Snite Museum of Art

Notre Dame, IN

(219) 631-5466


Fritz Kaeser: A Life in Photography

The eighty photographs in this exhibit illustrate the fifty-year career of photographer Fritz Kaeser. During the 1930s he operated a studio in Madison, Wisconsin, and was widely exhibited in pictorial salons. After World War II Kaeser studied briefly with Ansel Adams and began photographing the American Southwest and the Rocky Mountains out of studios in Aspen, Colorado, and Tucson, Arizona. His photographs of the 1940s through the 1960s are wonderfully diverse, ranging from clear, brilliant landscape views of the mountains and high deserts, to close-up studies of rocks and plant forms. There is even a series of portraits of Georgia O'Keeffe.

Late in his career, Kaeser produced totally abstract images and studio shots of bones and skulls, inspired by his readings in religion that included the poems of the Catholic monk, Thomas Merton. Fritz Kaeser used photography as a way of searching for the elusive patterns that underlie reality, what Merton called 'a hidden wholeness." Curator of Photography, Stephen Moriarty, states that "Kaeser, like Merton, came to see photographs as metaphors for reality rather than actual depictions or transcriptions of the natural world."

The exhibition is interpreted by a book of the same title, published by the University of Notre Dame Press, with an essay written by Stephen Roger Moriarty, curator of photography, and a foreword by Dean Porter, Museum Director.

The Snite Museum of Art is the repository of a large collection of Fritz Kaeser masterprints, and his entire archive of almost two thousand prints and hundreds of negatives. These materials are a rich resource for students, faculty and national scholars conducting research on the life and photography of Fritz Kaeser.

From top to bottom: Jose Luis Villegas, Fritz Kaeser, 1985; Fritz Kaeser, Shells #3, 1977, 11 x 14 inches, silver gelatin print; Fritz Kaeser, Mount Lemmon and Tucson, 1950s, 10.8 x 13.8 inches, silver gelatin print, gift of Molly Kaeser; Fritz Kaeser, Maroon Bells in Winter, 1948, 11 x 14 inches, silver gelatin print.

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

rev. 8/24/10

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