 negatives)
1 “Mulholaway” (12 negatives), undated
1 “Italy 1935” (10 negatives)
1 “Spain 1933” (10 negatives)
1 “Spain 1933 / Animate” (19 negatives)
2 ¼”x 2 ¼” negatives originally housed in negative sleeves
1 Male nude model bathed in grid-like light, 2 ¼x2¼, undated
1 Dance negatives and one portrait, 2 ¼x2¼, undated
1 General fashion, a few from fur series, 2¼x2¼, undated
1 General fashion and portrait shots and 2 contact prints, 2¼x2¼, undated
1 Fashion shots, 4”x5”, undated
Series 2 Artifacts
2original boxes and negative sleeves
Series 3 Horst P. Horst Press Prints
2 Press prints of two photographs of interiors by Horst P. Horst.