Exceptional Color Photographs at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

William Christenberry. Pure Oil Sign in Landscape near Marion, Alabama. 1977

The Julien Levy Gallery of the Philadelphia Museum of Art will host a superb exhibition «Mavericks of Color: Photographs from the Collection». The event presents a rare look at more than fifty photographs from the museum’s collection by devoted fans of color photography: William Christenberry, William Eggleston, Joel Meyerowitz and Eliot Porter. The work of these «mavericks» was startling and revolutionary at a time when the carefully composed, meticulously printed black and white photograph was the standard for the medium.

Eliot Porter – the eldest from participating photographers – began experimenting with color photography in 1940. His first solo exhibition «Birds in Color: Flashlight Photographs by Eliot Porter» took place at The Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1943. By the early 1950s, he was publishing his color pictures extensively in a variety of magazines and journals. Featured in this exhibition are selections from his 1972 portfolio «Iceland» and the dynamic 1977 portfolio «Birds in Flight».
Joel Meyerowitz. New York City. 1976

William Christenberry came to photography as a painter. He often returns to the same subjects, photographing the effects of time, weather and neglect. The photographs in this exhibition were previously featured in Christenberry’s solo show at this museum in 1991, «William Christenberry: Photographs».

William Eggleston was inspired by the photographs by Robert Frank, Henri Cartier-Bresson and Walker Evans and first started photographing with black and white film. Intrigued by the possibilities of color photography, he struck up a friendship with Christenberry. Among his iconic works on view are powerful images of seemingly simple subjects – a red ceiling punctuated by a single bare light bulb or a tricycle abandoned on the sidewalk.

Joel Meyerowitz was working as an art director and designer in New York City when he became excited about the possibilities of photography. Drawn to the bright signs and unrest of the city, Meyerowitz worked in the tradition of street photography, first working with black and white film before turning in earnest to color printing in 1973.

Published in: on July 21, 2005 at 5:22 am  Leave a Comment  

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