The Sketch, 1903. Platinum, 6 1/4 x 8 1/2. Gift of Mason E. Turner Jr., 1983

Feb. 6-June 28: Käsebier exhibition

UD sets Käsebier exhibition 'The Complexity of Light and Shade'

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10:12 a.m., Jan. 24, 2013--A unique collection of the work of a pioneering American woman – one of the first to establish herself as a professional portrait photographer – will be the subject of an exhibition on campus this spring.

The new exhibition, “Gertrude Käsebier: The Complexity of Light and Shade,” will be on view Feb. 6-June 28 in the University of Delaware’s Old College Main Gallery.

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Käsebier (1852-1934) was among the most important American pictorialist photographers and a founding member of Alfred Stieglitz's Photo-Secession.

Her moody portraits and her expressive studies of mothers and children won critical acclaim in the U.S. and abroad, fetching record prices for artistic photography at the turn of the 20th century.

Stieglitz championed her work, devoting the first issue of his deluxe journal Camera Work to her photographs in 1903 and featuring her in his newly opened Little Galleries of the Photo-Secession in 1905.

Famed British modernist photographer Alvin Langdon Coburn came to study with her in New York. In France in 1905, she stayed with Edouard Steichen and visited the studio of Auguste Rodin, befriending the great sculptor and making an important series of photographs of him.

Through gifts from the artist’s family and others, UD holds a significant collection of the artist’s work and papers.

This exhibition, curated by Stephen Petersen, presents a selection of her works, ranging from formal and family portraits, to landscapes, to photographs from her private albums. Also presented are selected materials from the University of Delaware Library. 

A fully illustrated catalogue, made possible by funding from the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundations, will accompany the exhibition. 

The exhibition is dedicated to the memory of the late William Innes Homer, the H. Rodney Sharp Professor Emeritus of Art History at UD who died July 8, 2012. A nationally recognized scholar, teacher and connoisseur, Dr. Homer was a specialist in the art and photography of the United States from the late 19th century to the present and was the author of books on Käsebier, Stieglitz, Robert Henri and Thomas Eakins.

Exhibition activities

An opening reception with remarks by the curator will take place on Thursday, Feb. 21, 5-7 p.m. in the Old College Gallery. The event is open to the public free of charge. For reservations email universitymuseums@udel.edu.

Margaret D. Stetz will deliver a related lecture titled “The New Woman in Black and White” on Friday evening, March 1, at 6 p.m. at the Delaware Art Museum in Wilmington. A light reception will follow. Registration is required; see the Delaware Art Museum website

A symposium on the exhibition will take place on Saturday, March 2, from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the UD campus. For a symposium schedule, visit the University Museums website. The event is open to the public free of charge but registration is required and can be completed by sending email to universitymuseums@udel.edu.

About the Old College Gallery

Old College Gallery is open to the public free of charge. The gallery is located on the second floor of historic Old College at the corner of Main Street and North College Avenue in downtown Newark (18 East Main Street).  For hours and information, see the website or call 302-831-8037.

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