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20th Century Floral Masterworks
Museum Exhibition l 11 March – 26 August 2023 l WBB GALLERY l Invitation
Imogen Cunningham (1883 – 1976) • Edward Weston (1886 – 1958) • Ansel Adams (1902 – 1984) • Wynn Bullock (1902 – 1975) • Willard Van Dyke (1906 – 1986) • Minor White (1908 – 1976) • Brett Weston (1911 – 1993) • Morley Baer (1916 – 1995) • Robert K. Byers (1918 – 2021) • Henry Gilpin (1922 – 2011) • Don Worth (1924 – 2009) • Walter Chappell (1925 – 2000) • Paul Caponigro (*1932) • Bob Kolbrener (*1942) • Michael Miner (*1949) • Ryuijie (*1950) • John Sexton (*1953) • Roman Loranc (*1956)
The term «pure photography» goes back to the legendary group f/64 of American photographers mainly active in the San Francisco Bay area. Founded in 1932, pioneers such as Imogen Cunningham, Edward Weston, and Ansel Adams (among others) publicly opposed Pictorialism, a photographic tradition influenced by Impressionism and Romanticism. In contrast, group f/64 strove for straight black-and-white photography free of artificial manipulation, but characterized by authenticity and clarity, as well as by technical proficiency in the darkroom.
To achieve maximum depth of field, large-format cameras with negatives up to 8 × 10 inch, lenses with small apertures (f up to 64), and high-contrast photo paper were used. Fine shades of gray in combination with deep black tones led to a new visual language whose aesthetics often took on abstract traits, making the smallest details visible. Motifs of this New Realism were the landscape and flora of the American West, but also social and architectural themes, as well as nudes. These pioneers fundamentally changed the perception and the meaning of photography, inspiring generations of artists to this day, and laying the foundation for modern Fine Art Photography.
The museum exhibition titled «Pure Photography» stages both vintage and contemporary black-and-white photographs by 18 acclaimed American West-Coast photographers, the focus lying on floral motifs. Some of the original works on display cover almost 100 years of photographic history. However, even today, these photographs keep demonstrating the beauty and the sensitivity of Nature, which is more endangered than ever. Accordingly, many pioneers of black-and-white photography were early environmentalists, above all Ansel Adams, who campaigned for Nature conservation and national parks already in the early 1930s.
All works staged belong to a Swiss private collection. A part of the collection will be shown in the WBB GALLERY in Zurich, but also in a curated special exhibition at PHOTO BASEL, a parallel event of ART BASEL, which will take place from June 13 to 18, 2023.
We look forward to your visit in Zurich or Basel
The WBB Team
One of the many exhibition highlights: an original print of «Child in the Forest» (1951) by Wynn Bullock. The nude scene caused a stir in the 1950s and 1960s during the traveling exhibition «Family of Man» curated by Edward Steichen of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). At the time, this iconic photograph moved nine million people in around 40 countries, questioning the relationship between Man and Nature. Credits: Wynn Bullock photographs © 1951/2023 Bullock Family Photography LLC. All rights reserved.
A 150-page catalog for collectors, museums, and photography enthusiasts is available online upon request. The catalog contains well over 100 photographs and illustrations, numerous explanations, essays, and details on both the collection and the prints, some of which are historically significant. Please direct inquiries to info [at] wbb.gallery.
WBB GALLERY, Zurich
Sat/Sun 11/12 March 2023, 2 to 6 p.m.
Open to the public
from 2 to 6 p.m. on the following weekends:
and by appointment
Please contact the gallery to arrange your visit:
Dr. Peter Wallimann
cell: +41 79 388 73 09
e-mail: info [at] wbb.gallery
On request, parts of or the complete the collection is for sale, but not individual works. Please ask for our detailed catalog (see above) and visit the exhibition. The prints shown are in excellent condition and have been framed to the highest museum standards. Further exhibitions in cooperation with other institutions are possible.
WBB GALLERY is located in the pedestrian zone of the old town of Zurich on the corner Trittligasse / Neustadtgasse, just a few minutes from Bellevue, Kunsthaus and Grossmünster: See map
Cover photo (on top of page)
Ansel Adams • «Leaves» (1942) • Mount Rainier National Park (WA) • Silver Gelatin print (13.50 × 10.25 in) • signed and dated by the artist l © Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust l All rights reserved.
Please note that strict copyrights apply to all works shown. Photography is not allowed in the gallery. Unauthorized publications, also in social media, can result in drastic penalties, for which WBB GALLERY assumes no liability.
Don Worth (1924 – 2009), first full-time assistant to Ansel Adams, in his subtropical garden in Mill Valley (San Francisco), positioning an 8×10 Deardorff
large-format view camera. Don ranks among the best plant photographers of the 20th Century. The collection contains 28 of his handmade prints. © Don
Worth Photography Trust; with kind permission by Carol E. Williams, Carmel, CA.
The exhibition includes several original and estate prints by Imogen Cunningham (1883 – 1976) and by The Imogen Cunningham Trust, resp. Imogen’s 1925 photograph titled «Magnolia Blossom – Tower of Jewels» belongs to her most famous floral ones. The exhibition includes a print of this motif made by Imogen’s son, Rondal Partridge (1917 – 2015). At the end of his life, Ron looked back on eight decades of experience in the darkroom. (© The Imogen Cunninghham Trust l All rights reserved.)
Meet the Best …
Original signatures of the 18 American photographers featured in the exhibition. From top (left) to bottom (right): Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, Imogen Cunningham, Morley Baer, Wynn Bullock, Paul Caponigro, Walter Chappell, Robert K. Byers, Minor White, Willard Van Dyke, Henry Gilpin, Don Worth, Bob Kolbrener, Michael Miner, John Sexton, Roman Loranc, Ryuijie.