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Wayne Miller & Marvin E. Newman

"The Way of Life of The Northern Negro," 1946 - 1947

"Chicago: The Black Migration North," 1949–1950

September 11–November 9 2019

Marvin E. Newman, Chicago, ​1950. Three young girls stand against a door, one wearing a mask.
Marvin E. Newman, Chicago, ​1950. Children wearing face paint and a woman in a large feathered hat look to the camera in curiosity.
Marvin E. Newman, Chicago, ​1950. A young boy cries, facing away from the skirt of an adult female figure pictured from the waist down.
Marvin E. Newman, Chicago, ​1950. A group of boys stand on the sidewalk in a circle around two boys blurred with motion, facing each other.
Marvin E. Newman, Chicago, ​1950. Three boys play basketball with a makeshift hoop mounted to a caged window. One boy stands on the window sill, another jumps to make the shot.
Marvin E. Newman, Chicago, ​1950. A boy walks on the sidewalk toward the camera, hands in pockets, with a chewing gum bubble obscuring most of his face.
Marvin E. Newman, Chicago, ​1950. Two young girls play on the sidewalk, blurred with motion, smiling at the camera.
Marvin E. Newman, Chicago, ​1950. A young adult male in a large coat stands on the sidewalk, smiling to the camera, another man in black walks by in the background.
Marvin E. Newman, Chicago, ​1950. An older man in a hat, coat, and gloves holds a cane and a cigar, looking into the camera.
Wayne Miller, Spectators at Pool Hall, Chicago, ​1946–1947. Two men seated against a brick wall with posters on it, both looking to the right. One man holds a cigarette.
Wayne Miller, Untitled, Chicago, ​1946–1947. A couple in bed, the man on his elbows above the smiling woman.
Wayne Miller, Untitled, Chicago, 1946–1947. A group of men, with one younger boy in front, stands behind the vertical black bars of a fence, looking to the camera.
Wayne Miller, Afternoon Game at Table 2, Chicago, ​1947. A large group of men gathered around a pool table in a dark club. One man leans over the table to make the next shot.
Wayne Miller, High School Football Game, Chicago, ​1946–1947. A large group of teenagers. A couple embraces with a blanket wrapped around them. Another teen in the foreground wears a "Be-Bop" pin.
Marvin E. Newman, Chicago, ​1950. Two young children embrace in front of a brick building.
Marvin E. Newman, Chicago, ​1950. Three adults chatting by a mailbox, one seated on a fire hydrant. A billboard in the background reads "For world peace, for continued prosperity, vote Democratic
Marvin E. Newman, Chicago, ​1950. Three young adult men in hats and jackets pose against a brick wall. The central figure stands closer to the camera.
Marvin E. Newman, Chicago, 1949. Two men ride a horse-drawn wagon through a snowy street.
Marvin E. Newman, Chicago, 1949. Figures walk along a snowy sidewalk; two boys stand on an apartment stoop.
Marvin E. Newman, Chicago, ​1950. Two men, faces mostly in shadow, sit on a wooden set of steps on the street.
Marvin E. Newman, Chicago, ​1950. A painted window reads "Pat's Barber Shop Shoe Shine".
Wayne Miller, Moving to Music, Chicago, ​1946–1947. A man and woman lean on a table with food, drink, and cigarettes.
Wayne Miller, Untitled, Chicago, ​1946–1947. A seated man looks to the left while a woman smiles, looking to the right, standing behind him.
Wayne Miller, Female Impersonator, Chicago, ​1946–1947. Three figures in various states of undress in a dressing room.
Wayne Miller, Female Impersonator, Chicago, ​1946–1947. A dancer, back to the camera, performs in front of a group of smiling men.
Wayne Miller, Untitled, Chicago, ​1946–1947. A band plays in a dark room. Photographed from behind the drummer.
Wayne Miller, Billy Eckstine, ​1948. The subject sits at a table with another man and woman, all smiling. A woman sings behind a microphone with a band on stage in the background.
Marvin E. Newman, Chicago, ​1950. Two young girls jump rope on the sidewalk, one facing the camera, one away.
Marvin E. Newman, Chicago, ​1950. Close-up portrait of a woman in glasses and two young boys wearing white face paint.
Marvin E. Newman, Chicago, ​1950. Close-up on two figures in a crowd with heads turned to the right of the frame. One wears a headscarf and bandana around his lower face, the other is in a hat with a masquerade mask around their neck.
Marvin E. Newman, Mother, Daughter, & Doll Await the MacArthur Motorcade, 1951. A woman holding a large baby doll and young girl, both in headscarves, stand behind a barricade. Men walking by and police officers can be seen behind them.

Press Release

Keith de Lellis Gallery presents an exhibition of two American documentary photographers: Wayne Miller and Marvin E. Newman. In the early days of their careers, both men endeavored to document Chicago’s black communities in the wakes of the Great Migration and World War II. Miller received two consecutive Guggenheim fellowships (1946–1948) to photograph his series “The Way of Life of the Northern Negro,” which would later be published as a book: Chicago’s South Side. Newman’s series was completed while he pursued a master’s degree in photography at Chicago’s Institute of Design.


Both photographers were skilled at earning a level of trust from their subjects that allowed them to become flies on the wall to a range of events and experiences. While many migrants were struggling to transition from the rural South to industrial Chicago, their hardships are far from the sole focus of these photographs. On the contrary, these images, most often candid, capture moments of intimacy, joy, sadness, and bravado in equal measure. The photographs are full of passion and hope without dismissing the realities of segregation and economic disparity. In these photographs, we see lovers embrace, patrons sway to the music in night clubs, children play in the streets, and men shoot pool. Miller wrote of his vision for his series: “We may differ in race, color, language, wealth, and politics. But look at what we all have in common – dreams, laughter, tears, pride, the comfort of home, the hunger for love.”


Wayne Miller (1918–2013) studied photography at the Art Center School of Los Angeles. After enlisting in the U.S. Navy at the start World War II, Miller worked in Edward Steichen’s Naval Aviation Photographic Unit, in which he was notably one of the first photographers to document the destruction of Hiroshima. He returned to Chicago to photograph as a freelancer after the war. After the completion of his featured series, the artist went on to teach at the Institute of Design, photograph for Life, and assist Steichen at the Museum of Modern Art as he curated the pivotal exhibition, The Family of Man. Miller joined Magnum Photos in 1958 and served as president from 1962 through 1966.

A native New Yorker, Marvin E. Newman (b. 1927) began his studies in photography at Brooklyn College. The artist was briefly a member of New York’s Photo League before moving to Chicago in 1949, where he studied under Harry Callahan and Aaron Siskind at the Institute of Design. A noted sports photographer, Newman covered the 1960 Rome Olympics and the same year’s World Series. Newman’s work has been featured in Life, Esquire, Sports Illustrated, and many other publications, and has been exhibited by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Whitney Museum, and more. His photographs are in the permanent collections of the George Eastman Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, and the International Center for Photography.


Wayne Miller and Marvin E. Newman’s photographs of mid-century Chicago will be on view at the Keith de Lellis Gallery through November 9, 2019.