Paul Strand: where can I see original prints?

Discussion in 'Photographers' started by rhphoto, Jan 20, 2005.

  1. rhphoto

    rhphoto Member

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    I'm wondering where one could view original prints of Paul Strand - I realize they are all owned these days either by private collectors or by museums. The last time I can recall a show of his work was one that toured the country more than ten years ago. Perhaps the curators of his photographs are concerned that any more exposure to UV will further degrade them. (The lighting in this show was very dim). For any not familiar with Strand's silver prints, they are, I believe, the most perfect jewels ever created on photographic paper. Particularly the work done in Gaspe, New England and the Southwest. To me, these prints are the absolute benchmark of what the medium can deliver. The latest book about Strand was of gravure prints, made from very early negatives. Of course, gravures can stand to be exposed more, and are not as "valuable" as the silver prints, some of which are one of a kind. Anyway, I live within a day's drive of NYC, where I guess one would have the best chance of getting a viewing.
     
  2. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    Library of Congress

    I have never been to Washington DC. It is my understanding that the Library of Congress has a huge photo archive and that one my ask to see specific prints which they will be shown.. My understanding may be entirely flawed or the may have changed practices. Why not check out google using "paul Strand prints" as well as "library of congress"?.
     
  3. Peter Schrager

    Peter Schrager Subscriber

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    Strand

    I'm sure that you can find some hanging in the permanent collection of the MOMA.At least a few to speak of.To my recollection they always had the Westons,etc. hanging up for the public to see. Haven't been there since they re-opened but it seems illogical that this stuff is stashed away in boxes.
    Peter
     
  4. c6h6o3

    c6h6o3 Member

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    You can see the last portfolio, On My Doorstep, at the Library of Congress. It's in the Madison Building, if memory serves me well, which is across Independence Ave. from the main building. There's a tunnel which connects the two buildings under the street.

    The prints were made by Richard Benson under Strand's direct supervision and Strand signed the portfolio. There's an excellent essay on their collaboration in the Spring 1994 issue of Aperture, which was a Strand retrospective.

    Frankly, I've found much of his silver work to be muddy and dark. But he was certainly a visionary poet of the eye. Well worth a day of your time if you happen to be around here.
     
  5. BradS

    BradS Subscriber

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    Is that the SF MOMA? or...???
     
  6. Peter Schrager

    Peter Schrager Subscriber

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    NY/MOMA

    Gaussianoise- Of course us NY'ers think we're the center of the world so yes I was relating to the NY MOMA. Didn't even know there was a SF MOMA.Aside: Todays front cover of the NY times has an article that the main donor to the museum has walked away because he thinks the museum is in too many places.
    Hey-what exactly is Gaussianoise? Just curious........
    Regards Peter
     
  7. photomc

    photomc Member

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  8. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Peter--you're thinking of the Guggenheim, which has been more entrepeneurial/commercial/populist in recent years than MOMA. Here's the article--

    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/01/20/a...&en=f5a6b4931fc1f592&ei=5094&partner=homepage
     
  9. Bill Mitchell

    Bill Mitchell Member

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    Much of the beauty of Strand's prints are due to very subtle toning, so slight that it's almost unnoticable. Before the Richard Benson printed portfolios, he never made more than a few, sometime only one, print of his negatives. Interestingly, Strand never had his own permanent darkroom until he was over 60, relying on converted closets and bathrooms (no wonder his first two wives left him).
     
  10. rhphoto

    rhphoto Member

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    Thanks for the link to the Lee Gallery - but in searching their inventory, sure enough, they posess about ten images, 2/3 of them photogravures. At least this gallery is close to home (Vermont) so I'll try to get in there next time I'm down "south" in MA. I think one of the posts re: NY MOMA is probably my best bet. Last time we were in NYC the museum was closed for renovation. Time to visit again!
     
  11. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I have to confess that I don't think I've ever been to the Aperture gallery on 23rd St. (or maybe I was once, but not any time recently) in Manhattan. I'm guessing they should have Strand prints. Info at www.aperture.org.
     
  12. Peter Schrager

    Peter Schrager Subscriber

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    Srand

    David and everyone else. It is more than likely that many Galleries in NYC have Strands. It is also most likely that they reside in boxes on a shelf. I would definately check the magazine Photograph. Alot of the galleries list the artists they carry. On the otherhand it is questionable if they will let you see them other than having a strong interest to buy them. Some of the Gallery owners are very cool. Others I'd rather not even talk about much less even go into. However a little diplomacy goes a long way.
    Just as aside: Just last year I saw an exhiblt of Paul Caponigro prints here in Ct. It was always a known fact that he is one of the great printers in Photography. I was abso;utely shocked to see that the prints; about 15-20 had been extremely overprinted and what seemed to me really dark. This was in a public library and it was a little dark in there but...... they WERE really dark and I've been curious ever since as to what was up with that. Since prints were for sale I'm wondering what the story was. I wouldn't have bought any. Yet I own CAponigro books where the prints just glow right in the book. Was this a scam to make money. Who knows? Work prints?
    Regards Peter
     
  13. Gustavo_Castilla

    Gustavo_Castilla Member

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    this week end in L.A.

    Hi this week end Choen gallery is hosting the photo L.A.
    the and the other galleries in the show should have some for sale
    The getty museum and the Norton Simon have thein in the collections I seen some and some 12 years agou the Simon hade a Edward Wedson show where they displayed the Negative right netxt to some of the prints It was awsome
     
  14. rhphoto

    rhphoto Member

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    David - thanks . . . I didn't know Aperture had a gallery in the city. Peter - last time in NY, on Madison around 55th, a guy let us look at all kinds of prints, including a Stieglitz "Hand of Man" which my sweetie REALLY wanted to buy . . . anyway, some gallery owners are indeed cool, and truly love their work and the medium. Upshot of all this: simply have to get my arse down to NYC soon and do the rounds of galleries and museums.
    P.S. met Caponigro at a show in California about 15 years ago. The prints there were just exquisite. And he's a really nice guy. Autographed a card for me to give to a girl I wanted to impress.
     
  15. jovo

    jovo Membership Council Council

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    Well, I can't say for certain, but the coming AIPAD show in February here in NYC should have some Strands you can hold in your hands. "The Photograpy Show' is at the New York Hilton on Feb. 10 through the 13th. Check with the representing galleries to assure yourself that some prints will be available.
     
  16. Louis Nargi

    Louis Nargi Member

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    Don't know if you have to drive that far to see a Strand photo since Yale has a vary impressive photo collection. Call the Yale art museum, Chapel st. New Haven Ct. and ask.
     
  17. c6h6o3

    c6h6o3 Member

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    From the last page of the Spring 1994 issue of Aperture, Paul Strand: The World on My Doorstep:

    "For further information or to make an appointment to view the prints, please contact Aperture's Burden Gallery at (212) 505-5555 ext. 326 or the sales department at (212)505-5555 ext. 331."
     
  18. mfobrien

    mfobrien Member

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    I'm trying to imagine the Guggenheim showing photographs. Likely they would be blank pieces of photographic paper, with some artsy title.
     
  19. SLNestler

    SLNestler Member

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    The nearest collection I can think of would be Harvard's Fogg Museum in Cambridge. Many years ago, I used to vist there frequently, and would always sit in a state of awe before the Strand holdings. Having seen several originals in several collections, I completely agree that these are the finest ever done. I knew Ansel Adams, and love all he has done for all of us. But he would probably be the first to agree that Strand was the greatest.
     
  20. SLNestler

    SLNestler Member

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    Those were neither a scam, nor work prints, I assume. Paul has always chosen to make dark prints. I once questioned him about it, but never received an answer I was comfortable with.

    If you look at original prints by some of Paul's mentors, Minor White and Ansel Adams, I believe you would think them overprinted, as well.

    John Szarkowskli has noted that often, later in their careers, the great photographers tend to print darker and contrastier, with less delicacy. It's a surprising phenomenon.
     
  21. c6h6o3

    c6h6o3 Member

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    I have also seen Strands at the National Portrait Gallery (closed for renovation until at least 2006) and at the National Gallery of Art.

    The NGA had a way cool show some years back in which they recreated the 291 Gallery as it appeared during the WWI era.

    http://www.nga.gov/exhibitions/2001/modernart/342_fs.htm

    They used dozens of original Stieglitz photos of the place and scoured the earth to find as many of the pieces as they could that had been displayed back then. Brancusis, Picassos, Steichens, etc. One of the photographs was Strand's White Picket Fence.

    http://www.nga.gov/exhibitions/modart_2.shtm
     
  22. fil

    fil Member

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    Hi all,

    If you want the ULTIMATE tour through Strand's images, you could always sign up with Aperture to be an intern at the Paul Strand Archive:

    http://www.aperture.org/store/about-workscholar.aspx

    Alas, the Archive is stored at Aperture's Millerton NY / Lakeville CT facilities and is not open to the public. This is an ironic thing actually, as my family comes from the 1500 person town that is Millerton and my dad bought my first Bogen enlarger for $10 just up the street from their offices. If I only knew what was housed just down the road...

    cheers,
    fil
     
  23. rhphoto

    rhphoto Member

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    But the blacks seems to go down forever, and there is a richness I have simply never been able to achieve, even though using the same, or very similar materials. I believe these guys made just huge negatives (in terms of density scale). There is just something so solid about the great prints of these photographers. I've viewed a few of Minor White's 4x5 contact prints, and they are so amazingly rich and sparkly. Dark, yes, but I don't think they would posess the same power if printed lighter.
     
  24. Bill Mitchell

    Bill Mitchell Member

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    If you look at original prints by some of Paul's mentors, Minor White and Ansel Adams, I believe you would think them overprinted, as well.

    What is meant by "overprinted?"
     
  25. Wally H

    Wally H Member

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