Portland Museum of Art gets photography collection that ‘puts us at a further level’

Yoshiko Yap

The Portland Museum of Artwork has received a selection of a lot more than 600 photographs, which includes performs by earth-famous 20th-century photographers, that the museum believes will renovate it into a vacation spot for the artwork kind.

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

“This selection puts us at a different amount,” explained Mark Bessire, museum director. “We’ve generally completed (images), but this just leverages the operate we are doing and lets us consider off. This (assortment) could have gone anywhere, but it is coming right here.”

Glickman Lauder, who could not be attained for an interview, has houses in Cape Elizabeth and on Wonderful 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-regarded photographer in her own ideal, with function hanging in well known museums all around the entire world, which include the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York Town and the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles.

She is offering the PMA the collection, which incorporates some of her possess get the job done, as a “promised gift,” which usually means a pledged donation at some specified long run day, though the museum previously has the assortment on website. The museum declined to say how significantly it is truly worth.

Libby Bischof, a history professor at the College of Southern Maine who specializes in the heritage of images and has co-authored a book on Maine images, was fired up to find out about the donation final 7 days.

“Six hundred images from artists of this caliber will be extremely significant not just to the museum but to the state,” stated Bischof, who occurred to be sitting down in USM’s Glickman Family Library, named for a past donation of more than $1 million from Glickman Lauder and her late partner, Albert Glickman. (Many decades following Glickman died, she married Leonard Lauder, also a philanthropist and artwork collector.)

The simple fact that Glickman Lauder and other people, like Maine art patrons Paula and Peter Lunder, selected “to situate their significant particular collections of deeply important and impactful operate in a condition which is meant so substantially to them and so substantially to American artwork signals to other patrons, collectors and practitioners that Maine is a spot the place their do the job can also are living,” claimed Bischof, who also serves as govt director of the Osher Map Library and Smith Middle for Cartographic Instruction at USM. “It truly seeds that get the job done and Maine’s ongoing great importance in American photography.”

The museum sees the selection, along with an eventual expanded campus thanks to its obtain of the former Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine, as essential to its potential expansion.

“Glickman Lauder’s present enables the museum to consider broadly about the subsequent chapter of PMA background, particularly about how we can make open up activities with art, develop and diversify our collection, and open new and dynamic group-centered spaces that welcome our myriad communities,” museum spokesman Graeme Kennedy wrote in an e mail.


Museum readers will have a chance to see a assortment of the pictures in Oct, when the museum is scheduled to mount a main exhibition, “Presence: Images from the Judy Glickman Lauder Collection.” It formerly confirmed some of these is effective about a dozen a long time back, Bessire said, but because then the assortment has “probably doubled in dimensions, and it is however growing.”

The exhibition will be curated by Anjuli Lebowitz, the museum’s newly hired, inaugural Judy Glickman Lauder Affiliate Curator of Photography.

Anjuli Lebowitz, the new Judy Glickman Lauder Affiliate Curator of Images, shown at her property, states, “For a very long time, the verdict was that images was not artwork,” but Glickman Lauder wasn’t concerned with that discussion. Brianna Soukup/Team Photographer

Glickman Lauder started amassing images in the 1970s, Lebowitz reported, a time when the current market for photographs was exploding as collectors endeavored to generate a highly regarded self-discipline.

“Matching photographs to certain artistic actions was a major topic at the time since they ended up seeking to justify photography as art. Mainly because of its mechanical mother nature, with pictures, there was normally a big hang-up about whether or not or not it could be art,” Lebowitz defined. “For a extensive time, the verdict was that images was not art.”

One of the issues Lebowitz finds so powerful about this assortment is that Glickman Lauder was not involved with that debate. A lot of collectors at the time had been seeking only for the “best” pictures, Lebowitz claimed.

“Judy is also on the lookout for ‘What are the finest photographs?’ but she is also hunting for photographs that transfer her. She is not on the lookout to fill in gaps – ‘I have to have one particular photograph from this artist and one particular photograph from this movement’ – which is not the worry. Nevertheless, she has astounding pictures that are section of the canon, but she involved them due to the fact they transfer her, since she connects to them, and I consider that is a definitely exclusive method to forming a large collection like this,” Lebowitz mentioned.

Bessire underlined that issue.

“One of the most enjoyable items for us is that she is a photographer herself,” he mentioned about Glickman Lauder. “It’s intriguing to see what another person guiding the lens collects. A photographer provides to collecting a various eye and a distinct way of seeking at photography. Her eye goes to photos. She’s really democratic in her selections. Just mainly because another person is not nicely known doesn’t necessarily mean it is not a gorgeous graphic.”

The assortment encompasses functions “by essential contributors to the medium’s history” whose names are significantly less familiar to the general community, this sort of as Graciela Iturbide, Lotte Jacobi, Alma Lavenson and Ben Shahn, the museum mentioned in a news release.

Maine Media Workshops + College or university President Mark Mansfield described those and other photographers showcased in the assortment as “the canon of photographic history.”


Bessire reported the assortment facilities on pictures shot by groundbreaking feminine photographers, pictures of American civil rights struggles, pictures of the style and movie star worlds and pictures that depict the legacy of the Holocaust and of war. (Glickman Lauder is acknowledged for her personal guide, “Beyond the Shadows,” that includes photographs she shot over 3 a long time of focus camps, camp survivors and the Danes who risked their lives to save Danish Jews all through Environment War II.)

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

In a launch saying the reward, the museum included quite a few pics that “really exhibit the toughness of the collection,” Lebowitz stated. One displays a double exposure of Glickman Lauder’s mom, Louise Ellis, that was shot by her father, Irving Bennett Ellis, a health practitioner and a famed 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 film director Gordon Parks. It depicts Ella Watson, a charwoman at the federal Farm Safety Administration office where by Parks was doing the job at the time, in a pose modeled after the Grant Wooden painting of the same name. As a substitute of a pitchfork, Watson is shown with a mop and a broom rather of a farmhouse in the history, there is an American flag.

“Judy has a really robust social justice streak, and that image is so famed and so extraordinary and by a single of the most essential photographers of the 20th century, but I also really like that it was a collaboration with the topic, Ella Watson,” Lebowitz said. It is a single of a sequence of virtually 100 prints that Parks created with Watson. “And it so succinctly makes the place that we as a region can do greater. It demonstrates the two like of country and a rightful criticism as nicely,” she mentioned.

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 ability,” said Portland Museum of Artwork Director Mark Bessire. Richard Avedon

A third, by fashion photographer Richard Avedon, is shot at Maxim’s in Paris and reveals actress Audrey Hepburn and humorist Artwork Buchwald.

“I believe it really captures the spirit of the collector, as (Glickman Lauder) is fairly exuberant and entertaining as perfectly,” Lebowitz said. “The existence of pleasure and speculate is seriously why the assortment is so particular, and why I’m so delighted it is below and that I’ve come to Portland to function with it.”

Lebowitz has worked in these kinds of huge town museums as the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York Town, and the Nationwide Gallery in Washington, D.C. A selection like that of Glickman Lauder has a substantially greater effect on a more compact establishment, she claimed.

“Even 600 images can be swallowed up when you are conversing about a more substantial position that has 50,000 shots. Listed here it can have delight of position,” she mentioned. “It genuinely is the star of the show.”

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