The Image Gallery: Redux (1958 - 1962)
through February 22, 2014
"In those days, photographic prints were not well known. People would walk in, point to the wall, and ask, ‘What’s that?’ They thought I had cut the images out of a magazine!”
- Larry Siegel
Larry Siegel was a man ahead of his time. In 1955 the artist saw the famed exhibition Family of Man at MOMA and four years later in 1959 he opened a gallery dedicated to photography, the Image Gallery. Short-lived but long remembered the gallery was an early leader for the photographic media and its appreciation as art. The work of Rudy Burckhardt, Sid Grossman, Saul Leiter, Duane Michals, Charles Pratt and Garry Winogrand among others showed at Image, and the gallery is still thought of as one of the models for exhibiting photography.
Siegel was more than a gallery director, he was an artist in his own right, and the community around the gallery quickly became a meeting place for photographers. Eugene Smith stopped by early for the first exhibition and ended up helping to hang the show when Larry Siegel realized that he had never done so himself. Two photographers who showed their work at the gallery were neighborhood residents. Saul Leiter lived across the street, and Robert Frank lived around the corner and would stop by regularly. Other visitors included the photographers Ansel Adams, Roman Vishniac, Aaron Siskind, and Minor White, as well as writers from The New York Times and The Village Voice, who reviewed exhibitions regularly. The only sticking point for the gallery was the patronage; Siegel was so ahead of his time that the work he was showing was yet to be broadly celebrated. Though Siegel closed the gallery after only a few years to pursue his career as an artist, the legacy of Image Gallery has endured.
To commemorate the history and relevance of Image Gallery Howard Greenberg Gallery will present the work of 21 photographers whose work was shown at Image Gallery. The exhibition will present photography by Gert Berliner, Lou Bernstein, Sheldon Brody, Rudy Burckhardt, John Cohen, Martin Dain, Arthur Freed, Sid Grossman, Charles Harbutt, Dave Heath, Simpson Kalisher, Saul Leiter, Duane Michals, Enrico Natali, Charles Pratt, Steve Schapiro, Larry Siegel, Ann Treer, Kenneth Van Sickle, David Vestal, Garry Winogrand, and Jasper Wood.
More Press on this story in
Gert Berliner, Grand Centeral, c. 1960
© Courtesy of the artist / Howard Greenberg Gallery