Nickolas Muray was born Miklós Mandl on15 February 1892, in Szeged, Hungary. He died in New York City on 2 November 1965, a Hungarian-American photographer and Olympic fencer.
Muray studied lithography in Budapest, Hungary, then took a three-year course in color photoengraving in Berlin. At the end of his course he went to work for the publisher Ullstein. In 1913, with the threat of war in Europe, he emigrated to New York City, and found work as a color printer in Brooklyn.
Muray competed in sabre fencing events for the United States at the 1928 and 1932 Summer Olympics representing the New York Athletic Club. He suffered a heart attack four years prior to his death while fencing at the club and saved by a fellow fencer and physician who performed open heart massage. In this very same fencing room, Muray suffered a final and fatal attack. A plaque in his honor is on display dedicated to his memory.
Nickolas Muray made over 10,000 portraits from 1920 to 1940. His 1938 portrait of Frida Kahlo, became his best known portrait. Muray and Kahlo began a ten-year love affair beginning in 1931 after his divorce from his second wife, and after Kahlo's marriage to Mexican muralist painter Diego Rivera. It outlived Muray's third marriage and Kahlo's divorce and remarriage to Rivera by one year, ending in 1941. Muray wanted to marry, but when it became apparent that Kahlo wanted Muray as a lover, not husband, Muray ended the affair and married his fourth wife, Peggy, though he and Kahlo remained good friends until her death in 1954.
After the stock market crash of 1929, Muray become a prominent commercial photographer for major national clients, though he did occasional portraits of celebrities in a diminishing market.