Duane Michals (b. 1932), Charles Burchfield and his wife in their garden in Buffalo, NY, 1966; gelatin silver print, 14 1/2 x 17 1/4 inches (Frame: 15 x 18 3/4 inches); Gift of Harriet and Mortimer Spiller, 1991
From Pictorialism to Post-Modernism: Photographs from the Collection
On View Saturday, May 2–Sunday, August 30, 1998
As photography emerged from the realm of science to the world of art, Buffalo cultivated many of its most significant practitioners. The twentieth century began with pictorialist photographers building a case for the acceptance of photography in the art world. They championed the right of the photographer to manipulate the image, for example, using whatever methods necessary to achieve a soft focus associated with nineteenth-century Impressionist painting. As the end of that century neared, photography was not only considered fine art, but was an active part of the post-modern movement that deconstructed the art world built, in part, through pictorialists' efforts.
Selected works from the collection explored connections between the two movements in several contexts: how different motivations for creation of work have affected photography's visual appearance, the relationship between process and appearance, and the relevance of contemporary social issues on the choice of subject matter. Works were divided into three broad categories: Identity, The Conceptual, and A Sense of Place.