Berenice Abbott (July 17, 1898 – December 9, 1991), née Bernice Alice Abbott, was an American photographer best known for her portraits of between-the-wars 20th century cultural figures, New York City photographs of architecture and urban design of the 1930s, and science interpretation in the 1940s to 1960s.
Abbott by Hank O'Neal in New York City, November 18, 1979
July 17, 1898
|Died||December 9, 1991 (aged 93)|
Monson, Maine, US
|Resting place||New Blanchard Cemetery, Blanchard, Maine, U.S.|
She attended Ohio State University for two semesters, but left in early 1918 when her professor was dismissed because he was a German teaching an English class. In Paris, she became an assistant to Man Ray, who wanted someone with no previous knowledge of photography.
Her university studies included theater and sculpture., She spent two years studying sculpture in Paris and Berlin. She studied at the Académie de la Grande Chaumiere in Paris and the Prussian Academy of Arts in Berlin. During this time, she adopted the French spelling of her first name, "Berenice," at the suggestion of Djuna Barnes. In addition to her work in the visual arts, Abbott published poetry in the experimental literary journal transition. Abbott first became involved with photography in 1923, when Man Ray hired her as a darkroom assistant at his portrait studio in Montparnasse. Later, she wrote: "I took to photography like a duck to water. I never wanted to do anything else." Ray was impressed by her darkroom work and allowed her to use his studio to take her own photographs. In 1921 her first major works was in an exhibition in the Parisian gallery Le Sacre du Printemps. After a short time studying photography in Berlin, she returned to Paris in 1927 and started a second studio, on the rue Servandoni.
Abbott's subjects were people in the artistic and literary worlds, including French nationals (Jean Cocteau), expatriates (James Joyce), and others just passing through the city. According to Sylvia Beach, "To be 'done' by Man Ray or Berenice Abbott meant you rated as somebody". Abbott's work was exhibited with that of Man Ray, André Kertész, and others in Paris, in the "Salon de l'Escalier" (more formally, the Premier Salon Indépendant de la Photographie), and on the staircase of the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées. Her portraiture was unusual within exhibitions of modernist photography held in 1928–1929 in Brussels and Germany.
In 1925, Man Ray introduced her to Eugène Atget's photographs. She became interested in Atget's work, and managed to persuade him to sit for a portrait in 1927. He died shortly thereafter. She acquired the prints and negatives remaining in Eugène Atget's studio at his death in 1927. While the government acquired much of Atget's archive — Atget had sold 2,621 negatives in 1920, and his friend and executor André Calmettes sold 2,000 more immediately after his death — Abbott was able to buy the remainder in June, 1928, and quickly started work on its promotion. An early tangible result was the 1930 book Atget, photographe de Paris, in which she is described as photo editor. Due to a lack of funding, Abbott sold a one-half interest in the collection to Julien Levy for $1,000. Abbott's work on Atget's behalf would continue until her sale of the archive to the Museum of Modern Art in 1968. In addition to her book The World of Atget (1964), she provided the photographs for A Vision of Paris (1963), published a portfolio, Twenty Photographs, and wrote essays. Her sustained efforts helped Atget gain international recognition.
In early 1929, Abbott visited New York City, ostensibly to find an American publisher for Atget's photographs. After New York when she was doing portrait photography most of the time, she moved on to documentary photography. Upon seeing the city again, Abbott recognized its photographic potential. She went back to Paris, closed up her studio, and returned to New York in September. She was a central figure that created bridge with photographic hubs in New York City. Her first photographs of the city were taken with a hand-held Kurt-Bentzin camera, but soon she acquired a Century Universal camera which produced 8 × 10 inch negatives. Using this large format camera, Abbott photographed New York City with the diligence and attention to detail she had so admired in Eugène Atget. Atget died in 1927 and she bought all his work which contained over 5000 negatives and glass slides from him and brought it to New York in 1929. Her work has provided a historical chronicle of many now-destroyed buildings and neighborhoods of Manhattan. Her work appeared in an exhibition "Changing New York" at the Museum Of City in 1937. This was a book made to show the transformation of New York City. She focused more on the physical part of the transformation rather than the mental part of it, such as the change of neighborhoods and the replacement of skyscrapers to low rise buildings.
Abbott worked on her New York project independently for six years, unable to get financial support from organizations (such as the Museum of the City of New York), foundations (such as the Guggenheim Foundation), or individuals. She supported herself with commercial work and teaching at the New School of Social Research beginning in 1933.
In 1935, Abbott was hired by the Federal Art Project (FAP) as a project supervisor for her "Changing New York" project. She continued to take the photographs of the city, but she had assistants to help her both in the field and in the office. This arrangement allowed Abbott to devote all her time to producing, printing, and exhibiting her photographs. By the time she resigned from the FAP in 1939, she had produced 305 photographs that were then deposited at the Museum of the City of New York. Abbott's project was primarily a sociological study embedded within modernist aesthetic practices. She sought to create a broadly inclusive collection of photographs that together suggest a vital interaction between three aspects of urban life: the diverse people of the city; the places they live, work and play; and their daily activities. It was intended to empower people by making them realize that their environment was a consequence of their collective behavior (and vice versa). Moreover, she avoided the merely pretty in favor of what she described as "fantastic" contrasts between the old and the new, and chose her camera angles and lenses to create compositions that either stabilized a subject (if she approved of it), or destabilized it (if she scorned it).
Abbott's ideas about New York were highly influenced by Lewis Mumford's historical writings from the early 1930s, which divided American history into a series of technological eras. Abbott, like Mumford, was particularly critical of America's "paleotechnic era", which, as he described it, emerged at end of the American Civil War, a development called by other historians the Second Industrial Revolution. Like Mumford, Abbott was hopeful that, through urban planning efforts (aided by her photographs), Americans would be able to wrest control of their cities from paleotechnic forces, and bring about what Mumford described as a more humane and human-scaled, "neotechnic era". Abbott's agreement with Mumford can be seen especially in the ways that she photographed buildings that had been constructed in the paleotechnic era—before the advent of urban planning. Most often, buildings from this era appear in Abbott's photographs in compositions that made them look downright menacing.
In 1935, Abbott moved into a Greenwich Village loft with the art critic Elizabeth McCausland, with whom she lived until McCausland's death in 1965. McCausland was an ardent supporter of Abbott, writing several articles for the Springfield Daily Republican, as well as for Trend and New Masses (the latter under the pseudonym Elizabeth Noble). In addition, McCausland contributed the captions for the book of Abbott's photographs entitled Changing New York which was published in 1939. In 1949, her photography book Greenwich Village Today and Yesterday was published by Harper & Brothers.
Media related to Changing New York at Wikimedia Commons
In 1934 Henry-Russell Hitchcock asked Abbott to photograph two subjects: antebellum architecture and the architecture of H. H. Richardson. Two decades later, Abbott and McCausland traveled US 1 from Florida to Maine, and Abbott photographed the small towns and growing automobile-related architecture. The project resulted in more than 2,500 negatives.
Shortly after the trip, Abbott underwent a lung operation. She was told she should move from New York City due to air pollution. She bought a rundown home in Blanchard, Maine, along the banks of the Piscataquis River for US$1,000. Later, she moved to nearby Monson and remained in Maine until her death in 1991. Most of her work is shown in the United States, but a couple photographs are shown in Europe.
Abbott's work in continued in Maine. Her last book was A Portrait of Maine (1968).
Abbott was part of the straight photography movement, which stressed the importance of photographs being unmanipulated in both subject matter and developing processes. She also disliked the work of pictorialists who had gained much popularity during a substantial span of her own career and, therefore, left her work without support from this particular school of photographers. Most of Abbott's work was influenced by her unhappy and lonely childhood. This gave her the strength and determination to follow her dreams.
Throughout her career, Abbott's photography was very much a display of the rise in development of technology and society. Her works documented and praised the New York landscape. This was all guided by her belief that a modern-day invention such as the camera deserved to document the 20th century.
Abbott was not only a photographer, but also founded the corporation, "House of Photography," from 1947 to 1959, to develop, promote and sell some of her inventions. She stayed with scientific pictures for twenty years until she died. She has a famous quote saying "the world is made my science". Her works were displayed the rise of development of technology when she created scientific photographs her scientific photos became a hit within two weeks of her releasing them. These included a distortion enlarging easel, which created unusual effects on images developed in a darkroom, and the telescopic lighting pole, known today by many studio photographers as an "autopole," to which lights can be attached at any level. Owing to poor marketing, the House of Photography quickly lost money, and with the deaths of two designers, the company closed.
Abbott's style of straight photography helped her make important contributions to scientific photography. From 1958 to 1960, she produced a series of photographs for a high-school physics textbook, developed by the Physical Science Study Committee project based at MIT to improve secondary school physics teaching. Her work included images of wave patterns in water and stroboscopic images of moving objects, such as Bouncing ball in diminishing arcs, which was featured on the cover of the textbook. She contributed to the understanding of physical laws and properties of solids and liquids though her studies of light and motion. Between 1958 and 1961 she made a series of photographs for Educational Services Inc. was circulated by them and the Smithsonian Institution as an exhibition titled Image of Physics. In 2012, some of her work from this era was displayed at the MIT Museum in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
The film Berenice Abbott: A View of the 20th Century, which showed 200 of her black and white photographs, suggests that she was a "proud proto-feminist"; someone who was ahead of her time in feminist theory. Before the film was completed she questioned, "The world doesn't like independent women, why, I don't know, but I don't care." She identified publicly as a lesbian.
She lived with her partner, art critic Elizabeth McCausland, for 30 years.
Abbott's life and work are the subject of the 2017 novel The Realist: A Novel of Berenice Abbott, by Sarah Coleman.
Books of photographs by Abbott:
Other books by, or with major contributions from, Abbott:
Anthologies of and/or about Abbott's works:
Abbott's work is held in the following permanent collections:
Media related to Berenice Abbott at Wikimedia Commons
Early architectural photographers include Roger Fenton, Francis Frith (Middle East and Britain), Samuel Bourne (India) and Albert Levy (United States and Europe). They paved the way for the modern speciality of architectural photography. Later architectural photography had practitioners such as Ezra Stoller and Julius Shulman. Stoller worked mainly on the east coast of America, having graduated with a degree in architecture in the 1930s. Shulman, who was based on the West Coast, became an architectural photographer after some images that he had taken of one of Richard Neutra's houses in California made their way onto the architect's desk.Elizabeth McCausland
Elizabeth McCausland (1899–1965) was an American art critic, historian and writer.Eugène Atget
Eugène Atget (French: [adʒɛ]; 12 February 1857 – 4 August 1927) was a French flâneur and a pioneer of documentary photography, noted for his determination to document all of the architecture and street scenes of Paris before their disappearance to modernization. Most of his photographs were first published by Berenice Abbott after his death. Though he sold his work to artists and craftspeople, and became an inspiration for the surrealists, he did not live to see the wide acclaim his work would eventually receive.Grace M. Mayer
Grace M. Mayer (November 26, 1901–December 21, 1996) was a curator of photography for the Museum of the City of New York and for the Museum of Modern Art.Grapestake Gallery in San Francisco
The Grapestake Gallery was founded in San Francisco in 1974 by Thomas V. Meyer and his sister Ursula Gropper. The gallery was the first in San Francisco to exhibit photographs concurrently with painting and sculpture. The gallery helped to introduce and validate photography as a fine-art and collecting medium. The gallery opened with an Ansel Adams retrospective and later exhibited artists such as Harry Callahan, Joel Meyerowitz, Paul Strand, William Eggleston, Richard Misrach, Berenice Abbott, Imogen Cunningham, Judy Dater, Lewis Baltz, and Jerry Uelsmann. Richard Misrach had his first one-man show here. Grapestake Gallery closed in 1984, but Meyer and Gropper continued to promote fine-art photographs as independent dealers.
The world was not terribly much aware of fine art photography until Adams was discovered. When Adams, because of his great personality, his flamboyance, his humor, his generous nature, came on the scene and had some help from some promotional people, people started paying attention. Initially, there was virtually no market for photographs; nobody bought prints. When we opened our gallery, which was in 1974, we were selling a 16 x 20 inch Adams print for $500.Gwen Le Gallienne
Gwen Le Gallienne (1874 - 1966) was an English painter and sculptor. She was the first woman allowed to sketch battlefield scenes by the British War Office.Hank DeVito
Henry M. "Hank" DeVito is an American musician and photographer known primarily for his pedal steel guitar work and songwriting.Hank O'Neal
Hank O’Neal (born June 5, 1940) is an American music producer, author and photographer.Helen Gee (curator)
Helen Gee (1919–2004) was an American photography gallery owner, co-owner of the Limelight in New York City, New York from 1954 to 1961. It was New York City's first important post-war photography gallery, pioneering sales of photographs as art.
In the late 1970s, Gee worked as a photography curator, lecturer and writer.Hofstra University Museum
Hofstra University Museum is the art museum of Hofstra University, located in Hempstead, New York in Long Island.
The Museum has two galleries on campus: the Emily Lowe Gallery and the David Filderman Gallery. The Museum and the Emily Lowe Gallery were established in 1963, and have been an active presence in the University for more than 50 years. The David Filderman Gallery was added to the museum in 1991. The Hofstra University Museum is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM).The Hofstra University Museum holds a collection of more than 5,000 art and ethnographic objects dating from 1,500 BCE to the contemporary period and representing six continents. The collections have grown primarily through gifts since the founding of Hofstra University in 1935, prior to the establishment of the Museum, and there have been many local contributors to the Museum’s collections. The Museum is noteworthy for African art and objects; Asian art is another area of strength with works dating from the seventh to the twentieth century.
The Hofstra University Museum owns an early Gauguin oil painting, Portrait of a Woman (1881–82), works by George Grosz, Conrad Felixmüller, Johan Barthold Jongkind, John Thomas Peele, Georges Rouault, Joseph Stella, Jane Peterson, and Alfred Maurer. Photographs in the collection include works of Berenice Abbott, Lucien Clergue, Danny Lyon, August Sander, Andy Warhol, and Edward Weston.Julien Levy
Julien Levy (1906–1981) was an art dealer and owner of Julien Levy Gallery in New York City, important as a venue for Surrealists, avante-garde artists and American photographers in the 1930s and 1940s
Levy was born in New York. After studying museum administration at Harvard under Paul J. Sachs, Levy dropped out, traveled to Paris by boat, and befriended Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp, and Berenice Abbott, through whom he came into possession of a portion of Eugène Atget's personal archive. In Paris he also met his future wife, Joella Haweis, daughter of artist and writer Mina Loy. At some point in his life, Julien Levy remarried to surrealist artist Muriel Streeter.His connections with many other artists during this period of the 30's and 40's allowed Streeter to gain helpful insight with her own work during this time spent in and around Levy's New York gallery.
Back in New York, Levy worked briefly at the Weyhe Gallery before establishing his own New York gallery at 602 Madison Avenue in 1931. Concentrating at first on photography, he staged Man Ray's first major show, introduced Henri Cartier-Bresson to the U.S., and promoted many other European and American figures. On January 29, 1932 came the landmark multi-media Surrealist exhibition of the work of Pablo Picasso, Max Ernst, Joseph Cornell, Marcel Duchamp, and the introduction of Salvador Dalí's The Persistence of Memory (which Levy owned). He also championed the surrealist work of Leon Kelly.This exhibition marks the first in New York to display the works of members of the official surrealist group. In 1937 the gallery moved to 15 East 57th Street, where Levy mounted the first solo exhibition of the work of Frida Kahlo, November 1 to 15, 1938. From 1943 to 1949 the gallery was located at 42 East 57th Street. In 1945 Arshile Gorky had his first solo show there.
After closing the gallery, Levy taught at Sarah Lawrence College and State University of New York at Purchase. Levy's books include Memoir of an Art Gallery and Surrealism.Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art
The Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art (LLM), operated by the Leslie-Lohman Gay Art Foundation, is a visual art museum in SoHo, Lower Manhattan, New York City. It mainly collects, preserves and exhibits visual arts created by LGBTQ artists or art about LGBTQ themes, issues, and people. The Museum offers exhibitions year-round in numerous locations and owns more than 22,000 objects, including, paintings, drawings, photography, prints and sculpture. It has been recognized as one of the oldest arts groups engaged in the collection and preservation of gay art. In May 2011, the Foundation was awarded Museum status by the New York State Board of Regents. The Museum is a member of the American Alliance of Museums and operates pursuant to their guidelines. As of 2019, the LLM was the only museum in the world dedicated to artwork documenting the LGBTQ experience.The Museum maintains a Permanent Collection into which more than 1,300 objects have been accessioned. The Permanent Collection contains works by a number of well-known gay artists such as Berenice Abbott, David Hockney, Ingo Swann, Catherine Opie, Andy Warhol, Tom of Finland, Delmas Howe, Jean Cocteau, David Wojnarowicz, Robert Mapplethorpe, George Platt Lynes, Horst, Duncan Grant, James Bidgood, Duane Michals, Charles Demuth, Don Bachardy, Attila Richard Lukacs, Jim French, Del LaGrace Volcano, Paul Thek, Peter Hujar, Arthur Tress and many others.Nicholas Callaway
Nicholas Callaway is an app producer, book publisher, television producer, writer and photographer.Mr. Callaway is the founder and CEO of Callaway Arts & Entertainment, a cross-platform intellectual property creation studio that publishes high-quality illustrated books, mobile applications, computer-animated television series, and branded lifestyle products. The company's book publishing division, Callaway Editions, specializes in the design, production and publication of high-quality illustrated books on the arts, design, fashion and photography. Titles include: Alfred Stieglitz: Photographs & Writings, Georgia O'Keeffe ’s One Hundred Flowers, Irving Penn’s Passage, 'Madonna' ’s Sex, Diana: Portrait of A Princess, The Art of Make-Up by Kevyn Aucoin, A Nation Challenged: A Visual History of 9/11 and its Aftermath, a series of children's books by Madonna beginning with The English Roses, the Callaway Classics series of fairy tales, and OBAMA: The Historic Journey, co-published with The New York Times.In 2012, he co-founded and was the CEO, then Chairman of Happy Studio, an interactive digital brand creation company for the development of lifestyle apps for Apple's iOS devices, with headquarters on Union Square in New York City.The company's first product, Martha Stewart CraftStudio, was released in partnership with Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia on June 21, 2012 and was an Editor's Choice in Apple's App Store on launch date. In its first weekend it rose to No. 1 in the lifestyle category in the App Store, and to No. 2 overall. Bringing the physical paper-crafting world of scrapbooking, memory-keeping and photo-embellishment to life on the iPad, Martha Stewart CraftStudio allows crafters and non-crafters of all ages and skill levels to create and customize digital cards, invitations, thank-you notes, scrapbook pages, keepsakes, and more.
Its second brand Makr, a fast, easy and fun mobile-first design tool that empowers designers and makers everywhere, was acquired by Staples in April 2015.
In August 2010, with an investment from Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield, and Byers, Mr. Callaway founded Callaway Digital Arts (CDA), which publishes children’s applications for Apple’s iPad, iPhone, and iPod family of products. All of CDA’s apps have risen to No. 1 in their category in the App Store, including Miss Spider’s Tea Party, Miss Spider’s Bedtime Story, Sesame Street’s The Monster at the End of This Book and Thomas & Friends: Misty Island Rescue, and the early learning literacy and numeracy series, Endless Alphabet.In 1994, Mr. Callaway published Miss Spider's Tea Party by David Kirk, which has sold 5 million copies worldwide. Subsequently, Nicholas Callaway and David Kirk founded Callaway & Kirk Company LLC, which is dedicated exclusively to the creations of David Kirk. Other products include: more than seventy Miss Spider titles; the CGI Nova the Robot book series; the Sunny Patch line of children's lifestyle products featured at Target stores for 7 years and subsequently acquired by the educational toy company Melissa & Doug; and Miss Spider's Sunny Patch Friends, a 3-D computer-animated television series that has aired on Nick Jr. in the US and in many other countries around the world since its debut in 2005.
Nicholas Callaway graduated from Harvard University with a degree in Classics and Fine Arts, where he studied with Robert Fitzgerald and Emily Vermeule. He undertook early fine art photography and design studies at MIT with the founder of Aperture, Minor White, with designer Muriel Cooper, and with portrait photographer Wendy Snyder McNeil.
From 1977-1979 Mr, Callaway was the first director of Galerie Zabriskie in Paris, where he curated and mounted many landmark photography exhibitions, (many for the first time in Europe) including Harry Callahan, Lee Friedlander, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Eugène Atget, Berenice Abbott, Ansel Adams, William Klein, Man Ray and others. His final exhibition, French Avant Garde Photography Between the Wars, rediscovered for the first time such luminaries as Brassaï, Dora Maar, Claude Cahun, Eli Lotar, Germaine Krull, Roger Parry, Maurice Tabard, Jean Moral, Moï-Ver and others.
Mr. Callaway's photographs and writings have been published in Aperture (cover of Octave of Prayer, 1972 and Celebrations, 1975), Departures magazine and Vanity Fair.Patchin Place
Patchin Place is a gated cul-de-sac located off of 10th Street between Greenwich Avenue and the Avenue of the Americas (Sixth Avenue) in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City. Its ten 3-story brick row houses, said to have been originally built as housing for the Basque staff of the nearby Brevoort House hotel, have been home to several famous writers, including Theodore Dreiser, E. E. Cummings, John Cowper Powys and Djuna Barnes, making it a stop on Greenwich Village walking tours. Today it is a popular location for psychotherapists' offices.Stevens House (Astoria, New York)
The Stevens House was located on Vernon Boulevard and 30th Road (Queens County) in the Astoria section of Queens in New York City, New York, United States.The Camera Club of New York
Since 1884, The Camera Club of New York has been a forum to explore photography. Though the Club was created by well-to-do 'gentlemen' photography enthusiasts seeking a refuge from the mass popularization of the medium in the 1880s, it accepted its first woman as a member, Miss Elizabeth A. Slade, in 1887, only four years after its inception, and later came to accept new ideas and new approaches to the medium.
Over the years the Club helped launch revolutionary new approaches to photography and nurture many photographers who later became giants in the field. Alfred Stieglitz used the Club as a forum and venue to convince a still skeptical public that photography was an art worthy of comparison to painting. Later, as the medium matured, the Club was again the place where the new "straight photography" approach would emerge. Paul Strand, who joined the Camera Club at 17, was introduced to a camera at the Club that had a right-angle viewfinder, allowing one to photograph people unaware. Strand used this camera to produce some of his most memorable images on the streets of New York, including Blind Woman and Wall Street.
The Camera Club was also an important place to hear about new advances in photography. For instance, X-Ray photography was demonstrated there in 1898 and the Autochrome Lumière process, an early form of color photography, in 1909. In 1930 Willard D. Morgan first introduced the new Leica camera to Club members. Among the important lectures held at the Club were Aero Photography by Edward Steichen in 1921 and The Life and Work of Eugène Atget by Berenice Abbott in 1931. Later, Richard Avedon lectured on fashion Photography in 1949.
Today, the Camera Club continues to function as an important resource for photography. The club offers classes in basic camera and darkroom skills, which help nurture and create new pioneers of photography and workspaces for established and emerging photographers. Lectures and exhibits are an important part of the club's program. Since 1999 such important photographers as Eugene Richards, Nigel Parry, Duane Michals, Oliver Weber, Andres Serrano, Eddie Adams, and Henry Horenstein have exhibited and lectured at the club.The Camera Club of New York is located at 126 Baxter Street, New York, NY 10013.The Phillips Collection
The Phillips Collection is an art museum founded by Duncan Phillips and Marjorie Acker Phillips in 1921 as the Phillips Memorial Gallery located in the Dupont Circle neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Phillips was the grandson of James H. Laughlin, a banker and co-founder of the Jones and Laughlin Steel Company.
Among the artists represented in the collection are Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Gustave Courbet, El Greco, Vincent van Gogh, Henri Matisse, Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Pierre Bonnard, Paul Klee, Arthur Dove, Winslow Homer, James McNeill Whistler, Jacob Lawrence, Augustus Vincent Tack, Georgia O'Keeffe, Karel Appel, Joan Miro, Mark Rothko and Berenice Abbott.Todd Webb
Todd Webb (September 5, 1905 – April 15, 2000) was an American photographer notable for documenting everyday life and architecture in cities such as New York City, Paris as well as from the American west. His photography has been compared with Harry Callahan, Berenice Abbott, Walker Evans, and the French photographer Eugène Atget. He traveled extensively during his long life and had important friendships with artists such as Georgia O'Keeffe, Ansel Adams and Harry Callahan. He photographed famous people including Dorothea Lange. His life was like his photos in the sense of being seemingly simple, straightforward, but revealing complexity and depth upon a closer examination. Capturing history, his pictures often transcend the boundary between photography and artistic expression.University of Maine Museum of Art
University of Maine Museum of Art (UMMA) is an art museum in downtown Bangor, Maine. It is part of the University of Maine, which is located in nearby Orono, Maine. The University of Maine Art Collection was established in 1946, under the leadership of Vincent Hartgen. As the initial faculty member of the Department of Art and curator of the art collection, Hartgen's goal was to provide the people of Maine with significant opportunities to experience and learn about the visual arts and their diverse histories and cultural meanings.
In the early 1980s, the University Art Collection became the University of Maine Museum of Art. Through the cooperative effort and vision of the City of Bangor and the University of Maine, the museum relocated in December 2002 to downtown Bangor where it has taken on a new role as a regional fine arts center. The facility was designed by the Boston firm, Ann Beha Architects, and now occupies the first floor of Norumbega Hall, a historic downtown building that formerly housed a department store. The Bangor facility, while allowing the museum to showcase a greater proportion of its collection, also enhances the arts scene of the region's largest city.
The museum remains the only institution owned by the citizens of the State of Maine to house a permanent fine arts collection – one which has grown to a stature that makes it a nucleus in the state for historic and contemporary art. Consisting of more than 3500 original works of art, the collection is particularly strong in American mid-20th century works on paper. Contemporary highlights of the collection include works by David Hockney, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Edward Hopper, Pablo Picasso, and Edward Burtynsky. Additionally, the museum's permanent collection includes work by artists associated with Maine such as Berenice Abbott, Marsden Hartley, Winslow Homer, John Marin, Carl Sprinchorn, and Andrew Wyeth. In addition to making the University's collection more accessible to the public, the downtown location enables the museum to expand its educational programs beyond the confines of the Orono campus. In 2011, the museum was said to have one of the finest gallery spaces in the state.The museum hosts an annual calendar of exhibitions featuring contemporary artists and ideas. In 2011, the museum hosted its first national show, Photo National 2011. The exhibit featured 76 photographs by 34 photographers, including 11 from Maine. Among the museum's educational offerings are art camps for children lectures, special events, family programming, and educational classes and workshops for adults.University of Maine Museum of Art is part of the Maine Art Museum Trail, a circuit of eight art museums designed to highlight Maine's art history.In 2014, the museum renewed its lease to remain in the downtown location for an additional 17 years.