December 12, 2009 – March 28, 2010
Paton | Smith | Della Penna-Fernberger Galleries
Edward Weston: Life Work was a rare opportunity to experience the life and work of one of the great American photographers. This exhibit of more than a hundred prints featured an outstanding selection of vintage photographs from all phases of Weston's five-decade career, from his first nude in 1909 to his final landscape made near his home at Point Lobos, California, in 1948. Previously unknown masterpieces were interspersed with well-known signature images, including landscapes, figure work, portraits of prominent artistic and literary figures, and the famous studies of green peppers and other natural forms.
Weston began his career as a studio photographer working in the soft-focus mode known as Pictorialism, and ended as the quintessential Modernist practitioner of sharp-focus "straight" photography. His career thus reflects the evolution of photography in the first half of the twentieth century. As the artist and cultural critic Merle Armitage said, "At precisely the same time that Frank Lloyd Wright uttered the then-blasphemous words that 'the machine is no less, rather more, an artist's tool, if only he would do himself the honor of learning to use it,' another American artist was finding in a machine the medium through which he would help us to become aware of the beauty and the significance of the commonplace. That man was Edward Weston."
Edward Weston: Life Work was drawn from the significant private collection of Michael Mattis and Judith Hochberg. Most of the works were acquired from members of the Weston family, including a large collection from his daughter-in-law Dody Weston Thompson, as well as a Weston family album incorporating rare early self-portraits and landscapes. The accompanying monograph, published by Lodima Press, contains insightful essays by art historian Sarah M. Lowe and Dody Weston Thompson.