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August Photo of the Month: Vintage Urban

Al Urban vintage male nude George Kuchler

From the studio of Al Urban, one of the three great masters of early American physique photography (alongside Edwin Townsend and Earle Forbes). This photo of model George Kuchler from the late 1930’s is an astounding composition of muscle contraction and meditative poise. 

With the back of his left hand resting gently against his thigh, his gaze contemplative, Kuchler keeps every muscle taught. And Urban, famous for taking up to six hours to set up an image, was perhaps the best of the three at capturing this exquisite tension. 

The photo is an original Urban print, documented on Urban’s Catalog No. 4 (image 21). It is unsigned (no male nudes were signed for fear of arrest). On double weight fiber paper with a high silver content, it’s in good condition with slight distress at the four corners and a faint curving mark upper right side (please see scan). 4 5/8" x 7 1/4."

Thanks to Reed Massengill for help with identifying this photo and supplying the catalog image.

Comments on this post (1)

  • Aug 14, 2020

    Wow, what an interesting back story and referencing on such a handsome gentleman, the courage and valor for him to do something he loved in the 1930’s . thank you for sharing George Kuchler’s story

    — Bruce Smith

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