André Kertész: On Reading, an exhibition on display at the Academy Art Museum in Easton, MD, is a series of photographs made by legendary Hungarian photographer André Kertész (1894–1985) in Hungary, France, and the United States over a 50-year period. The exhibition illustrates Kertész’s penchant for the poetry and choreography of life in public and also private moments at home, examining the power of reading as a universal pleasure. Kertész was a prominent member of Cartier-Bresson’s circle in 1920s Paris but his influence continued well into the 1970s, affecting another generation that included Lisette Model, Berenice Abbott, Helen Levitt, Robert Frank, Garry Winogrand, and Lee Fiedlander, among many others.
Balanced between geometric composition and playful observation, it is easy to understand how his glimpses of everyday people and places changed the course of photographic art. Kertész (1894–1985) an American, was born in Austria-Hungary and began taking photographs in Budapest in 1912. He was drafted into the Austro-Hungarian Army where he volunteered for service at the Polish and Russian fronts. Wounded in 1915, he returned to Budapest before moving to Paris in 1925.
Kertész circulated among avant-garde literary and artistic groups and embraced the deep culture of Paris between the World Wars. With the rise of Hitler and the Nazis, many from the Parisian community took their discoveries to America. Kertész moved with his wife, Elisabeth, to New York in 1936 where he worked as an artist and commercial photographer for the rest of his life, receiving little recognition for his contributions before his untimely death.
Curator-led tours will be held on Tuesday, November 29, 2011 at 10 a.m., Wednesday, December 7, 2011 at 1 p.m., Wednesday, January 5 at 10 a.m., and Tuesday, January 10 at 1 p.m. A Lecture: Uncommon Images, by Sahm Doherty-Sefton will be held on January 11, 2012, at 6:30 p.m.
Admission to the Museum is $3 for non–members, children under 12 admitted free. The Museum is open Monday and Friday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. with extended hours on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday hours are 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. The First Friday of each month, the Museum is open until 7 p.m. The Museum is located at 106 South St., Easton, MD, 21601. For general Museum information, call 410-822-ARTS (2787) or visit: www.academyartmuseum.org.
The exhibition is organized by the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Columbia College, Chicago, Illinois. The exhibition tour is organized by Curatorial Assistance Traveling Exhibitions. Exhibition Sponsors include the Maryland State Arts Council and the Talbot County Arts Council.
Photo: André Kertész, Carnival, Paris (detail) (woman reading behind the stage), 1926, Gelatin silver print.