Francis Bruguière was born in San Francisco to a wealthy banking family and was privately educated. In 1905 he travelled to New York where he met and became friends with Frank Eugene and Alfred Stieglitz. Eugene encouraged Bruguière to investigate the aesthetic possibilities of photography, and Stieglitz accepted him as a member of the Photo-Secession, though Bruguière remained on the fringes of the movement.
Returning to San Francisco in 1906, Bruguière devoted himself professionally to photography, opening a portrait studio.
In 1919 he moved to New York and established a studio. He began photographing for Vanity Fair, Vogue, and Harper’s Bazaar. His interest in the theater led Bruguière to the Theater Guild, where he became the official photographer. In his personal work he continued experiments with multiple exposure images, eventually producing a body of work intended
for a film, The Way, in collaboration with the dancer Sebastian Droste. The film was never completed because of Droste’s death.
In 1928 Bruguière moved to London. Here he started a new series of abstractions and produced the first British abstract film, Light Rhythm. He also continued working in commercial photography incorporating contemporary design into his illustrations. Bruguière abandoned photography in 1937 to concentrate on painting and sculpture until his death in 1945.
Enyeart, James. Bruguière: His Photographs and His Life. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1977.
The collection of photographs, negatives and ephemera span the years 1923-1937. Cut paper abstactions and other abstract images make up the majority of the holdings. Multiple exposures, solarization experiments (predominately nudes), still lifes, theatrical portraits and stage settings are also represented. Bruguière’s cliche vere prints, portraits of Bruguière, and reproductions of his paintings are also held in the collection.
With the exception of two prints purchased at auction in 1975 all Bruguière vintage prints were acquired in 1953 from Rosalinde Fuller, who was Bruguière’s companion and model. Original negatives were also acquired from Fuller. In 1986 James Enyeart donated 124 original Bruguière negatives and modern gelatin silver prints (ca. 1976-84) from the negatives.