Roth Artist Portraits

Sanford Roth (1906–1962) was born and raised in Brooklyn and moved to Los Angeles after graduating from New York University. In 1947 he and his wife, Beulah, moved to Paris where he began his career as a portrait photographer with a commission from Look magazine. Living and working from a small hotel in Montparnasse, Roth's list of subjects quickly grew to include the likes of Picasso, Jean Cocteau, Colette, and Georges Braque. Over the years, Roth continued to photograph artists and writers, as well as other celebrities in France, Italy, and the United States. His work appeared in Life, Paris Match, Elle, Harper's Bazaar,and Oggi. After returning to the United States and moving to Los Angeles, Roth continued photographing Hollywood personalities during his last years.

The Roth estate was left with thousands of negatives and these have been divided by his own widow in the following ways: Hollywood film stars to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, shots of Paris in the 1950s to a private collection, and those negatives of painters, sculptors, and writers to LACMA, when an amazing 6,329 negatives are preserved. This large group of negatives is maintained separately from actual photographic prints in the permanent collection. In this sense it is referenced as a "Study Collection" and it illustrates the many choices an artist makes in creating a final photographic print.