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Portland Museum of Art receives photography selection that ‘puts us at one more level’

The Portland Museum of Art has acquired a collection of additional than 600 photographs, which includes operates by planet-well-known 20th-century photographers, that the museum believes will change it into a spot for the artwork kind.

The reward from photographer, philanthropist and collector Judy Glickman Lauder includes pictures by Berenice Abbott, Diane Arbus, Richard Avedon, Margaret Bourke-White and Gordon Parks.

“This assortment puts us at another level,” said Mark Bessire, museum director. “We’ve normally carried out (photography), but this just leverages the work we are accomplishing and allows us choose off. This (assortment) could have gone any where, but it is coming in this article.”

Glickman Lauder, who could not be arrived at for an interview, has residences in Cape Elizabeth and on Fantastic Diamond Island and a longstanding affiliation with Rockport’s Maine Media Workshops. She serves on the museum’s board of trustees and is a perfectly-known photographer in her personal correct, with perform hanging in well known museums around the planet, including the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York Town and the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles.

She is supplying the PMA the assortment, which involves some of her very own work, as a “promised reward,” which implies a pledged donation at some specified long term date, whilst the museum presently has the selection on web page. The museum declined to say how considerably it is worth.

Libby Bischof, a background professor at the College of Southern Maine who specializes in the history of images and has co-authored a book on Maine images, was psyched to understand about the donation past week.

“Six hundred images from artists of this caliber will be extremely important not just to the museum but to the point out,” explained Bischof, who happened to be sitting down in USM’s Glickman Family Library, named for a former donation of much more than $1 million from Glickman Lauder and her late spouse, Albert Glickman. (A number of a long time just after Glickman died, she married Leonard Lauder, also a philanthropist and art collector.)

The actuality that Glickman Lauder and other people, like Maine artwork patrons Paula and Peter Lunder, chose “to situate their important private collections of deeply critical and impactful do the job in a condition that is meant so a great deal to them and so significantly to American art indicators to other patrons, collectors and practitioners that Maine is a location the place their get the job done can also stay,” mentioned Bischof, who also serves as executive director of the Osher Map Library and Smith Centre for Cartographic Education and learning at USM. “It really seeds that operate and Maine’s continued value in American images.”

The museum sees the assortment, alongside with an eventual expanded campus many thanks to its invest in of the previous Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine, as crucial to its potential expansion.

“Glickman Lauder’s gift permits the museum to assume broadly about the subsequent chapter of PMA historical past, particularly about how we can generate open activities with art, mature and diversify our assortment, and open new and dynamic local community-centered spaces that welcome our myriad communities,” museum spokesman Graeme Kennedy wrote in an e mail.


Museum website visitors will have a likelihood to see a selection of the photos in Oct, when the museum is scheduled to mount a important exhibition, “Presence: Photos from the Judy Glickman Lauder Assortment.” It formerly showed some of these works about a dozen a long time in the past, Bessire mentioned, but because then the assortment has “probably doubled in sizing, and it is however developing.”

The exhibition will be curated by Anjuli Lebowitz, the museum’s freshly employed, inaugural Judy Glickman Lauder Affiliate Curator of Images.

Anjuli Lebowitz, the new Judy Glickman Lauder Associate Curator of Images, revealed at her dwelling, states, “For a prolonged time, the verdict was that photography was not art,” but Glickman Lauder was not involved with that debate. Brianna Soukup/Workers Photographer

Glickman Lauder began amassing images in the 1970s, Lebowitz mentioned, a time when the current market for photos was exploding as collectors endeavored to generate a respected discipline.

“Matching images to specified inventive actions was a main concept at the time because they have been making an attempt to justify photography as artwork. Because of its mechanical mother nature, with photography, there was generally a enormous dangle-up about whether or not it could be art,” Lebowitz spelled out. “For a extensive time, the verdict was that images was not artwork.”

A single of the things Lebowitz finds so powerful about this collection is that Glickman Lauder wasn’t worried with that debate. Quite a few collectors at the time had been seeking only for the “best” photographs, Lebowitz reported.

“Judy is also seeking for ‘What are the most effective pictures?’ but she is also looking for photos that move her. She is not seeking to fill in gaps – ‘I need to have one picture from this artist and 1 picture from this movement’ – that is not the worry. Nevertheless, she has wonderful photographs that are section of the canon, but she integrated them for the reason that they go her, for the reason that she connects to them, and I feel that is a actually exceptional technique to forming a big assortment like this,” Lebowitz explained.

Bessire underlined that place.

“One of the most thrilling points for us is that she is a photographer herself,” he reported about Glickman Lauder. “It’s intriguing to see what a person at the rear of the lens collects. A photographer provides to gathering a different eye and a distinct way of hunting at pictures. Her eye goes to illustrations or photos. She’s very democratic in her alternatives. Just because a person is not very well identified does not necessarily mean it is not a stunning image.”

The collection encompasses will work “by essential contributors to the medium’s history” whose names are significantly less common to the general public, these kinds of as Graciela Iturbide, Lotte Jacobi, Alma Lavenson and Ben Shahn, the museum stated in a news release.

Maine Media Workshops + University President Mark Mansfield explained those and other photographers showcased in the selection as “the canon of photographic record.”


Bessire stated the selection facilities on images shot by pioneering woman photographers, images of American civil legal rights struggles, photographs of the trend and celebrity worlds and photographs that depict the legacy of the Holocaust and of war. (Glickman Lauder is acknowledged for her very own guide, “Beyond the Shadows,” that includes pictures she shot over 3 a long time of concentration camps, camp survivors and the Danes who risked their lives to save Danish Jews during Globe War II.)

Irving Bennett Ellis, father of philanthropist and collector Judy Glickman Lauder, produced this 9- by-7-inch, double-exposure gelatin silver print of Glickman Lauder’s mother, Louise Ellis, circa 1936. It is component of the Judy Glickman Lauder Selection. Graphic courtesy of Luc Demers

In a launch announcing the present, the museum provided a number of pictures that “really reveal the power of the selection,” Lebowitz explained. 1 shows a double publicity of Glickman Lauder’s mom, Louise Ellis, that was shot by her father, Irving Bennett Ellis, a medical professional and a popular photographer himself. Lebowitz explained it as an “incredible composite portrait displaying distinctive psychological states of Louise Ellis.”

Yet another is “American Gothic,” a photograph by the celebrated African American photographer and movie director Gordon Parks. It depicts Ella Watson, a charwoman at the federal Farm Protection Administration place of work in which Parks was working at the time, in a pose modeled following the Grant Wooden portray of the identical name. Instead of a pitchfork, Watson is shown with a mop and a broom instead of a farmhouse in the history, there is an American flag.

“Judy has a really powerful social justice streak, and that picture is so famed and so outstanding and by a single of the most essential photographers of the 20th century, but I also adore that it was a collaboration with the subject matter, Ella Watson,” Lebowitz explained. It’s one of a sequence of just about 100 prints that Parks manufactured with Watson. “And it so succinctly would make the stage that we as a state can do much better. It displays each enjoy of state and a rightful criticism as properly,” she reported.

Photographed by Richard Avedon, Audrey Hepburn and Artwork Buchwald, with Simone D’Aillencourt, Frederick Eberstadt, Barbara Mullen and Dr. Reginald Kernan, at Maxim’s in Paris in August 1959. A gelatin silver print, 19½ by 29 inches. “Talk about a photograph with wow energy,” mentioned Portland Museum of Art Director Mark Bessire. Richard Avedon

A 3rd, by style photographer Richard Avedon, is shot at Maxim’s in Paris and demonstrates actress Audrey Hepburn and humorist Art Buchwald.

“I feel it definitely captures the spirit of the collector, as (Glickman Lauder) is fairly exuberant and enjoyment as well,” Lebowitz said. “The presence of pleasure and speculate is definitely why the selection is so special, and why I’m so content it is listed here and that I’ve appear to Portland to do the job with it.”

Lebowitz has labored in these significant town museums as the Philadelphia Museum of Artwork, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York Metropolis, and the Nationwide Gallery in Washington, D.C. A assortment like that of Glickman Lauder has a significantly even bigger impact on a lesser institution, she claimed.

“Even 600 photos can be swallowed up when you are chatting about a bigger put that has 50,000 shots. Here it can have pride of position,” she explained. “It actually is the star of the display.”

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