Farnsworth Art Museum
Left to right: The Farnsworth has multiple entrances, this one accessing the gift shop at the corner of Main and Elm Streets; the Center for the Wyeth Family in Maine, located behind the Museum on Elm Street. Photos courtesy of John Hazeltine and Farnsworth Art Museum.
Mood Poems: Selected Photographs by Kosti Ruohomaa, 1939-1960
On Saturday, February 6, 1999 the Farnsworth Art Museum opens an exhibition of rare vintage photographs by the celebrated Maine photographer Kosti Ruohomaa (1913-1961). A lecture about the exhibit begins in the Craig Gallery at 2 p.m., also on February 6. The show closes April 4, 1999.
The exhibition has been assembled by guest curator Deanna Bonner-Ganter, who began to research the life and work of Ruohomaa in 1993. Ms. Bonner-Ganter was guest curator of the exhibition "Kosti Ruohomaa: Photographer as Poet" at the Porin Taidemuseo (Museum of Modern Art) in Pori, Finland, in April 1998. Many of the prints in this show come from the collection of the Neelo M. Lofman family, who generously made them available for the exhibition. The balance of the works were selected from the Farnsworth's collection of Ruohomaa's photographs. The Black Star Agency in New York, for whom Kosti Ruohomaa worked as a free-lance photographer throughout his life, owns the copyright to many of these works and has kindly agreed to their use in the exhibition.
Kosti Ruohomaa was born in Quincy, Massachusetts in 1913, the son of Finnish immigrants Selim and Sophia Ruohomaa. In 1926, the family moved to Rockland, Maine, where Kosti graduated from high school. He studied painting and drawing at the Boston School of Practical Art and upon graduation worked as a commercial artist with the Forbes Lithographic Company (also in Boston). In 1937, he was hired as an animator for the Walt Disney Studios and moved to Los Angeles. It was there that he began to develop a serious interest in photography and his first works were published.
In New York in 1944, Kosti signed a contract with the Black Star Publishing Company, where he worked as a free-lance photographer for the rest of his life. Over the years, his work appeared in numerous leading magazines, including LIFE, Fortune, Holiday, Ladies Home Journal and National Geographic. Among his most passionate missions was photographing the people and landscapes of Maine in all their varied seasons and moods. It is from this body of work that the images in the exhibition have been selected.
The Farnsworth show is sponsored in part by a grant from the Wyeth Endowment for American Art.
The Farnsworth is located on Museum Street, Rockland, and is open Tuesday-Saturday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. and Sundays from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m. Admission: $8 adults, $7 seniors, $4 students 18 and older, free admission ages 17 and younger. Rockland residents are admitted free of charge.
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