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1905 Born Breslau, Germany
1914-1923 Attends Johannes Gymnasium, Breslau, Germany. Abiturium.
1923-1927 Receives B.A., Staatliche Akademie fur Kunst und  Kunstgewerbe zu Breslau,Germany.  Studies with Otto Mueller as a master student.
1926 Meets Erich Heckel. Travels to London.
1926-1927 Studies art history and philosophy at Schlesische Friedrich Wilhelms Universitat zu Breslau.
1927 Exhibits paintings at Schlesischer Kunstlerbund and in Junge Talente,  at the Museum der Bildenden Kunste, Breslau, Germany. Moves to Berlin.
1928 Receives M.A., Preussisches Schulkollegium for Hohere Erziehung, Berlin.
1928-1931 Travels in Europe.

Post-graduate studies at Humboldt Universitat zu Berlin and Berliner Akademie der Bildenden Kunste.

Solo exhibition of paintings and drawings, Gallerie Gurlitt, Berlin (1931). Included in exhibitions of Berliner Secession and Preussische Akademie der Kunste. Teaches art at various schools in Berlin.

1933 Leaves Germany; begins to photograph. Signs contract as photojournalist with Presse-Foto, Berlin. Journey to San Francisco via the Panama Canal.
1934 Joins California Camera Club, San Francisco, to use their darkroom facilities,  meets many members, mostly of the Pictorialist school. Travels along U.S. west coast to British Columbia. Photographs published in international magazines. Meets Walter Heil, an advocate for modern art, fellow German émigré, and director of the M.H. De Young Memorial Museum, San Francisco.
1935 Solo exhibition of drawings and watercolors, Paul Elder Gallery, San Francisco, under the directorship of Howard Putzel.
1936 Teaches art part-time, San Francisco State College. Travels across United States from San Francsisco to New York. Stops include Reno, Salt Lake City, Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Atlanta, New Orleans, San Antonio, Tucson, San Diego and Los Angeles before returning to San Francisco. Ceases affiliation with Presse-Foto and begins work with Pix Inc., New York. Meets George Grosz during stay in New York.
1937 Returns to San Francisco. Continues teaching art part-time, San Francisco State College. Solo exhibition of drawings and paintings, San Francisco Museum of Art. Solo exhibition of drawings, Delphic Studios, New York.
1937-1962 Photographs published in Saturday Evening Post, Life, Time, Look, Picture Post, National Geographic, Pictorial Press, Coronet, Asia, U.S. Camera Annuals and other national and international  magazines and periodicals.
1938 Appointed Assistant Professor of Art, San Francisco State College. Establishes studio courses and a comprehensive scholarly course on history of modern art. Solo exhibition of photographs, Colorful America, M.H. de Young Memorial Museum, San Francisco, circulated nationally. Solo exhibition of watercolors and drawings, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan.
1939  Exhibited in Contemporary Art, Golden Gate International Exposition, San Francisco(see American Magazine of Art, The America Federation of Arts, vol, 32, no. 3, 1939, p,185). Meets and photographs Laszlo Moholy-Nagy.
1940 Meets and photographs Fernand Leger.
1941 Solo exhibition of photographs, Wondrous World, M.H. de Young Memorial Museum, San Francisco. Exhibited in Image of Freedom, The Museum of Modern Art, New York.
1942 Two-man exhibition, Paintings by John Gutmann and Karl Baumann, San Francisco Museum of Art
1942-1945 Staff photographer for The Dispatch, Camp Roberts, California. Serves with U.S. Army Signal Corps as still and motion picture cameraman after graduating from the Signal Corps Motion Picture School, Astoria, New York. 
1943-1945 Serves overseas in the China-Burma-India Theatre, U.S. Office of War Information with the Psychological Warfare Team.
1946 Returns to teaching. Establishes a creative photography program at San Francisco State College.
1947 Solo exhibition of photographs, The Face of the Orient. M.H. de Young Memorial Museum, San Francisco.
1949 Appointed Associate Professor of Art, San Francisco State College. Produces two documentary films, The Chinese Peasant Goes to Market  and Journey to Kunming.

Marries artist Gerrie von Pribosic. 

1949-1963 Founder of international film program, Art Movies, San Francisco State College. Directs programs of international experimental, documentary, art, and early classic films.
1949-1990 Frequent travels to New York City.
1950 Travels to Mexico; post-graduate work at the University of Mexico.
1955 Appointed full Professor of Art, San Francisco State College.
1956 Meets Wynn Bullock.
1957 Extensive still photography and motion picture footage on modern architecture in Europe during seven month tour through Portugal, Spain, Morocco, France, Italy, Germany, Holland, Belgium and England.
1960 Travels to Mexico.
1962-1972 Little work in photography due to prolonged illness, but continues teaching 1965-1973.     
1968 Honored for Distinquished Teaching by the California State Colleges.
1970 Visits Berlin for the first time since 1933. Visits Oslo (Edvard Munch Museum), Norway, and northern European capitals.
1972 Starts to reprint early negatives.
1973 Retires from full-time teaching; named Professor Emeritus at San Francisco State University (formerly San Francisco State College).
1974 Solo exhibition of photographs, John Gutmann, Light Gallery, New York.
1976 Solo exhibition of photographs, as i saw it, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Two-man exhibition, John Gutmann and Walker Evans, Vintage Photographs of the 1930s, Phoenix Gallery, San Francisco.
1977 Receives Guggenheim Fellowship in photography for proposed series of photographic     images dealing with the visual use of language and popular emblems in American life during the 1930s and 1940s.
1979 Exhibits nationally and internationally in many solo and important invitational group shows. Work acquired by many museums and private collections.
1983 Produced documentary film, Le Palais Ideal, edited by Karen Holmes.
1984 Published The Restless Decade: John Gutmann's Photographs of the Thirties. Harry N. Abrams, Inc., Publishers, New York. Edited by Lew Thomas with essay by Max Kozloff.
1985 Retrospective exhibition and catalogue:GUTMANN, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto. Continues printing and organizing archive of life's work. Participates actively in exhibiting and publishing.
1989 Travels to Barcelona, Spain for opening of exhibition, John Gutmann, 99 Fotografies.

Solo exhibition, John Gutmann: Beyond the Document, San Francisco Museum of Modern, Art, exhibiton travels to Museum of Modern Art, New York; Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oblerin Ohio; Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

1990 Travels to New York City for opening of exhibition, John Gutmann: Beyond the Document, at the Museum of Modern Art and concurrent show of Talking Pictures, 1934-1989, at Castelli Graphics.
1995 Exhibits, Prelude to Photography, paintings and drawings done in Germany and American in the late 1920s through the 1930s at the M.H. de Young Memorial Museum, San Francisco. Simultaneous exhibit of drawings from the same period at 871 Fine Arts Gallery, San Francisco.  Exhibition entitled, Death, at Fraenkel Gallery, of vintage photographs, plus prints and objects from Gutmann's collections.
1996 Paperback edition of The Restless Decade: John Gutmann's Photographs of the Thirties published by Harry N. Abrams, Inc., Publishers, New York.
1997 Exhibition John Gutmann Parallels in Focus, San Francisco State University,  an exhibition of photographs, paintings and drawings, films and ephemera honoring his career and contributions to the school.
1998 Dies June 12, San Francisco, California