Montclair Art Museum

Montclair, NJ



Georgia O'Keeffe: The Artist's Landscape, Photographs by Todd Webb


"Georgia O'Keeffe: The Artist's Landscape, Photographs by Todd Webb" opens September 9th, 2000, at The Montclair Art Museum, 3 South Mountain Avenue, Montclair, New Jersey. In an intimate and brilliant view of one artist's life seen through the eyes of another, this exhibition draws on the late Todd Webb's thirty-year photographic record of Georgia O'Keeffe's life in the New Mexico landscape, showing the artist in the environment which so influenced her painting, (left: Prepared Canvas, Abiquiu Studio, 1963, gelatin silver print, 16 x 20 inches, Curatorial Assistance, Inc.)

drawing and sculpture. Through Webb's sensitive photographic view, we see the texture and light of the landscape, as well as the natural forms so frequently the subject of O'Keeffe's compositions. The earliest of the photographs in The Artist's Landscape date from 1955 and the most recent are from 1981. The exhibition will be on view through Sunday, January 7, 2001.

Webb's friendship with Georgia O'Keeffe began in the 1940s, and they remained close until her death in 1986. Through this friendship, Webb had extraordinary access to the private person O'Keeffe made great efforts to protect. Webb's photographic series dramatically conveys this friendship, as well as the environs where she pursued her creative processes. The images encompass O'Keeffe's world at Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, New Mexico, her permanent home after the death of her husband, Alfred Stieglitz in 1946. In Georgia O'Keeffe: The Artist's Landscape, Webb's photographs encompass the architecture of her home, her sculpture, and the artifacts which drew O'Keeffe's eye. The photo, Prepared Canvas, Abiquiu Studio, 1963, includes a rare glimpse of her creative tools -- her paint brushes, a model, and finished and new canvases. (left: Photographing the Chama Valley, New Mexico, 1961, gelatin silver print, 16 x 20 inches, Curatorial Assistance, Inc.)

Todd Webb was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1905. He studied photography under Ansel Adams and was a friend of Alfred Stieglitz. He served as a photographer in the U.S. Navy during World War II and later worked with Roy Stryker and the Standard Oil Company, traveling and photographing throughout Europe. Webb became one of the most successful post-war photographers, known for documenting the everyday life and architecture of New York, Paris and the American West, where he had earned a living as a prospector during the depression of 1929. (left: Cow Skull, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 1966, gelatin silver print, 16 x 20 inches, Curatorial Assistance, Inc.)

Webb was awarded Guggenheim Fellowships in 1955 and 1956, and traveled to the western United States, taking a series of 7,500 photographs of pioneer trails, ghost towns and frontier buildings in an effort to retrace the 1849 Gold Rush. This body of work, as well as photograph expeditions to Africa, Mexico and Central America, prompted the distinguished photographic scholar Beaumont Newhall, to refer to Webb as "an historian with a camera". Todd Webb died in April, 2000. His photographs are in the collections of 25 major museums, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York City and the National Gallery of Art in Washington. (left: Roofless Room, Abiquiu, New Mexico, 1977, gelatin silver print, 16 x 20 inches, Curatorial Assistance, Inc.)

Georgia O'Keeffe: The Artist's Landscape, Photographs by Todd Webb was organized by Curatorial Assistance, Pasadena, California. The Montclair Art Museum's presentation of the exhibition is organized by Twig Johnson, Curator of Native American Art, and will be accompanied by educational programming, gallery lectures, speakers and family programs.


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For further biographical information on selected artists cited above please see America's Distinguished Artists, a national registry of historic artists.

This page was originally published in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information. rev. 3/23/11

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