Drawn from the Private Collection of Michael Mattis and Judith Hochberg
Graham Howe, Curator
Edward Weston: Life Work is a 99-image survey of this great American artist, containing an outstanding grouping of vintage prints from all phases of Weston’s five-decade career. Previously unpublished masterpieces are interspersed with well-known signature images. A striking 1909 outdoor Pictorialist study of his wife Flora is perhaps Weston's first nude. A 1907 landscape features a cow skull in the Mojave desert and presages by thirty years his later interest in death in the desert. A smoky view of the Chicago River harbor, from 1916, pays homage to Coburn and Stieglitz, and anticipates the urban modernism famously captured by Armco Steel, Ohio, 1922, which marked Weston’s final break from the confines of Pictorialism and studio work, and the emergence of a sharply focused style.
“To survey chronologically his oeuvre is to witness a purposeful and heroic shelling away of subjective addenda, of all the trimming that, to the average observer, transmutes a photograph into a work of art,” wrote the Mexican painter Jean Charlot in the 1932 monograph. In the mid-1920's Weston unleashed his newly trimmed-down approach in Mexico with Tina Reciting, Heaped Black Ollas, and Excusado. Upon his return to Glendale in 1927, Weston continued to experiment with pure form and disconcerting scale shifts in his long exposures of shells, peppers, mushrooms, radishes and kelp. These studies segue naturally into a remarkable set of sculptural nudes done in 1933 and 1934.
Subsequently Weston pulled back and loosened up his style considerably, as he turned to the open landscape. This exhibit includes an important suite of six dune studies made near Oceano, California from 1934 to 1946. In addition to landscapes and studies of desert detritus made with the support of a Guggenheim grant, portraits of prominent artistic and literary figures are also well represented. The chronological survey concludes with Weston's consummate final photograph, nicknamed The Dody Rocks, 1948.
NUMBER OF WORKS: 99
TOUR DATES: December 2001 - June 2007
PUBLICATION: Publication, Lodima Press, 2003