Exhibition of photographs by an unsung hero of color
Starting October 27, 2007, M+B Fine Arts in Los Angeles (corrected 09/28/07) will present a special exhibition of color photographs by Saul Leiter, in the exhibition Early Color. Taken from 1948 to 1960, these images represent an ahead-of-its-time mastery of color that has largely gone unnoticed for four decades. Based on the photographic book of the same name, released early 2006, the exhibition has been traveling the country for the past couple of years.
From M+B's press release:
“(Leiter) met the Abstract Expressionist painter Richard Pousette-Dart, who was experimenting with photography. Leiter's friendship with Pousette-Dart, and soon after with W. Eugene Smith, and the photography exhibitions he saw in New York, particularly Henri Cartier-Bresson at the Museum of Modern Art in 1947, inspired his growing involvement with photography.”
Leiter's first exhibition of photography came as part of Edward Steichen's 1953 survey of black-and-white photography at New York's Museum of Modern Art, Always the Young Stranger. His first exhibition of color photography took place later that decade at the Artist's Club, which would come to be associated with the society of expressionist artists that formed in the early twentieth century and would cede its territory, often bitterly and unwillingly, to the rising consumerist notions of contemporary art in New York.
The confluence of styles and perspectives coming from artists working in so many mediums, from painting to photography, may have led to Leiter's revolutionary interpretation of color in his images. In a time when black and white was still moving past its status as curious invention into the realm of fine art, Leiter was doing more than hand coloring, in which the composition of the original image remains the basis: his images were about color.
Click here to find out more about this exhibition.