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Photographic Studies of Artists

September 4 to November 28, 2004


Edward Steichen
American, 1879-1973
Brancusi in His Studio, Paris, 1927
gelatin silver print, printed 1970s
©2004 Art Gallery of Ontario
Purchase, 1988

Portrait studies constitute one of the strengths of the Art Gallery of Ontario photography holdings. This exhibition presents a selection of images that are mostly informal in their nature and reveal close collaborations between the photographers and their subjects. Painters, sculptors and photographers are captured in their studio or in their living or working environments. The portraits were taken for various purposes: as illustration in a biographical narrative; for a photo-essay in a magazine or journal that captures a newsworthy aspect of the subject; or as exemplary images inspired by friendship.

Photography has the capacity to render everyday reality in vivid detail and varying forms. Yet, no single photograph is the definitive portrait or study of the subject, but it is for the photographer his or her unique perception of the subject. These artists’ portraits signal simultaneously a sense of revelation and mystification – they may be reflections of truthful representation and meaning or fleeting moments that are compellingly transformed into fixed form for viewer interpretation and completeness.

All photographs, unless otherwise noted, are in the collection of the Art Gallery of Ontario

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