George Zimbel /   George S. Zimbel

United States 1929


George Zimbel
George S. Zimbel
United States
March 2, 2016
Alias of Jasmina Sevic, a researcher and author for Widewalls. She graduated from the Faculty of Political Science (Department for Journalism) in Belgrade in 2013.

Change is imminent. Adaption is the key to survival. But, sometimes, the change should be rejected. Staying true to yourself is the best way to keep your identity. In the age of digital photography, George Zimbel has simply let all the inventions and improvements pass by. His commitment to a “straight” photography has even become stronger. Mostly known for his photographs of celebrities, the artist was actually far more interested in the lives of the ordinary people. Still loyal to his old Leicas, he is truly one of the last of his kind.

The artist remains loyal to his old Leicas

George Zimbel - Serious Marilyn, N.Y.C., 1954
George Zimbel – Serious Marilyn, N.Y.C., 1954

Known for the Stars, Interested in the Ordinary People

The process just begins with the artist recording an image. Only when the fine print is made does the Zimbel consider the work done. His work is a unique story of the history of the US. What made him famous were the pictures of the superstar Marilyn Monroe, and that allowed him to pay the bills and live out of his work. He knew some of the giants he photographed, like John F. Kennedy, Dwight Eisenhower, Harry Truman and Richard Nixon. Most of them were pleasant to work with, except for Nixon, who had a general distaste for the press. Ordinary people were the main focus of his work, as he documented the entire eras, all of the traditions, customs, even the clothing style. That’s why so much about America can be learned simply by observing his work.

J.F.K. was a pleasant person to work with

George Zimbel - Jacqueline and John F. Kennedy, N.Y.C., 1960
George Zimbel – Jacqueline and John F. Kennedy, N.Y.C., 1960

Moving to Canada

Zimbel was born in Woburn, Massachusetts. He earned his B.A. from the Columbia College in 1951. In 1955, he married Elaine Sernovitz, and they have four children. Due to discontent with the American political scene, he and his family moved to Canada in 1971, first choosing to live on a farm. Later they moved to Montreal, where the artist started working as a documentary freelance photographer.

General fascination with the life of Marilyn Monroe gained him popularity, but the true value of his work was his ability to capture and immortalize the American way of life. That is what is really important, and today his photographs can be seen in prestigious collections throughout the world, e.g. the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), The International Center of Photography, National Gallery of Canada and the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography.

Zimbel captured the American way of life

George Zimbel - Irish Dancehall, The Bronx N.Y., 1954
George Zimbel – Irish Dancehall, The Bronx N.Y., 1954

Grab the Attention!

The modern times have certainly improved our lives. Watching from the photographic angle, anyone can be a photographer today. But, the possibility of making thousands of pictures without even thinking of buying the film has led to digital diarrhea, and the ‘artists’ simply don’t have the focus on what is capturing their imagination. A finished photograph takes a lot – a personal view of the life, extensive technical knowledge, and the information. Every single part is important, as a part of the artist’s soul always stays captured within the picture. The picture grabs the viewer’s attention, but in the end, it’s the photographer’s art that holds it. George Zimbel certainly has our attention.

He is represented by Stephen Bulger Gallery in Toronto, Canada.

George Zimbel lives and works in Montreal.

Featured image: portrait of the artist, photo credits Bernard Bujold.

All images copyright © George Zimbel.

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2015George Zimbel, A Humanist PhotographerMontreal Museum of Fine Arts, MontrealSolo
201520th AnniversaryStephen Bulger Gallery, TorontoGroup
2013Summer Lovin’: A Group ShowStephen Bulger Gallery, TorontoGroup
20121955: A Group ShowStephen Bulger Gallery, TorontoGroup
2011Photographs of ChildrenStephen Bulger Gallery, TorontoSolo
2011The Radical Camera: New York's Photo League, 1936-1951The Jewish Museum, New YorkGroup
2011Beauty, Humor and Social Justice: Gifts from the Joan MorgensternMuseum of Fine Arts, HoustonGroup
2011Made in HollywoodNorton Museum of Art, FLGroup
2011Marilyn in CanadaMcMichael Art Gallery, Kleinburg, ONGroup
201021 Years of Donations to IVAMValencia, SpainGroup
2008EnergyKowasa Gallery, BarcelonaSolo
2008PhotographsThe Leica Gallery, NYCSolo
2008Capic Anniversary ExhibitMontrealGroup
2007Auction exhibitionsChristies, Bonham & Butterfields, Dorotheum Group
2007Man & BeastParc La Villette, ParisGroup
2007The end is nighHigher Pictures, New YorkGroup
2006Spain & Japan in the 21st CenturyCampbell House Museum, TorontoSolo
2006Bourbon St. New Orleans 1955Salon B, MontrealSolo
2006Marilyn Monroe 1954John Cleary Gallery, HoustonSolo
2006StreetworkKowasa Gallery, BarcelonaGroup
2006MarilynStaley Wise Gallery, New YorkGroup
2005ReadersPlace Des Arts, MontrealSolo
2005Les FemmesTherese Dion Gallery, MontrealSolo
2005George S. Zimbel: Documentary Photographer, Works 1947-2004Canadian Embassy, Prince Takamado Gallery, Tokyo, JapanSolo
2005Before, During & After: The Photographs of George S. ZimbelOwens Art Gallery, Sackville, NBSolo
2005I Wanna Be Loved By You: Photographs of Marilyn Monroe from the Leon and Michaela Constantiner CollectionBrooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY Group
2004Before, During & After: The Photographs of George S. ZimbelConfederation Centre Art Gallery and Museum, Charlottetown, PEISolo
2002A Survey from 5 Decades of PhotographsStephen Bulger Gallery, TorontoSolo
2002UnknownMusee D’Art Mont St. Hillaire.Group
2001George S. ZimbelA Gallery for Fine Photography, New OrleansSolo
2001New York 1947-2000Columbia UniversitySolo
2000DocumentsJohn Cleary Gallery, HoustonSolo
2000RetrospectiveIVAM, Valencia, SpainSolo
1999ArcheologyStephen Bulger Gallery, Contact, TorontoSolo
1999Bright Lights Big CityWinston Wachter Fine Art, SeattleGroup
1999PhotographsSwan Galleries Auction, New YorkGroup
1999Exchanging Views: Quebec 1939-70Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography, Ottawa Group
1999Gallery Artists ExhibitionShapiro’s Gallery, San FranciscoGroup
1999The SixtiesBonni Benrubi Gallery, New YorkGroup
1998Twentieth Century PhotographsChristie’s South Kensington, LondonGroup
1998Gallery ArtistsA Gallery for Fine Photography, New YorkGroup
1998New York PhotographsTriad Gallery, New YorkGroup
1998The FiftiesGalerie Uterman, DortmundGroup
1998Gallery Artists ExhibitJohn Cleary Gallery, HoustonGroup
1998Scene from BehindSarah Morthland Gallery, New YorkGroup
1998Flashback the FiftiesBoni Benrubi Gallery, New YorkGroup
1997Still MoviesBrock University Gallery, St. Catherines, ONSolo
1997Marilyn Monroe 1954Howard Greenberg Gallery, JapanGroup
1997Vie Public/Vie PrivateMois de la photo, MontrealGroup
1997Loan CollectionMusee des Beaux Arts, MontrealGroup
1997Art ChicagoStuart B. Baum Inc.,ChicagoGroup
1997George S. ZimbelSwan Gallery Auction, New YorkGroup
1997CreaturesArts Club of Washington, Washington D.C.Group
1997Twentieth Century PhotographsChristie’s South Kensington, LondonGroup
1997Small WorldsGalerie Mistral, MontrealGroup
1996The Photography ShowNew YorkGroup
1996New Acquisitions, 1993-96Museum of Fine Arts, HoustonGroup
1996DeleriumRicco/Maresca Gallery, New YorkGroup
1995George S. ZimbelStuart B. Baum Inc., ChicagoSolo
1995Still MoviesCote St. Luc Library, QuebecSolo
1995Auction. Christies East.New YorkGroup
1995Photography AuctionButterfield & Butterfield, San FranciscoGroup
1995Marilyn MonroeA Gallery for Fine Photography, New YorkGroup
1994American PoliticiansMoMA, New YorkGroup
1993BaseballJane Corkin Gallery, TorontoGroup
1993Industrial SitesJane Corkin Gallery, TorontoGroup
1993Lamerique regard L’Eroupecentre Strathearn, MontrealGroup
1992George S. ZimbelThe Photographers Gallery, LondonSolo
1992RetrospectiveGalerie L’Image Des Photographes, MontrealSolo
1991George S. ZimbelJane Corkin Gallery, TorontoSolo
1991A Spontaneous ExhibitWallace Ave. Studios, TorontoGroup
1990Children in Photography 150yrsWinnipeg Art Gallery, Manitoba, CanadaGroup
1990ClochardsJane Corkin Gallery, TorontoGroup
1989Singles and Series 1950’s-1980’sWallace Ave Studios, TorontoSolo
1989Singles and Series 1950’s-1980’sArt 45, Montreal, CanadaSolo
1988Marilyn Monroe 1954G. Ray Hawkins Gallery, Los AngelesGroup
1986European Photographs 1952/1953Art 45, Montreal, CanadaSolo
1985Marilyn Monroe 1954G. Ray Hawkins Gallery, TokyoGroup
1985Children of this WorldPhotokina, ColoneGroup
1982Marilyn Monroe, N.Y.C. 1954Art 45 Montreal, CanadaSolo
1981HumorNational Artists Alliance, The Coliseum, New YorkGroup
1981PhotojournalismNational Film Board Gallery, Ottawa, OntarioGroup
1976George S. Zimbel RetrospectiveConfederation Centre of the Arts, Charlottetown, PEI, CanadaSolo
1961Chemical Pacemaker ResearchU.S. Medical Navy Dept. American Med. Ass. Annual Meeting, ChicagoSolo
1959Peaceful Uses of Atomic EnergyGeorge Nelson Design, USSRSolo
1959African and Arab Students in the U.S.U.S. Information Service, Africa, AsiaSolo
1959Multi Screen PresentationCharles Eames, MoscowGroup
1957County AgentU.S. Information Service, Europe, USSR, IndiaSolo
1954White House Conference on Children & YouthWashington D.C.Group