history of photography galleries....

Discussion in 'Photographers' started by daisyjellybean, Oct 10, 2003.

  1. daisyjellybean

    daisyjellybean Member

    Oct 10, 2003
    new york cit
    I'm working on my thesis project and for one chapter I'm writing about the history of photography galleries. Except that I'm having troubles finding a list or timeline. I started with gallery 291 and have no real leads from there.
    If anyone knows of places I can look for my research or if you're a photography history buff and just know some helpful information, that would be wonderful!

    I can't wait to look at everything else on this website!
  2. DKT

    DKT Member

    Sep 19, 2002
    hey--you could try this listgroup:


    fwiw--it's a kind of a PIA getting signed up to this, since the list was barraged by spam & some sort of hacker type activity a year or so ago, but it's a good list with some knowledgable folks on it. Hope this helps,

  3. Aggie

    Aggie Member

    Jan 1, 2003
    So. Utah
    Multi Format
  4. Michael A. Smith

    Michael A. Smith Subscriber

    Sep 7, 2002
    Well, there are no leads after 291 because there were no photo galleries until the 1950s when Limelight, which was also a coffee shop, owned by Helen Gee, was in New York. Over the years, there were a number of galleries that had shows of photography, but strictly speaking, they were not photography galleries. Even 291 was not a "photography" gallery. Other art was shown there as well. 291 became the "Little Galleries of the Photo Secession" which showed photography, certainly, and also showed other "advanced" art as well, so strictly speaking, even 291 was not a "photography" gallery.

    Carl Siembab gallery in Boston beginning in the early 60s (and maybe in the late fifties). Focus gallery in San Francisco owned by--her name is on the tip of my tongue, but eludes me. And there were a couple of galleries in the early 60s in New York. Norbert (Kleber?) had a gallery, downstairs and I believe he also sold camera equipment, I believe. And there was one other as well.

    But the first truly successful modern gallery was the Witkin Gallery beginning in 1968, I believe--maybe beginning in late 1967--I'd have to look it up. Then came Tom Halsted's 831 Gallery in Birmingham, Michigan. This was really the second gallery. (I had a show there in 1970, a two-person show with Brett Weston and I even sold a print--for $25.) And then came Light Gallery in New York and Harry Lunn in Washington, but at first he sold other things besides photography. The history of all these things can be read in Jake Deschin’s newsletters if you can find them. Jake was an old-timer--at one time he wrote for Pop Photo or Modern and in his newsletter he reported on what was going on. You should be able to find them at the New York Public Library, I would think.

    The Witkin Gallery and Light Gallery were very successful and were a big part of starting the gallery "scene."

    Beginning in 1975 other galleries started to spring up around the country. G. Ray Hawkins in LA opened in March. Maggie Weston in August opened her gallery in Carmel. And before then, the Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester had a gallery.

    The Ansel Adams gallery had been ongoing in Yosemite for some time, but it almost does not count becasue for the longest time they only showed Ansel's work. BY 1975, I believe they were showing others as well.

    Well, that's a beginning. Where to get information? Good question. I'd ask, politely, a few of the (now) old-timers.
  5. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

    Nov 27, 2002
    Ipswich, Mas
    Medium Format
    You might look at "Alfred Stieglitz - a Biography" by Richard Whelen (ISBN 0-316-93404-6).

    There is a lot of information here about "291", "The Intimate Gallery", and other early salons and galleries, both in the United States and abroad.

    A significant Gallery, if not the first, was "An American Place" started,in 1929, essentially, by Dorothy Norman and Paul Strand, at 509 Madison Avenue in New York, suite 1710. Although not dedicated solely to photography, it was one of the few galleries of the time that exhibited photography - and had a strong slant to photography as art. See Part VIII, Chapter Sixty-Six "An American Place."

    Hope this helps.