Saul Leiter was born in Pittsburgh in 1923, the son of a rabbi. Leiter’s interest in art began in his late teens, and at 23, he quit theology school and moved to New York to pursue painting. That year he met the Abstract Expressionist painter Richard Pousette-Dart, who was experimenting with photography. Leiter’s friendship with Pousette-Dart and, soon after, with W. Eugene Smith inspired his involvement with photography.
Leiter’s work is featured in the book The New York School: Photographs 1936-1963 by Jane Livingston and in Appearances: Fashion Photography Since 1945 by Martin Harrison. His work is in the collections of The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; The Art Institute of Chicago; The Baltimore Museum of Art; the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; and many other public and private collections. Starting in 2006 Leiter’s work has experienced a surge of popularity after a monograph, Early Color, was published. This book has been followed by a series of monographs and international exhibitions highlighting the depth and scope of Leiter’s work.
Saul Leiter lived and worked in New York until he passed away in November 2013.