Art Grossmann, 94; Photographer known for images of Gateway Arch

BY ROBERT A. COHN, Editor-in-Chief Emeritus

Art Grossmann, whose numerous photographs of the Gateway Arch helped popularize its image as the iconic symbol of St. Louis, died Tuesday, Sept. 24, at Delmar Gardens in Chesterfield.  He was 94, and had resided previously in Creve Coeur.  He had been diagnosed with dementia about nine years ago, according to his family.

Arthur Bernard Gross was a St. Louis native and a graduate of Central High School.  He worked for his father, a Prussian Jewish immigrant, who had been a sign painter and later the owner of an outboard motor boat business before entering a career in photography. 

Before World War II, he achieved commercial success as a wedding photographer, but longed to pursue a more “artistic” path with his camera.

He found his favorite and most commercially and aesthetically successful subject by publishing a guide book which contained illustrations of plans for the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial even before the 630-foot Arch, designed by famed architect Eero Saarinen, was completed in 1965.  Mr. Grossmann was described several years ago in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch having had “the longest continuous association with Arch photography.  In an interview, he described the Arch as “so simple, so clean, so completely different from every approach.”

Mr. Grossmann began to shoot photographs in color in 1959, when the four-color printing process was developed.  He started a business, the Argo Photo and Postcard Co., which became the primary distributor of souvenir post cards in St. Louis.  Besides the Arch, Mr. Grossmann took pictures of the St. Louis downtown skyline, the 1966 Busch Stadium, Pere Marquette State Park and the St. Louis Zoo.  He won praise for his photographs of the interior of Meramec Caverns, an intricate and challenging process involving a complicated rigging of lighting.

His companies sold over 1 million post cards at a cost of five cents per card.  He achieved his goal of distributing his pictures around the world.

A graveside service was held Friday at the B’nai Amoona Cemetery in University City.

Survivors include a son, Larry Grossmann of Columbia, Mo.; a daughter, Sandra Tobin, of Portland, Ore; a sister, Frances Hyman of St. Louis County; two grandchildren; and a great granddaughter.  His first wife, the former Connie Steiner, died in 1956.  His second wife, the former Ida Goodman, died in 1996.