This winter, the James A. Michener Art Museum
in Doylestown, Pennsylvania hosts a major travelling exhibition featuring the work and life of Edward Weston (1886-1958), one of the great American photographers. Edward Weston: Life Work is on view in the Museum's new Paton/Smith/Della Penna-Fernberger Galleries from December 12, 2009 through March 28, 2010. This exhibition of more than one hundred prints showcases a wide selection of vintage photographs from all phases of Weston's five-decade career, including landscapes, figure work, portraits of prominent artistic and literary figures and his famous studies of green peppers and other natural forms.
"This exhibition offers a rare opportunity to experience an in-depth survey of Weston's work, from his first nude in 1909 to his final landscape made near his home at Point Lobos, California, in 1948," says Brian H. Peterson, the Museum's Gerry and Marguerite Lenfest Chief Curator. "Rarely seen masterpieces are interspersed with well-known signature images including the iconic green pepper photographs, California landscapes and portraits of such luminaries as D. H. Lawrence, Diego Rivera, Arnold Schoenberg and Igor Stravinsky."
Weston began his artistic career 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. Weston caught the rhythms, patterns and interconnections between nature and human experience. Whether exploring still life, the human face, the landscape or the nude, his goal was never a literal recording. It was depicting the object "in its deepest moment of perception" to produce an image that reveals the photographer as well as the photographed.
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 is drawn from the significant private collection of Judith G. Hochberg and Michael P. Mattis. 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 early self-portraits and landscapes.