Saturday, May 18, 2013

The Photographs of Jerome Liebling

Everyday Monuments: The Photographs of Jerome Liebling at the Yale University Art Gallery

Jerome Liebling’s practice as a photographer spans nearly 60 years. Over the course of his career, he has tackled numerous and varied subjects, from social-documentary photographs of the people of Minnesota, to images of the relics of literary figures such as Emily Dickinson and Herman Melville.

In 2008 the Yale University Art Gallery acquired nearly 40 of Liebling’s images, bringing the total number of works by the photographer in its collection to 51. Within this group, a majority of Liebling’s most substantial bodies of work is represented, providing the ability to explore the artist’s oeuvre over time.

Liebling was raised in Brooklyn, New York. His parents had emigrated from Eastern Europe. Following his service in World War II, he returned to study photography, and in the 1940s began a series of photographs of New York City. Included in the exhibition are works from this time, such as “Butterfly Boy, New York City” (1949). In 1949, Liebling moved to Minneapolis and pioneered one of the country’s first photography departments at the University of Minnesota. His images of mannequins and corpses provide a counterpoint to his images of regular people in cities such as Brooklyn and Minneapolis, as well as other locales.

Liebling was the first Walker Evans Visiting Professor of Photography at the Yale School of Art in 1976-1977. He is now professor emeritus at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts, where he taught for more than three decades. Liebling and his former student and long-time collaborator Alan Trachtenberg, the Neil Gray Jr. Professor Emeritus of English and American Studies at Yale, worked with a student team to prepare the exhibition. Aja Armey, museum educator, also gave direction to the students.

'Jerome Liebling, Manikin, 1962. Gelatin silver print, 13 3/8 x 10 1/16 in. (34 x 25.6 cm). Yale University Art Gallery, Purchased with the aid of funds from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Daniel Don, b.a. 1953, Matching Fund.'

'Jerome Liebling, Butterfly Boy, New York City, 1949. Gelatin silver print, 9 7/16 x 9 7/16 in. (24 x 24 cm). Yale University Art Gallery, Purchased with a gift from Jane and Gerald Katcher, ll.b. 1950, and the Janet and Simeon Braguin Fund'

'Jerome Liebling, Dress, Paris, France, 1974. Gelatin silver print, 12 5/8 x 9 5/16 in. (32 x 23.7 cm). Yale University Art Gallery, Purchased with a gift from Jane and Gerald Katcher, ll.b. 1950, and the Janet and Simeon Braguin Fund.'

'Jerome Liebling, Emily Dickinson’s White Dress, Amherst, Massachusetts, 1989. Chromogenic print, 20 7/8 x 28 1/16 in. (53.1 x 71.2 cm). Yale University Art Gallery, Purchased with a gift from Jane and Gerald Katcher, ll.b. 1950, and the Janet and Simeon Braguin Fund'

Jerome Liebling: Capturing the Human Spirit

On June 19, 2010 the Currier Museum of Art, Manchester, NH unveiled never before seen large-scale digital prints of the compelling documentary images taken by internationally-known photographer and filmmaker Jerome Liebling in the exhibition Jerome Liebling: Capturing the Human Spirit.

The spirit of photography is ultimately a concern with a way of seeing and encountering the world. For me it is a combination of visual aesthetics and social action" notes Liebling.

The twenty-eight photographs on view through September 19 embody a new phase in Liebling’s distinguished career. The images have been drawn from subjects documented over six decades and are as varied as the people of his native neighborhoods of New York; street life in Mexico, Spain and Israel; and the stark realities of agricultural and industrial towns of the Midwest and New England. Displayed for the first time, these monumental prints, many over three feet wide, are masterful in their technical execution and remarkable for their clarity of detail and luminosity of color. They are compelling in their vivid imagery and powerful artistic conception and they convey an eloquent sense of humanity and the dignity of human endeavor.

Jerome Liebling "May Day, Union Square Park, New York City,"

Jerome Liebling, Women Buying Peaches, Brighton Beach, New York, 1995

Jerome Liebling “Morning in Monessen, Pennsylvania’’

Jerome Liebling “Johnstown, Pennsylvania’

Smith College Museum of Art

Jerome Liebling. American, 1924-2011. Coal Worker, Minnesota , 1952 (printed 1976). Gelatin silver print. Purchased

Jerome Liebling. American, 1924-2011. Woman, Shopping Cart, Market Window, Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, N.Y. , 1985 (printed in 2007). C-print. Purchased with a grant from the Artists’ Resource Trust

Jerome Liebling. American, 1924-2011. Man in Restaurant Booth, Weirton, W.V. , 1982 (printed in 2007). Purchased with the Fund in honor of Charles Chetham.

Jerome Liebling. American, 1924-2011. Mother, Baby’s Hand, Mexico , 1974 (printed 1976). Gelatin silver print.

Jerome Liebling. American, 1924-2011. Woman & Scarf, Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, N.Y., 1980s

More images:

Jerome Liebling, Grain Worker, Minneapolis, Minn., 1950

Jerome Liebling, Outside Claridge’s Hotel, Mayfair (1967), London, UK