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For more than seventy years, Helen Levitt (1913-2009) used her camera to capture fresh and unstudied views of everyday life on the streets of New York City. Roaming through the Lower East Side, Spanish Harlem and other urban neighborhoods, Levitt began her career equipped with a handheld Leica with a right-angle viewfinder that allowed her to remain unobtrusive as she documented life in the city. Only a few years after Levitt took up photography, the Museum of Modern Art selected her work for inclusion in the inaugural exhibition of the museum’s photography department in 1940. Levitt’s meteoric rise within the world of photography was affirmed when MoMA subsequently honored her with a coveted solo exhibition in 1943.

Levitt’s photographs, first in black and white and later in color, document neighborhood matriarchs planted on their front stoops, pedestrians negotiating New York’s busy sidewalks, and, perhaps most famously, boisterous children at play. Her revealing work observes people of every age, race, and class, without attempting to impose social commentary. Sojourns in New Hampshire, Mexico, and even Savannah added variety to Levitt’s oeuvre, but New York remained at the heart of her work.

This exhibition is organized by Telfair Museums and the High Museum of Art, Atlanta. The photographs in this exhibition are drawn from the permanent collections of both the Telfair and the High.

This exhibition is made possible through the generous support of Mrs. Robert O. Levitt.


Jepson Center

Director’s Circle Preview Dinner
Wednesday, April 23 | 6 pm | Dinner to follow at TBA

Guests will preview the iconic street photography of Helen Levitt. Remarks by Jeffrey Rosenheim. Seating at dinner is limited and available on a first come, first served basis. Cost is $95 per person. Reservations and prepayment required by April 18, 2014. RSVP to Catherine Renner at 912.790.8844 or

Lecture and Opening Reception
Thursday, April 24

VIP Preview and complimentary drinks for Contributing and Director’s Circle levels of membership.

Lecture on Helen Levitt by Jeff Rosenheim, Curator in Charge, Department of Photographs at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Followed by reception for members or guests with paid admission. Includes light appetizers and cash bar for beer and wine.

Helen Levitt
New York, c. 1940
Vintage gelatin silver print
Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Robert O. Levitt, 1998.6
© Estate of Helen Levitt

Helen Levitt
New York (Children with Masks), c. 1940
Gelatin silver print
Courtesy of the High Museum of Art

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