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11 May 2018

Clarence H. White and His World: The Art and Craft of Photography 1895-1925

Davis Museum, Wellesley College

Reviewed by Franklin Einspruch

This thorough exhibition of Clarence White and associated figures handsomely displays seminal photographic works. While his sense of invention was confined largely to technical matters, White was a master of them, with due influence.

His is an unusual case of a politically progressive, aesthetically conservative artist. He produced a series of portraits of early American socialists that were informed, like the rest of his work, by Tonalism. Thus a 1909 palladium print shows Rose Pastor Stokes in a flowing dress on the shoreline, standing in profile with her mouth agape and her hair blown back, as if she has just wandered out of a Maxfield Parrish illustration.

Lacking a single modernist bone in his body and felled by a heart attack at 54, it was left to his reverent students to unmoor from Thomas Dewing and Utamaro and chase down the inherent possibilities of the medium. A striking still life of cheese and crackers from 1922 by Paul Outerbridge indicates what was to come.

Exhibition Clarence H. White and His World: The Art and Craft of Photography 1895-1925 link
Start date 13 Feb 2018
End date 03 Jun 2018
Presenter Davis Museum link
Venue Wellesley College, 106 Central Street, Wellesley, MA, USA map
Image Clarence H. White, American, 1871–1925, The Sea [Rose Pastor Stokes, Caritas Island, Connecticut], 1909, printed after 1917, palladium print, the Clarence H. White Collection, assembled and organized by Professor Clarence H. White Jr., and given in memory of Lewis F. White, Dr. Maynard P. White Sr., and Clarence H. White Jr., the sons of Clarence H. White Sr. and Jane Felix White

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