These black-and-white images, most from the first half of the twentieth century, are remarkable in that they document and record the cultural milieu of the time, and are themselves artworks, of and by artists, created at a point when a dialogue about photography’s place in the world of art had just begun.
In front of the lens, sitting for the camera, are artists including Marc Chagall, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Marcel Duchamp, Piet Mondrian, and Jackson Pollock. Behind the lens, creating the images, are celebrated photographers including Edward Steichen, Ansel Adams, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Yousuf Karsh, and Imogene Cunningham. Some are captured on film in their studios, some with their art, and some with their attributes—paintbrush, camera, clay. In this unique collection, the artist is the subject of the scrutiny that he or she usually directs at others.
IMAGE ABOVE: Henri Cartier-Bresson (French, 1908–2004), Henri Matisse, Vence, France, 1944, silver gelatin print on paper