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Avant Garde - Edward Weston & Margrethe Mather

by: Dominique N.

Avant Garde - Edward Weston & Margrethe Mather ARHI 3530

Marketplace > University of Georgia > Art History > ARHI 3530 > Avant Garde Edward Weston Margrethe Mather
Dominique N.
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About this Document

Avant Garde - Weston (1886-1958) & Margrethe Mather (1885-1852); Detailed noted about the comparative photography of Edward Weston and Margrethe Mather; Including his time in Mexico and his interac...
Art History 3530 - Modern Photography
Janice Simon
Study Guide
nude, tina, modotti, edward, mather, weston, margrethe, 1800s, 1900s, avant, garde, Photography, history, Art, Artist, photographer, Photo, Mexico, cloud, shadow, affair, Georgia, Okeefe, Stieglitz, Strand, Steichen
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This 9 page Study Guide was uploaded by Dominique N. on Tuesday July 12, 2016. The Study Guide belongs to ARHI 3530 at University of Georgia taught by Janice Simon in Summer 2016. Since its upload, it has received 13 views. For similar materials see Art History 3530 - Modern Photography in Art History at University of Georgia.


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Date Created: 07/12/16
ARHI 3530 – Modernist Photography  California Eyes  Edward Weston (1886-1958) & Margrethe Mather (1885-1952) o Both were 27 when they met and profoundly influenced each other. Weston became a different kind of person thanks to her o Born in Utah; mother died when she was 3; reinvented herself by changing her name in 1910 o Live in San Francisco; suggested that she was a prostitute to make money o Joined the Los Angeles Camera Club in 1912; part of the California Pictorialist Group o Around 1920 she became a member of the Pittsburgh Salon o She was into anarchism – people who want to overthrow the establishment; Emma Goldman; left wing politics; suffragette movement; very against the war that exploded in 1914; a part of a large, bohemian artistic circle (it included Charlie Chaplin) o Weston came to CA in a way to reinvent himself  Tropico (small rural town in California)  Married to an older woman, with 2 kids and was struggling with photography) o Fell in love with the free spirited Mather and reinvented himself to fit her profile and becomes an anarchist and bohemian  Starts wearing a cape and dressing in the artistic dandy fashion o Mather, Edward Weston 1921 (platinum print) o Weston, The Fan (Margrethe Mather) 1917 Platinum/Palladium  Platinum/Palladium allows for much deeper blacks and allows for richness and softness to the edges as well  The use of shadow is important  Sense of mystery here  Both use the space within (the figure in relationship to the background  Both are flat against the wall o Mather Moon Kwan on the Yit-Kim 1918  Features Charles McGehee Asian art and philosophy scholar  Hers is more radical than Weston’s because she has pushed the use of negative space (lots of blank space) and creates this sense of isolation  She makes us make a visual analogy because the shadow of the instrument echoes the symbols of the wall  Really balances it out o Weston Epilogue (Margrethe Mather) 1919 9cover of Photo-Era August 1920)  Very much in response to Moon Kwan  People found this problematic  August 1920 is the moment when women’s suffrage is voted into law  Plays off of Moon Kwan on the Yit-Kim 1918  Creates a double shadow (like how Strand did in his Twin Lakes CT)  All the rest are just on the wall; pushed the abstraction of what is real and what is mirage (shadow reflection, abstraction, etc.)  Her face becomes mask-like  Sculptural figure  Epilogue – something after a story is told  Critics  Found it too modern for their taste  Capricious in its design  The viewer should decide for itself what is here; requires a fertile imagination o Mather Pierrot (Otto Matiesen) 1920  Motif of the Pierrot  Seen as a substitute for the artist o Often alienated in society  Tassel hanging > suggests the idea of a curtain > which suggests the idea of a show being put on  Sense of weariness as they look to the side o The Attic Series  Weston, John Hagemeyer (Sunny Corner in the Attic) 1920  John Hagemeyer—photographer; good friend of both Mathers and Weston  What is modern about this photograph? o Very cubist as if he’s in the image and you get all these 3d and 2d shapes o Uses the big and bold shadows to create variation in shapes o Pipe and hat look as if they’re floating in space (dematerialization of human and and objects) o Mather Marionette 1920  Appeared with one of Weston’s attic pictures in Photograms of the Year  Marionette is being led to the edge  Hand suggests control; and the hand suggests the hand of God leading the marionette o Weston Japanese Fencing Mask 1921  Wonderful abstraction caused by the shadow of the mask  Dehumanization—becomes machine-like  Holding to his interest of shadows being significant o Mather Portrait of Weston 1921 (both platinum/palladium print)  Implication that this is a product of his imagination (image placed in the brain-area of the shadow)  A softness  A rethinking of portraiture o 1921 – start having tensions; split and reunite briefly in 1923 o Mather John Hagemeyer & Edward Weston 1921 sepia tones  Here we have this emptiness between two figures  Creates a tension between the two  Hagemeyer has his pipe  Consciously making reference to Weston’s Attic portrait of Hagemeyer  Redefining portraiture o Weston Nude (Tina Modotti) 1921  Modotti has an important influence on Weston’s life (mistress)  Pushing “what can be done with a photograph?” and “what is appropriate for photographing a body?”  Has taken away the identity of the model (took away the head)  Takes that cubist idea of taking something and turning it into something else  Making great strides in thinking how the nude can be photographed o Weston Ruth Shaw 1922 palladium print  Ruth Shaw (mistress) – concert pianist  Learning from Mather that you don’t need to keep the entire head in a portrait (you can cut some off)  Suggesting Ruth Shaw’s modernity  Playing with her modern, triangular haircut and the triangle shape in the background o Weston Nude (Young Boy Neil in Studio) 1922  Using the absence (putting things in the corner)  Idea of innocence and all this possibility (positive space) o Weston Nude 1923 (him and Mather briefly get back together)  Of Margrethe Mather  Cuts off her head (can’t see the identity)  Treater her as an object among objects  Using natural light  More of an aerial view to capture the photograph  More of an intimacy because you are seeing it so close up  Seeing more of the imperfection (pores in the skin, hairs on the legs, pubic hairs, etc.)—using a sharp lens really getting us up close to the figure o Mather Billy Justema in a Man’s Summer Kimono 1923 Gelatin Silver Print  A lot of connection with the Ruth Shaw  Form appears in Whistler’s Peacock Room  Connection with the Asian tradition  Very connected to modern movement  Cropping and zeroing in on the body just as Weston did in his nude of her o Mather Untitled (Billy Justema, Torso) 1923  Gets really up close and personal o Weston Neil 1925  Gets really up close and personal  This being both a landscape and a cosmos to the universe  The world naval o Mather Fan in Hand 1925  Male/female all at once (androgynous)  Very flat background o Mather Japanese Wrestler’s Belly 1927 o Mather Glass Eyes 1931 o Weston went to NYC to meet Alfred Stieglitz. In June 1922, Weston gave a lecture called Random Notes on photography.  Quote: talks about the importance of Stieglitz and the fact that he can find something extraordinary in everything he photographs o Weston Armco Streel, Ohio 1922 Gelatin Silver Prints  What captures his attention is the unending modern life and industrious America (i.e. factories)  His modern definition of America  Stieglitz was interested in this  The straight photographic sharp design  This crispness; and sense that there was no alteration  Stark contrast and use of dark and light A lot of geometry and shapes The idea of the new factories rising up and this new America in the making  CUBISM o The nudes he sees of Georgia O’Keefe push him to do the one of Margrethe Mather ca. 1922  Stieglitz Untitled: Portrait of Georgia O’Keefe 1922  Really important difference b/w Georgia O’Keefe nudes because people cared that it was her Edward Weston (travels to Mexico—place of stark extreme lights and darks w/ few greys) o Weston The Great White Cloud of Mazatlán 1923  Stieglitz wrote about it: saw it as a sort of Moby Dick image  The title plays on Moby Dick because they call Moby the Great White Whale  First image in Mexico o Weston Crepusculo (Twilight)—Cloud 1924  Similar to his nude of Tina Modotti o Weston Amanecer (Dawn) 1926 o Weston Cloud 1924-1926 o Quote: This idea of starkness of colors against the whiteness of the walls and black furniture  Put these images in his room:  Weston Armco Steel Ohio o Admired by Stieglitz and the Mexican Avant Garde  Picasso The Watering Place 1905  Hokusai The Great Wave off Kanagawa 1829-32 o Weston, Heroic Heads Series:  Diego Rivera 1923  Diego Rivera Flower Day 1925 o Emphasis on the native peoples of Mexico o People have stone-like qualities o Adds neo-primitism to his work  Left/divorced his wife Flora and 3 sons and went with Tina o Brings his son Bret o 1923-1924 o returns to Mexico again in 1925 Who is he emulating for this portrait: Stieglitz’s portraits of Georgia O’Keefe; he placed Rivera in front of his own work just like Stieglitz Has Rivera looking like a stone-like figure Bold diagonal Shadows similar to the ones in his Attic series of John Hagemeyer Somber feel Duality: masculine figure with the feminine of the flower in the background  Guadelupe Marin de Rivera 1923 Diego Rivera’s second wife Very outspoken woman (because she is photographed with her mouth wide open) Can really see the detail in the roughness of her skin and hair and seems like she’s been through a lot but still stands strong Side portrait: similar to roman coins o Something heroic and high quality about that Hair suggests she’s possibly something naturalistic o Dark hair is panther-like We see her from below o Makes her seem like she’s a very strong woman Quote: more used to less vocal women at this time earthiness  Weston Tina Modotti 1924 platinum or palladium print Quote: She looks very sad; tears have possibly streaked her face High contrast; the Mexican sun beats down on her; on the rooftop of their apartment Don’t see the detail in her hair like we do with the Guadalupe portrait From below, so she looks elevated More tightly cropped Hanging down qualities of hair and shadow sort of weigh her down During a difficult moment in their relationship  They are having an argument and he purposely gets her to the verge of tears so he could take a good photograph  Deep emotion of sadness  More refined quality o Goes back to CA o Weston, Neil 1925 o Goes back to Mexico o Weston Excusado 1925  Devoted 2 full weeks to just photographing this  The importance of the series and doing a range of photographs round one subject  To him it was equal to the types of nudes he was seeing  Sees a lithe nude in this  Mather Billy Justema Torso 1923  Possibly fascinated by the curves of the object and how they form this abstract piece of furniture  Age of the modern machine  Marcelle Duchamp the Fountain (Dada)  The pattern on the floor  floral patterns  circles on the floor play against the bolts on the toilet  for him, he saw it equal to the Victory of Samothrace  THE HUMAN FORM DIVINE  Tina Modotti Experiment in Related Form—Glasses 1924  This idea of one form playing off another o Weston Nude (Anita 1 & 2) 1925  Done in Mexico after Excusado series  Of Anita Brenner  Her back is turned to us rather than his other nudes where they are frontal  Very symmetrical  Almost as if she’s flattened against the picture plane  There’s this blackness; very hard edge  As if she’s posed as an object and her nudeness kind of starts to become ambiguous  The anonymity of this; as if this is not a portrait of anyone o Weston Nude 1925  Of Anita Brenner  Just the form and this blackness  Looks as if her legs are missing  Totally folding in and this creates this extraordinary abstraction  Very phallic and pear-like  Weston encourages all these different opinions of what it looks like  Brancusi  Brancusi liked reducing something to its simplest form  Torso of a Young Woman 1918  Brancusi (both photographer and sculptor), Mademoiselle Pogany and Princess X 1920 o Phallic-like quality even though it is a woman  Wassily Kandinsky  Analogies between music and the visual arts is important to him  Lyrical 1911 woodcut o Blue is the most spiritual color  Concerning the Spiritual Art 1912  Weston’s definition of photography: photographers often relate their abstract photography to realism; this realism of recognizing the abstraction in the real world; very much like Stieglitz, Steichen, and Strand=the forms speak to an emotional experience o Goes back to CA in 1927 and stays there and starts photographing the landscape around him, but in singular objects; would spend days setting up the lighting and everything else to photograph VERY TRANSCENDENTALIST   Looks like it could be a flower o Georgia O’Keefe influence possibly  Weston Nude (lower Torso  Olla is a ceramic vase (Mexican tradition)  Says close up lens is the best  Analogy: GA O’Keefe (apple on a black plate)  Settles near Carmel in Northern California.  Rock, Point Lobos, CA  Thought photography was best in close-up  Weston Pepper No. 30 1930  Huge series of peppers (this one is emblematic of his vision)  Looks like 2 figures embracing o Idea of an essence of two figures embracing becomes one body in the pepper  Rodin The Kiss 1885  Swirling motion and wonderful play of the light  Elan Vitale  Idea that the eye of the imagination of the viewer and artist transcends nature and becomes one form transforming into another form  Nature is enlarged by the vision (Emerson)  Weston Artichoke Halved 1930  With Weston we have that same transcendentalist spirituality like in Day and Brigman, but in sharp focus straight photography  Salinas, CA (artichoke capital of the world)  Microcosm being a macrocosm  Dunes, Oceano 1936  Dunes becoming bodies  Nude 1934  Body parts echo Bergsonian Elan Vitale  Cabbage Halved 1930  Continuing the idea of an equivalent for feelings and the life force  Reminds us of an aerial phtoograph  Pelican 1942  Reminds us of life cycles


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