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The Language of Vision: Early Twentieth-Century Photography

Jepson Center August 17, 2018–January 13, 2019

The Language of Vision: Early Twentieth-Century Photography brings together the work of four eminent artists from Telfair Museums’ permanent collection: Ralph Steiner, Manuel Álvarez Bravo, Walker Evans, and Helen Levitt. Connected historically and often personally through artist social circles, their work shares key stylistic attributes that will be explored in the exhibition. These photographers made work during the first half of the 20th century when photography was still being questioned for its validity as an art form.

All four artists made strides in demonstrating that while mechanically made, their photographs reflected the subtle expressiveness of the particular individual. Subject matter depicted includes genre and street scenes, portraits, modern technology, and nature, among many others, revealing that these artists were on the forefront to capture the exciting and varied facets of the contemporary moment.

This exhibition is organized by Telfair Museums and curated by Erin Dunn, Assistant Curator at Telfair Museums.

Images, left to right:
Helen Levitt (American, 1913–2009); New York, c. 1940; gelatin silver print on paper; Telfair Museums, gift of Philip Perkis, 1998.13.1. Walker Evans (American, 1903–1975); Untitled (Men on Sidewalk, New York City), 1934; vintage gelatin silver print; Telfair Museums, gift of Mrs. Robert O. Levitt, 2002.3.5. Manuel Alvarez Bravo (Mexican, 1902-2002); Señor de Papantla (The Man from Papantla), 1934-1935; printed 1977; gelatin silver print; gift of Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Oxnard Jr., 2004.13.3.8; © Colette Urbajtel. Ralph Steiner (American, 1899–1986); Untitled, 1925 (negative), 1980 (print); gelatin silver print; Telfair Museums, gift of Norma and Marvin Rappaport, T.2017.9.2.