Museum Exhibition Catalogues, Monographs, Artist's Projects, Curatorial Writings and Essays
William Eggleston was born in 1937 in Memphis, Tennessee. He took his first black-and-white photographs at age 18 and soon became serious about photography, though he never studied it formally. His first color work was shot in 1964 in color negative film, but in the late 60s he began to use color slides; it was some of those slides that he brought with him to New York in 1967, when he met Diane Arbus, Lee Friedlander, Garry Winogrand, and John Szarkowski. It was Szarkowski who curated Eggleston's landmark 1976 solo exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art, New York--a breakthrough in the perception of color photography as a serious form of fine art. The recipient of the 1998 Hasselblad Award, Eggleston's work was most recently seen in Documenta11 and in a major retrospective at the Fondation Cartier in Paris.
Black and White is an updated and expanded edition of William Eggleston’s (born 1939) Before Color (Steidl, 2012), the first publication to comprehensively present Eggleston’s early black-and-white photos and explore his artistic beginnings.
In the late 1950s Eggleston began photographing his hometown of Memphis, discovering many of the motifs that would come to define his seminal work in color: the diners, cars, gas stations, supermarkets, domestic interiors and the seemingly mundane gestures and expressions of his fellow citizens. Also here are his unconventional, sometimes tilted croppings, and above all his emphasis on the beautiful in the banal. In the mid-1960s Eggleston began working with color and after experimenting with different exposure settings he was soon pleased with the results—“And by God it all worked. Just overnight.” He subsequently abandoned black-and-white photography but its influence on his original vision of the American everyday remains fundamental.
"On the eve of the election, when nothing had yet been decided, when everything—whatever that everything was—hung in the balance, Eggleston made an elegy … a statement of perfect calm." —Lloyd Fonvielle In 1977 William Eggleston released Election Eve, his first and most elaborate artist’s book, containing 100 original prints in two leatherbound volumes, housed in a linen box. It was published by Caldecot Chubb in New York in an edition of only five, and has since become Eggleston’s rarest collectible book. This new Steidl edition recreates the full original sequence of photos in a single volume, making it available to the wider public for the first time. Election Eve contains images made in October 1976 during Eggleston’s pilgrimage from Memphis to the small town of Plains, Georgia, the home of Jimmy Carter who in November 1976 was elected 39th President of the United States. Eggleston began photographing even before he left Memphis and depicted the surrounding countryside and villages of Sumter Country, before he reached Plains. His photos of lonesome roads, train tracks, cars, gas stations and houses are mostly empty of people and form an intuitive, unsettling portrait of Plains, starkly different from the idealized image of it subsequently promoted by the media. The book includes a preface by Hollywood screenwriter (The Mummy, 1999), director (Gotham, 1988) and author Lloyd Fonvielle.
Published by David Zwirner Books|Steidl. Contributions by Alexander Nemerov.
Over the course of nearly six decades, William Eggleston—often referred to as the “father of color photography”—has established a singular pictorial style that deftly combines vernacular subject matter with an innate and sophisticated understanding of color, form, and composition.
Eggleston has said, “I am at war with the obvious.” His photographs transform the ordinary into distinctive, poetic images that eschew fixed meaning. Though criticized at the time, his now legendary 1976 solo exhibition, organized by the visionary curator John Szarkowski at The Museum of Modern Art, New York—the first presentation of color photography at the museum—heralded an important moment in the medium’s acceptance within the art-historical canon and solidified Eggleston’s position in the pantheon of the greats alongside Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Frank, and Walker Evans.
Published on the occasion of David Zwirner’s New York exhibition of selections from The Democratic Forest in the fall of 2016, this new catalogue highlights over sixty exceptional images from Eggleston’s epic project. His photography is “democratic” in its resistance to hierarchy where, as noted by the artist, “no particular subject is more or less important than another.”
Featuring original scholarship by Alexander Nemerov, this notable presentation of The Democratic Forest provides historical context for a monumental body of work, while offering newcomers a foothold in Eggleston’s photographic practice.
William Eggleston was born in 1939 in Memphis, Tennessee, where he continues to live today. Since the 1970s, his work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at prominent institutions worldwide, beginning with his 1976 show at The Museum of Modern Art, New York. In 2008, a major career-spanning survey organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York and Haus der Kunst in Munich then traveled to the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; the Art Institute of Chicago; and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Eggleston received a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in 1975 and has been the recipient of numerous notable awards, including the University of Memphis Distinguished Achievement Award (1996); Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography (1998); International Center of Photography Infinity Award for Lifetime Achievement (2004); the Getty Images Lifetime Achievement Award (2004); and the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (2016), among others.
Alexander Nemerov is department chair and the Carl and Marilynn Thoma Provostial Professor in the Arts and Humanities at Stanford University. Prior to joining Stanford, he was a professor of art history and American studies at Yale University. He has published several books and articles pertaining to the culture of American art dating from the eighteenth century to the 1970s. His writing often analyzes fiction and poetry alongside works of visual art.
Published by Steidl. Edited by Mark Holborn, William Eggleston. Introduction by Mark Holborn. Text by Eudora Welty.
Following the publication of Chromes in 2011 and Los Alamos Revisited in 2012, Steidl's reassessment of Eggleston's career continues with the publication of The Democratic Forest, his most ambitious project. This ten-volume set containing more than 1,000 photographs is drawn from a body of 12,000 pictures made by Eggleston in the 1980s. Following an opening volume of work in Louisiana, the ensuing volumes cover Eggleston's travels from his familiar ground in Memphis and Tennessee out to Dallas, Pittsburgh, Miami and Boston, the pastures of Kentucky and as far as the Berlin Wall. The final volume leads the viewer back to the South of small towns, cotton fields, the Civil War battlefield of Shiloh and the home of Andrew Jackson in Tennessee. The "democratic" in Eggleston's title refers to a democracy of vision, through which the most mundane subjects are represented with the same complexity and significance as the most elevated. This work has rarely been shown and only a fraction of the entire oeuvre has ever been published; the exhaustive editing process has taken over three years. This gorgeous set includes a new introduction by Mark Holborn and the republication of Eudora Welty's original essay on the work. William Eggleston was born in 1937 in Memphis, Tennessee. He took his first black-and-white photographs at age 18. His first color work was shot in 1964 in color negative film, but in the late 60s he began to use color slides. Eggleston was the subject of a landmark solo exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 1976.
At the end of the 1950s William Eggleston began to photograph around his home in Memphis using black-and-white 35mm film. Fascinated by the photography of Henri Cartier-Bresson, Eggleston declared at the time: "I couldn't imagine doing anything more than making a perfect fake Cartier-Bresson." Eventually Eggleston developed his own style which later shaped his seminal work in color-an original vision of the American everyday with its icons of banality: supermarkets, diners, service stations, automobiles and ghostly figures lost in space. From Black and White to Color includes some exceptional as-yet-unpublished photographs, and displays the evolution, ruptures and above all the radicalness of Eggleston's work when he began photographing in color at the end of the 1960s. Here we discover similar obsessions and recurrent themes as present in his early black-and-white work including ceilings, food, and scenes of waiting, as well as Eggleston's unconventional croppings-all definitive traits of the photographer who famously proclaimed, "I am at war with the obvious."
Los Alamos Revisited contains the definitive edit of William Eggleston's celebrated Los Alamos series, and closes a fascinating photographic story that began in the mid-1960s. Between 1965 and 1974, William Eggleston and Walter Hopps drove together through the USA, Eggleston taking photographs, Hopps at the wheel. During these travels the title Los Alamos was born. More than 30 years later Eggleston, Hopps, Caldecot Chubb and the photographer's son Winston Eggleston edited the photographs into a set of five portfolio boxes of dye-transfer prints. Hopps' original vision was to create a vast Los Alamos exhibition, but the negatives became separated, with Hopps retaining only about half. He later returned what was thought to be the remaining negatives to the Eggleston Artistic Trust in Memphis where they were catalogued as Box #17. After Hopps' death in 2005, another long-lost box of negatives was discovered. These were catalogued as Box #83 and documented in a handmade reference book called Lost and Found Los Alamos. In 2011, the photographer's son William Eggleston III and Mark Holborn reviewed the now complete set of negatives, finalizing the sequence with Winston Eggleston at Steidl in 2012. Los Alamos Revisited presents this sequence in its entirety, and updates the 2003 Scalo book Los Alamos.
In April 1979, a book of 15 color photographs by William Eggleston was published in a limited edition of twenty. The photographs were taken from the second chapter of an unpublished larger work entitled Wedgewood Blue. Alongside his publications Chromes (2011), Los Alamos Revisited (2012) and the forthcoming Democratic Forest (2014) and Election Eve (2016), all documenting Eggleston's life work, At Zenith constitutes a calm and experimental intermezzo from Eggleston's familiar loudness and intensity of colors. The photographer pointed his camera at the sky to focus on the clouds rolling by.
A few years ago a box was found in the archives of the William Eggleston Artistic Trust in Memphis, containing Eggleston's earliest photography—remarkably, in black and white. The photos were subsequently exhibited and sold at Cheim & Read gallery in New York. This book reunites these photos in their entirety, and shows the artistic beginnings of a pioneer of contemporary photography. In the late 1950s, Eggleston began photographing suburban Memphis using high-speed 35 mm black-and-white film, developing the style and motifs that would come to shape his pivotal color work, including diners, supermarkets, domestic interiors and people engaged in seemingly trivial and banal situations. Now, 50 years later, all the plates in Before Color have been scanned from vintage prints developed by Eggleston in his own darkroom. In the mid-1960s Eggleston discovered color film and was immediately satisfied with the results: "And by God, it worked. Just overnight." Eggleston then abandoned black-and-white photography, but its fundamental influence on his practice is undeniable.
Published by Steidl. Edited by William Eggleston, Thomas Weski, William Eggleston III.
William Eggleston's standing as one of the great masters of color photography is widely acknowledged. But the gradual steps by which he transformed from an unknown into a leading artist are less well known. Steidl has undertaken to trace these steps in an ambitious series of publications. Before Color explored Eggleston's revelatory early black-and-white images, while Chromes selects from more than 5,000 Kodachromes and Ektachromes taken from ten chronologically ordered binders found in a safe in the Eggleston Artistic Trust. This archive had once been used by John Szarkowski, who selected the 48 images printed in the seminal book William Eggleston's Guide, while the rest of the archive has remained almost entirely unpublished. This book presents Eggleston's early Memphis images, his testing of color and compositional strategies, and the development towards the "poetic snapshot." Chromes shows a master in the making.
Published by The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Essay by John Szarkowski.
William Eggleston's Guide was the first one-man show of color photographs ever presented at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the Museum's first publication of color photography. The reception was divided and passionate. The book and show unabashedly forced the art world to deal with color photography, a medium scarcely taken seriously at the time, and with the vernacular content of a body of photographs that could have been but definitely weren't some average American's Instamatic pictures from the family album. These photographs heralded a new mastery of the use of color as an integral element of photographic composition. Bound in a textured cover inset with a photograph of a tricycle and stamped with yearbook-style gold lettering, the Guide contained 48 images edited down from 375 shot between 1969 and 1971 and displayed a deceptively casual, actually super-refined look at the surrounding world. Here are people, landscapes and odd little moments in and around Eggleston's hometown of Memphis--an anonymous woman in a loudly patterned dress and cat's eye glasses sitting, left leg slightly raised, on an equally loud outdoor sofa; a coal-fired barbecue shooting up flames, framed by a shiny silver tricycle, the curves of a gleaming black car fender, and someone's torso; a tiny, gray-haired lady in a faded, flowered housecoat, standing expectant, and dwarfed in the huge dark doorway of a mint-green room whose only visible furniture is a shaded lamp on an end table. For this edition of William Eggleston's Guide, The Museum of Modern Art has made new color separations from the original 35 mm slides, producing a facsimile edition in which the color will be freshly responsive to the photographer's intentions.
Filmmaker Michael Almereyda poses a fundamental question to the renowned photographer, William Eggleston, "What does it mean to see the world so differently that "common" images are converted into unforgettable photos?"
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