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EDWARD WESTON: A Photographer's Love of Life

 

Opening February 14, 2004, The Dayton Art Institute presents EDWARD WESTON: A Photographer's Love of Life. Through Weston's photographs and his words, visitors will gain a better understanding and a greater appreciation for Weston the man and the photographer. "This exhibition looks more closely at Edward Weston as a robust lover of life," said Alex Nyerges, Director and CEO of The Dayton Art Institute, and curator of the exhibition. "Visitors will see his classic and lesser known images while learning about what inspired Weston, primarily his family and friends."

The exhibition includes 81 vintage gelatin silver prints, including such iconic images as Shell (1929); Dunes, Oceano (1936); Pepper (1929); Diego Rivera (1924) and Pelican's Wing (1931), among others. Twelve vintage Kodachrome color transparencies will also be on display. "Weston placed these brilliant transparencies in a box in 1947, and they have never been seen since," commented Nyerges. "This is the first time these colorful masterpieces can be viewed by the public." (right: Edward Weston, American (1886-1958), SHELL, 1927. vintage gelatin silver print, 9 1/4 x 7 1/4 inches. Gift of Mr.and Mrs. John W. Longstreth, 2001.70)

In addition, the exhibition will include 11 rarely seen snapshots of Edward Weston and his family, dating from the first two decades of the 20th century. A display of Weston's personal correspondence offers insights into his family life. The majority of Weston's letters and postcards were sent to his sister, Mary Weston Seaman. Seaman passed these onto her grandson John W. Longstreth, who donated and loaned them to The Dayton Art Institute. According to Nyerges, the letters and postcards speak volumes about Edward Weston as a brother, husband and father. "The correspondence conveys the great warmth and love Weston had for his family and friends," explained Nyerges. "They dispel the notions of Weston as a loner and more accurately portray him as an energetic lover of life."

EDWARD WESTON: A Photographer's Love of Life offers a virtual survey of Weston's entire career from his teens to his years in Mexico and Carmel to his Guggenheim fellowship in 1936. "The exhibition showcases the work that Weston considered his best," said Nyerges. "This is a rare opportunity to see a fabulous collection of one of the greatest photographers of all time." According to Nyerges, Weston's focus on the beauty in the world around him inspired future generations of photographers. "His powerful work made people look at the world differently," explained Nyerges. "He helped them see the beauty in such simple things as a shell or a pepper."

A fully illustrated catalogue, written by Nyerges, will accompany the exhibition. The catalogue will reproduce each photograph from the exhibition in its original size, along with illustrations of many examples of Weston's correspondence, and extensive excerpts from his unique trove of postcards and letters. Nyerges' essay focuses on Weston's relationship with his sister Mary Weston Seaman and his role as a husband and father. "My research confirmed my belief that Edward Weston, this lover of life, found the greatest inspiration in the people in the world that surrounded him, for which he had tremendous appreciation," said Nyerges.

EDWARD WESTON: A Photographer's Love of Life will be on view from February 14 to June 13, 2004 at The Dayton Art Institute. Following its debut at The Dayton Art Institute, the exhibition will travel to the Portland Art Museum in Portland, Oregon; Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, Nebraska; and the George Eastman House/International Center of Photography and Film in Rochester, New York.

 

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