High to Present Recently Acquired Prints by Photographer Brett Weston
July 9, 2015
ATLANTA, July 9, 2015 – The High Museum of Art will showcase 28 prints by the renowned mid-century American photographer Brett Weston in an exhibition on view from July 18, 2015, through Jan. 10, 2016.
More than 25 of the photographs to be on view entered the High’s collection in 2013 through an acquisition made possible with generous support from Atlanta photographer and philanthropist Lucinda W. Bunnen, the Brett Weston Archive, and the Archive’s president and founder, Christian Keesee. Spanning more than 50 years, the prints offer a broad view of the artist’s career and complement the High’s strong holdings of post-war American photography, including work by Weston’s colleagues Harry Callahan and Wynn Bullock.
“In recent years, we have had great success increasing the depth of the Museum’s monographic holdings by some of the 20th century’s most noteworthy photographers,” said Brett Abbott, the High’s Keough Family curator of photography. “These important photographs are a significant addition to the High’s collection, and we are delighted to exhibit them for the first time at the Museum.”
Brett Weston is the second son of influential, early 20th-century photographer Edward Weston, who taught his son to use a large-format camera when he was a teenager in 1925. Just four years later, the young artist gained international recognition when a group of his photographs was featured in the 1929 German exhibition “Film und Foto,” a paramount avant-garde exhibition held between the two World Wars. Weston continued to gain prominence throughout the mid-20th century, becoming well known for his stylistically coherent approach to a wide range of subjects including cityscapes, landscapes and abstractions.
Much of Weston’s early work focused on urban spaces in New York and San Francisco. Even amidst the man-made structures of New York, however, trees and other vegetation feature prominently in his photos. Later in his career, Weston would turn more explicitly to nature, photographing scenery close to his home near Carmel, Calif., and during his travels across the United States, Japan, Mexico and Europe. He concentrated on elemental forms found in nature, removed from their larger contexts to create abstract images of astounding beauty and mystery.
Key photographs in the exhibition include:
- “Dune, Oceano” (1934) – In this photograph, Weston explores a motif that would return throughout his career: the sand dune. Weston’s work influenced other photographers, including his father, to explore the compositional possibilities of the naturally created forms.
- “Bridge Support and Trees, New York” (ca. 1940) – This photograph demonstrates Weston’s approach of focusing closely on structures he found in urban environments, presenting interesting visual contrasts between man-made and natural forms.
- “Ice Formation” (1955) – By tightly framing textures embedded in a sheet of ice, Weston reduces the subject to pure form in this photograph, creating a disorienting, abstract image.
About the High Museum of Art Photography Collection
The High is home to the most robust photography program in the southeastern United States. The Museum began acquiring photographs in the early 1970s, making it one of the earliest American art museums to commit to collecting the medium. Today, photography is the largest and fastest growing collection at the High. With more than 6,000 prints, holdings focus on American work of the 20th and 21st centuries, with special strength in modernist traditions, documentary genre and contemporary photography. Holdings include the most significant museum collection of vintage Civil Rights–era prints in the nation as well as important photographs by Harry Callahan, Clarence John Laughlin, William Christenberry, Ralph Gibson, Richard Misrach, Walker Evans and Peter Sekaer. The collection also gives special attention to pictures made in and of the South, serving as the largest and most significant repository representing the region’s important contributions to the history of photography. Since 1996, the High’s distinctive “Picturing the South” initiative has commissioned established and emerging photographers to produce work inspired by the area’s geographical and cultural landscape. Past participants include Sally Mann, Dawoud Bey, Emmet Gowin, Alex Webb, Alec Soth and Abelardo Morell, whose commissions have all been added to the High’s permanent collection.
About the High Museum of Art
The High is the leading art museum in the southeastern United States. With more than 15,000 works of art in its permanent collection, the High Museum of Art has an extensive anthology of 19th- and 20th-century American art; a significant collection of historic and contemporary decorative arts and design; significant holdings of European paintings; a growing collection of African American art; and burgeoning collections of modern and contemporary art, photography, folk and self-taught art, and African art. The High is also dedicated to supporting and collecting works by Southern artists. For more information about the High, visit high.org.
About The Woodruff Arts Center
The Woodruff Arts Center is one of the largest arts centers in the world, home to the Tony Award–winning Alliance Theatre, the Grammy Award–winning Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and the High Museum of Art, the leading art museum in the Southeast. Each year, these centers of artistic excellence play host to more than 1.2 million patrons at The Woodruff Arts Center’s midtown Atlanta location, one of the only arts centers in the United States to host both visual and performing arts on a single campus. The Woodruff Arts Center also offers remarkable educational programming through each of its arts partners. Through the combined efforts of its arts partners, The Woodruff Arts Center serves more than 300,000 students annually and is the largest arts educator in Georgia. www.woodruffcenter.org
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Anne Randolph Powell
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