Roy Schatt - James Dean (from the Torn Sweater series)
Roy Schatt
James Dean (from the Torn Sweater series)
Silver Gelatin Photograph
1954, printed later
17 7/8 x 14 inches

Signed in pencil in margin recto.

Roy Schatt - James Dean in Window with Cigarette
Roy Schatt
James Dean in Window with Cigarette, ABC Studios, New York City
Silver Gelatin Photograph
1954, printed later
14 x 18 inches

Signed in pencil in margin recto.

Roy Schatt - James Dean Under Exit Sign
Roy Schatt
James Dean Under Exit Sign
Silver Gelatin Photograph
c. 1954, printed later
17 5/8 x 12 1/2 inches

Signed in pencil in margin recto.

Roy Schatt - James Dean Smoking, New York City
Roy Schatt
James Dean Smoking, New York City
Silver Gelatin Photograph
1954, printed 1960s
17 3/4 x 14 inches

Signed in pencil in margin recto; the photographer's and James Dean Foundation copyright stamps on verso.

Renowned for his iconic pictures of James Dean before fame had taken a hold of the actor, Roy Schatt made a successful career photographing the stars in the arts and entertainment industry. Born in New York City in 1909, Roy Schatt began his career studying painting under the tutelage of N.C. Wyeth. He would go on to paint murals for the Works Progress Administration of the Franklin D. Roosevelt presidency. He later used his artistic skills while stationed with the US Army’s Special Forces in India. Schatt’s work is influenced by photographers such as Erich Salomon, Edward Weston, Cartier-Bresson, and Ansel Adams.

Roy Schatt’s photographs of James Dean have gained recognition as some of the best-known pictures of the actor. After Schatt unexpectedly met Dean at the request of a mutual friend, they formed a connection; at the end of their first meeting, Dean asked Schatt if he could become his student and a “teacher and student” relationship soon followed. This yearlong friendship cut short by Dean’s tragic and untimely death would result in the Torn Sweater portrait series and many other images that show a candid side of the actor as an inquisitive, playful, and promising persona.

“I knew James Dean from February 1954 until he died in September 1955. I knew him as a friend and as a student. He was a disrupter of norms, a bender of rules, a disquieter of calm. Through the following pictures and vignettes, I hope to transmit a glimpse of his most insistent, and perhaps eternal, presence.”

Roy Schatt’s work has been exhibited in galleries nationally and around the world; at the International Center of Photography, NY, National Portrait Gallery, Washington, DC, Art Institute of Chicago, and was named the official photographer of Lee Strasberg’s The Actor’s Studio.

Stay in the Frame

Join our email newsletter for news and more.

Subscribe