Artists & Technology: Snapshot at the Phillips Collection

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of spending a few hours at the Phillips Collection exhibit, Snapshot: Painters and Photography, Bonnard to Vuillard.

If you have any interest in the way artists respond to and utilize new technologyrun don’t walk to this exhibit.

It will be  somewhat bitter sweet to think about the current bankruptcy proceedings of Eastman Kodak while appreciating the beautiful results that artists produced in the early years of photography.  I’ve been looking at the Post-Impressionists, Bonnard and Vuillard for years but never really understood how this tiny little box,  the first handheld camera changed their way of interacting with the world and art.

George Hendrik Breitner, Girl in a kimono (Geesje Kwak) in Breitner’s studio on Lauriersgracht, Amsterdam, n.d.. Collection RKD (Netherlands Institute for Art History), The Hague.

George Hendrik Breitner, Girl in a kimono (Geesje Kwak) in Breitner’s studio on Lauriersgracht, Amsterdam, n.d.. Collection RKD (Netherlands Institute for Art History), The Hague.

George Hendrik Breitner, Girl in Red Kimono, Geesje Kwak, 1893–95. Noortman Master Paintings, Amsterdam, on behalf of private collection, Netherlands

George Hendrik Breitner, Girl in Red Kimono, Geesje Kwak, 1893–95. Noortman Master Paintings, Amsterdam, on behalf of private collection, Netherlands

You can see in the photography the use of unusual compositional cropping of the image, the spontaneous gesture and facial expression, the intimate scenes of home and daily life on the street. You’ll watch  their kids grow up and also see their parents age in personal photographs that found their way into their painting. I also discovered the artists,  Henri Evenepoel and George Hendrik Breitner who produced some very sensitive and intriguing photographs.

I purchased the catalog for Snapshot yesterday and recommend it. I’ll be making at least one more trip to the show before it closes in early May.  The shows next stop is the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

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