Roy Schatt

1909-2002

Roy Schatt is a New York City born artist who pursued a lifelong, passionate career in the arts. Schatt studied under N.C. Wyeth, painted murals during the WPA, and used his artistic skill while stationed with the Army in India. After the war, he returned to NYC where he worked in a variety of creative positions, taking up advertising, acting, illustration, and photography. Schatt was influenced by renowned photographers Erich Salomon, Edward Weston, Cartier-Bresson, and Ansel Adams. Roy Schatt’s photographs have been exhibited at the International Center of Photography, NY, National Portrait Gallery, Washington, DC, Art Institute of Chicago, IL, and included in numerous other national and international exhibitions.

Schatt is best known for his remarkable photographs of James Dean with whom he developed a special friendship. As a fellow actor and with a great interest in photography, Dean formed a special bond with Schatt and wanted to learn about art from him. About the beginning of their relationship, Schatt states, “He was a squinty schlump of a person all bent over. Then Dean suddenly got up and this ugly person became a dream, an Adonis who started to dance around the room. It was a transition I couldn’t believe. (…) During our first meeting Jim asked me if I would shoot him, not as a regular session, but to document his activities. It soon developed that he wanted to shoot me as well, so we began classes.”

During the course of their yearlong friendship cut short by Dean’s tragic death, Schatt captured the iconic Torn Sweater series portraits, as well as other images of Dean in personal moments playing the bongos at a party, pretending to steal candy from a newsstand or practicing the art of photography using Schatt and actor friends as his subjects. Schatt also remembers how the darkroom, which Dean found tedious and boring, offered them the opportunity to speak about a wide range of topics. “Dean and I often talked about art to get him through the session. He was particularly curious about people who were able to communicate their perceptions or idea in a bold or unusual way. We often discussed artists of different disciplines, one time talking about photographers, another time a painter, another a writer.” Roy summarizes their relationship cut short by Dean’s death in these words: “I knew James Dean from February 1954 until he died in September 1955. I knew him as a friend and as a student. He was a disrupter of norms, a bender of rules, a disquieter of calm. Through the following pictures and vignettes, I hope to transmit a glimpse of his most insistent, and perhaps eternal, presence”.

Photographs of James Dean © Roy Schatt CMG

Roy Schatt
Roy Schatt

James Dean “Torn Sweater” Series photograph 1954 [printed later] gelatin silver print, edition of 65, signed paper size > 20 x 18 inches image size > 18 x 14 inches

Roy Schatt
Roy Schatt

James Dean in window with cigarette, ABC Studios photograph 1954 [printed later] gelatin silver print, edition of 65, signed paper size > 16 x 20 inches. image size > 14 x 18 inches

Roy Schatt
Roy Schatt

James Dean “Torn Sweater” series photo 1954 [printed later] archival pigment print, signed paper size > 37 x 45 inches. image size > 27 x 35 inches

Roy Schatt
Roy Schatt

James Dean, ABC Studios photograph 1954 (printed later) gelatin silver print, edition of 65, signed paper size > 20 x 16 inches

Roy Schatt
Roy Schatt

James Dean photograph 1954 (printed later) gelatin silver print, edition of 65, signed paper size > 20 x 16 inches

Roy Schatt
Roy Schatt

James Dean, ABC Studios photograph 1954 (printed later) gelatin silver print, edition of 65, signed paper size > 20 x 16 inches

Roy Schatt
Roy Schatt

James Dean photograph 1954 (printed later) gelatin silver print, edition of 65, signed paper size > 20 x 16 inches

Roy Schatt
Roy Schatt

James Dean in his apartment, NYC photograph 1954 (printed later) gelatin silver print, edition of 65, signed paper size > 20 x 16 inches

Roy Schatt
Roy Schatt

James Dean, 68th Street photograph 1954 (printed later) gelatin silver print, edition of 65, signed paper size > 20 x 16 inches

Roy Schatt
Roy Schatt

James Dean, New York City photograph 1954 (printed later) gelatin silver print, edition of 65, signed paper size > 20 x 16 inches

Roy Schatt
Roy Schatt

James Dean with his camera photograph 1954 (printed later) gelatin silver print, edition of 65, signed paper size > 20 x 16 inches

Roy Schatt
Roy Schatt

James Dean "Torn Sweater" Series photograph 1954 (printed later) gelatin silver print, edition of 65, signed paper size > 20 x 16 inches

Roy Schatt
Roy Schatt

James Dean "Torn Sweater" Series photograph 1954 (printed later) gelatin silver print, edition of 65, signed paper size > 20 x 16 inches

Roy Schatt
Roy Schatt

James Dean "Torn Sweater" Series photograph 1954 (printed later) gelatin silver print, edition of 65, signed paper size > 20 x 16 inches

Roy Schatt
Roy Schatt

James Dean "Torn Sweater" Series photograph 1954 (printed later) gelatin silver print, edition of 65, signed paper size > 20 x 16 inches

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During the 1950s, Roy Schatt lived in Greenwich Village, the vibrant artistic playground of many influential creative personalities. Because of Schatt’s forte for portrait photography coupled with his sensibility as an actor, he was able to capture the most genuine emotions of his subjects, whether actors or members of the cultural milieu. As such, famed director Lee Strasberg named Schatt the Official Photographer of the Actor’s Studio—recognizing the caliber of his photography. 

Schatt’s estate includes never before seen photographs of members of The Actors Studio during the 1950’s as well as many other images of personalities active in the New York theatrical community, such as Elia Kazan, Lee Strasberg, Paul Newman, Marilyn Monroe, Geraldine Page, Tennessee Williams, Steve McQueen, Rod Steiger, Sidney Poitier, Joanne Woodward, Martin Landau, Arthur Miller, Jerry Stiller, Anne Meara, Ben Gazzara, Maureen Stapleton and many other creative individuals (John Cassavetes, Dorothy Parker, Brendan Behan, Lillian Hellman, Lorne Greene, Andy Griffith, Bud Schulberg, William Saroyan and Marlene Dietrich).

Roy Schatt
Roy Schatt

Marilyn Monroe at The Actors Studio photo 1956 [printed later] gelatin silver print, stamped paper size > 15.75 x 20 inches

Roy Schatt
Roy Schatt

Marilyn at The Actors' Studio photograph 1955 (printed later) archival pigment print, AP, stamped by The Estate of Roy Schatt paper size > 20 x 16 inches

Roy Schatt
Roy Schatt

Marilyn Monroe in a Café, New York City photo 1956 [printed later] gelatin silver print, signed, stamped paper size > 20 x 16 inches

Roy Schatt
Roy Schatt

Marilyn Monroe at THE ACTORS STUDIO photograph 1956 [printed later] gelatin silver print, signed, stamped, 20 x 16 inches © Roy Schatt WESTWOOD GALLERY NYC

Roy Schatt
Roy Schatt

Marilyn in Rain Hat Exiting The Actors Studio photograph 1955 (printed later) archival pigment print, AP, stamped by The Estate of Roy Schatt paper size > 20 x 16 inches

Roy Schatt
Roy Schatt

Marilyn Monroe at THE ACTORS STUDIO photograph 1956 [printed later] gelatin silver print, signed, stamped, 16 x 20 inches © Roy Schatt WESTWOOD GALLERY NYC

Roy Schatt
Roy Schatt

Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller at a reception photo circa 1956 [printed later] gelatin silver print, signed, stamped paper size > 14 x 10.75

Roy Schatt
Roy Schatt

Geraldine Page. Member of THE ACTORS STUDIO (photograph circa 1955) [printed later] sepia-toned gelatin silver print, signed, stamped paper size > 15.25 x 19.5 inches image size > 14.5 x 17.25 inches

Roy Schatt
Roy Schatt

Geraldine Page. Member of THE ACTORS STUDIO (photograph circa 1955) [printed later] sepia-toned gelatin silver print, signed, stamped paper size > 15.25 x 19.5 inches image size > 14.5 x 17.25 inches

Roy Schatt
Roy Schatt

Maureen Stapleton. Member of THE ACTORS STUDIO (circa 1960s) [printed later] Sepia toned gelatin silver print, signed, stamped paper size > 16 x 19.75 inches image size > 14.5 x 19 inches

Roy Schatt
Roy Schatt

Dorothy Parker, poet and short story writer photograph circa 1955 gelatin silver print, mounted, signed, stamped size > 12.5 x 14.25 inches

Roy Schatt
Roy Schatt

Joanne Woodward. Member of THE ACTORS STUDIO photograph 1955 sepia toned vintage gelatin silver print, mounted, stamped size > 15.25 x 12.25 inches

Roy Schatt
Roy Schatt

Ben Gazzara and Shelley Winters in ‘A Hatful of Rain’ Members of THE ACTORS STUDIO photograph 1955 vintage gelatin silver print mounted on rag board, stamped size > 13 x 10 inches

Roy Schatt
Roy Schatt

Ann Meara and Jerry Stiller. Members of THE ACTORS STUDIO photograph circa 1950s vintage gelatin silver print, mounted, stamped size > 12.75 x 16.5 inches

Roy Schatt
Roy Schatt

Eva Gabor and Clarence Derwent in Frank Wedekind’s play Lulu photograph 1958 vintage gelatin silver print, mounted, stamped size > 13 x 16 inches

Roy Schatt
Roy Schatt

Director Sidney Lumet directing Lorne Green photograph 1953 [printed later] gelatin silver print, stamped paper size > 7.8 x 9.8 inches image size > 8.25 x 7.25 inches

Roy Schatt
Roy Schatt

John Cassavetes and Martin Landau on the set of the TV show “1984” [photograph 1953] vintage gelatin silver print, stamped paper size > 9.25 x 13.25 inches [no borders]

Roy Schatt
Roy Schatt

Leonard Bernstein, composer and conductor (photograph circa 1950s) [reprinted 2002[ gelatin silver print, signed, stamped paper size > 16 x 20 inches image size > 14 x 18 inches

Roy Schatt
Roy Schatt

Lee Strasberg, actor, director, teacher (father of “Method Acting, The Actors Studio) photograph 1955 vintage gelatin silver print, mounted, stamped, initialled paper size > 10.25 x 12.5 inches [no border]

Roy Schatt
Roy Schatt

Brendan Behan, playwright photograph Paris 1959 vintage gelatin silver print, mounted, stamped, signed size > 15.25 x 11.25 inches

Roy Schatt
Roy Schatt

Arthur Miller. Member of THE ACTORS STUDIO [photograph circa 1950s] vintage gelatin silver print, stamped paper size > 8 x 10 inches image size > 7.5 x 9.5 inches

Roy Schatt
Roy Schatt

Steve McQueen in Roy’s studio / apartment contact sheet, 12 images photograph circa late 1950s vintage gelatin silver print, stamped paper size > 8 x 10 inches

Roy Schatt
Roy Schatt

Marlene Dietrich with Eva Gabor [photograph circa 1950s] [printed later] gelatin silver print, stamped paper size > 8 x 9.75 inches image size > 7.5 x 9.25 inches

Roy Schatt
Roy Schatt

Lillian Hellman, playwright circa 1952 [printed later] gelatin silver print, signed, stamped paper size > 19.75 x 16 inches image size > 17.75 x 14 inches

Roy Schatt
Roy Schatt

Roy Schatt in front of a Howard Zieff ad, where Ray is the model photograph circa 1954 [printed late 1980s] gelatin silver print, stamped paper size > 10 x 8 inches image size > 8.5 x 7.5 inches

Roy Schatt
Roy Schatt

Marilyn Monroe at The Actors’ Studio with Susan Strasberg photograph circa 1956 vintage gelatin silver print mounted on ragboard, signed, stamped paper size > 12.5 x 7.5 inches

Roy Schatt
Roy Schatt

Geraldine Page, Kim Stanley and Shirley Knight standing in front of the marquee for The Three Sisters at THE ACTORS STUDIO Theater photograph 1953, gelatin silver print, stamped paper size > 14 x 11 inches image size > 11.75 x 8.5 inches

Roy Schatt
Roy Schatt

Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, members of THE ACTORS STUDIO, with screenwriter James Costigan in front of The Actor's Studio Theater marquee for 'Baby Want a Kiss' photograph 1964 vintage gelatin silver print, stamped paper size > 11 x 14 inches. image size > 9.5 x 13.75 inches

Roy Schatt
Roy Schatt

Arthur Miller backstage at “Circle in the Square” Member of THE ACTORS STUDIO photograph 1953 vintage gelatin silver print, mounted, signed, stamped overall size > 13 x 16 inches, no border

Roy Schatt
Roy Schatt

Co-founder Elia Kazan in front of THE ACTORS STUDIO photograph 1955 vintage gelatin silver print, mounted, stamped size > 9.75 x 12.5 inches, no border

Roy Schatt
Roy Schatt

Lee Strasberg, actor, director, teacher (father of “Method Acting, The Actors Studio) photograph 1955 vintage gelatin silver print, mounted, stamped, initialled paper size > 10.25 x 12.5 inches

Roy Schatt
Roy Schatt

Steve McQueen smoking in Roy’s 33rd Street apartment/studio (photograph circa late 1950s) [printed later] gelatin silver print, signed, stamped paper size > 20 x 16 inches image size > 19 x 15 inches

Roy Schatt
Roy Schatt

Sidney Poitier. Member of The Actors’ Studio (circa early 1960s) [printed later] selenium toned gelatin silver print, mounted, signed, stamped paper size > 19.75 x 16 inches image size > 18.5 x 14.5 inches

Roy Schatt
Roy Schatt

Rod Steiger under the 3rd Avenue El. Member of THE ACTORS STUDIO photograph late 1950s - early 1960s [printed later] gelatin silver print, signed, stamped paper size > 20 x 15.75 inches image size >18.25 x 13.75 inches

Roy Schatt
Roy Schatt

Paul Newman at The Actors Studio photograph 1955 [printed 1984] gelatin silver print mounted on rag board, signed, stamped Print size > 12 x 16.5 inches

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Schatt’s work has been exhibited at Manhattan’s International Center for Photography, the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC, the Chicago Institute of Art, and many other museums. In January 1955, Edward Steichen’s choice for the Museum of Modern Art’s collection was a Roy Schatt photograph.

© The Estate of Roy Schatt