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Press Release - Major Exhibition on Photographers Bruce Davidson and Paul Caponigro Comes to West Coast November 8

October 09, 2014

 

(Updated from June 24, 2014)

 

“Bruce Davidson/Paul Caponigro: Two American Photographers in Britain and Ireland” was acclaimed at the Yale Center for British Art. Now coming to The Huntington Nov. 8, 2014, to March 9, 2015, in a newly designed installation

davcap_872_banner.png(L-R) Bruce Davidson (b. 1933), The Duke of Argyll, Inverary, Scotland, 1960, gelatin silver print, 9 × 13 1/4 in., Yale Center for British Art, Gift of Ralph and Nancy Segall, B2014.1.24. © Bruce Davidson/Magnum Photos. Paul Caponigro (b. 1932), Stonehenge, Wiltshire, England, 1967, gelatin silver print, 17 × 23 3/8 in. © Paul Caponigro.

 

Press Preview: Friday, Nov. 7, 10 a.m.–noon

 

SAN MARINO, Calif.—“Bruce Davidson/Paul Caponigro: Two American Photographers in Britain and Ireland” is set to open at The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens on Nov. 8 after a successful run at the Yale Center for British Art in New Haven over the summer. Focusing on the contrasting styles of two of the greatest American photographers of their generation, the exhibition of 140 works by Paul Caponigro (b. 1932) and Bruce Davidson (b. 1933) showcases their photography of Britain and Ireland beginning in 1960. It will be presented in a newly designed installation in the MaryLou and George Boone Gallery through March 9, 2015.

 

Davidson traveled to England and Scotland in 1960, where he brought the same gritty street sensibility that had made his photography a sensation in the United States. Caponigro went to Ireland and Britain in 1966 on a prestigious Guggenheim fellowship. Those countries became sites of creative energy to which he returned repeatedly in the 1960s and beyond. The exhibition examines the work of the two virtuosic photographers as they trained American eyes on enduring landscapes and changing cultural scenes.

 

“This is the first exhibition to pair these influential contemporaries who followed overlapping yet distinct creative paths,” said Jennifer A. Watts, the exhibition’s co-curator and curator of photographs at The Huntington. “Britain and Ireland are the countries to which each man embarked on significant creative journeys in the course of refining his art. How fitting, then, to bring these works to The Huntington, where we have one of the strongest collections of British art and historical materials in the country.”

 

The exhibition is also curated by Scott Wilcox, chief curator of art collections and senior curator of prints and drawings at the Yale Center for British Art. Watts and Wilcox also coauthored a richly illustrated catalog of the exhibition, published by Yale University Press.

 

The Artists and Their Work in Britain and Ireland

While Caponigro and Davidson were acquainted with each other’s work, the two had never met until the opening of the exhibition in New Haven.

 

Davidson is a photojournalist and member of the prestigious Magnum Agency; Caponigro practices a pure, formalist approach to landscape photography. Both are devoted to black-and-white film and continue to make prints by hand. And both of them produced important bodies of work in Britain and Ireland beginning in 1960.

 

In trips to Britain in 1960 and 1965, Davidson created an evocative and sometimes tongue-in-cheek portrait of the British people at work and play. During numerous visits starting in 1967, Caponigro focused on the ancient stone circles, dolmens, and early churches in the British and Celtic landscape. “There’s a force in the land and it’s intelligent” became Caponigro’s mantra and guide. He returned repeatedly to the United Kingdom and Ireland (his latest photographs in the exhibition are from 1993).

 

Paul Caponigro was born in Boston, a shy child in a boisterous Italian-American family. Drafted into the Army in 1953, he was sent to San Francisco and eventually fell under the influence of Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, and other luminaries of the Bay Area school, a loose affiliation of photographers who took the natural landscape as their subject and used razor-sharp focus and superb printing techniques as expressive tools. In 1966, he went to Ireland and Britain on a Guggenheim grant. He had intended to travel to Egypt, but unrest in the Middle East interrupted his plans. “Ireland became my Egypt,” he said, “and the stones my temples.”

 

That year marked the beginning of a sustained relationship with places that significantly shaped his career. He returned a dozen times over the next decade.

 

Bruce Davidson grew up in suburban Chicago and purchased his first camera as a young boy. In 1952, he enrolled in the Rochester Institute of Technology in upstate New York, encountering there the work of Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Frank. The spontaneity and emotional depth of their pictures proved a revelation.

 

In the late 1950s, Davidson was invited to join Magnum, the elite organization of photojournalists founded by Cartier-Bresson, Robert Capa, and several others. He received wide acclaim with the publication in 1960 of “Brooklyn Gang,” a series featuring a notorious group of streetwise teens. He left the United States shortly thereafter for England and Scotland on a two-month assignment for British magazine The Queen.

 

He would return to the United Kingdom periodically thereafter, producing photography documenting a range of people in diverse settings, including Blackpool, the mining districts of southern Wales, and a traveling circus in rural Ireland. 

Installation, Film 

This is a 3-minute excerpt from "Still Looking," a 16-minute film from the exhibition “Bruce Davidson/Paul Caponigro: Two American Photographers in Britain and Ireland.”

The installation will divide the gallery into two separate but equal sections devoted to each artist’s work. Davidson’s photographs are organized according to the four trips he made on assignment between 1960 and 1967. Caponigro’s work will be seen in geographic sections that account for the numerous trips he made to the British Isles over more than two decades. The Huntington’s presentation of the show will incorporate two recently acquired Caponigro prints. (The institution also holds a substantial collection of Caponigro’s work that focuses on California and the West.)

 

This is a 3-minute excerpt from "Still Looking," a 16-minute film from the exhibition “Bruce Davidson/Paul Caponigro: Two American Photographers in Britain and Ireland.”

 

“Still Looking,” a film featuring both photographers and produced exclusively for the exhibition, is installed in a separate room of the exhibition and is also posted online. Created in early 2014 by Huntington filmmaker Kate Lain, the 16-minute film is a series of evocative moments with Davidson and Caponigro on location in their respective homes in New York City and Maine.

 

This exhibition has been co-organized by The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens and the Yale Center for British Art and is made possible with funding from Kelvin Davis and the Ahmanson Foundation Exhibition and Education Endowment.

 

Tour Dates

Yale Center for British Art

Newhaven, Conn.

June 26–Sept. 14, 2014

 

The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens

San Marino, Calif.

Nov. 8, 2014–March 9, 2015

 

Catalog

“Bruce Davidson/Paul Caponigro: Two American Photographers in Britain and Ireland” is accompanied by a 220-page fully illustrated catalog with curatorial essays, published by Yale University Press. Hardcover; $75. Available at the Huntington Store and online at thehuntingtonstore.org. 

 

Related Programs

Taste of Art: Pubs and Taverns

Nov. 8 (Saturday) 9 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

Join Maite Gomez-Rejon and explore the exhibition. Participants will learn the history of pubs and taverns and enjoy a pint of beer while preparing a simple yet hearty meal.

Members: $85. Non-Members: $100. Registration: brownpapertickets.com or 800-838-3006. 

 

Curator Tour: “Bruce Davidson/Paul Caponigro: Two American Photographers in Britain and Ireland”

Dec. 11 (Thursday) 4:30–5:30 p.m.

Join Curator Jennifer A. Watts for a private tour of the exhibition.

Members: $15. Non-Members: $20. Registration: brownpapertickets.com or 800-838-3006.

 

Family Cooking Class: Breakfast in the U.K.

Jan. 31 (Saturday) 9:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

Visit the exhibition with chef and art historian Maite Gomez-Réjon, then cook up a delicious morning meal in this fun-filled class. Ages 7–12. Members: $55. Non-Members: $65. Fee includes one accompanying adult. Registration: brownpapertickets.com or 800-838-3006.

 

# # #

 

Contacts

Thea M. Page, 626-405-2260, tpage@huntington.org

Susan Turner-Lowe, 626-405-2147, sturner@huntington.org

 

[EDITOR’S NOTE: High-resolution digital images available on request for publicity use.]

 

About The Huntington

The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens is a collections-based research and educational institution serving scholars and the general public. More information about The Huntington can be found online at huntington.org.

 

Visitor information

The Huntington is located at 1151 Oxford Rd., San Marino, Calif., 12 miles from downtown Los Angeles. It is open to the public Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from noon to 4:30 p.m.; and Saturday, Sunday, and Monday holidays from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Summer hours (Memorial Day through Labor Day) are 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Closed Tuesdays and major holidays. Admission on weekdays: $20 adults, $15 seniors (65+), $12 students (ages 12–18 or with full-time student I.D.), $8 youth (ages 5–11), free for children under 5. Group rate, $11 per person for groups of 15 or more. Members are admitted free. Admission on weekends: $23 adults, $18 seniors, $13 students, $8 youth, free for children under 5. Group rate, $14 per person for groups of 15 or more. Members are admitted free. Admission is free to all visitors on the first Thursday of each month with advance tickets. Information: 626-405-2100 or huntington.org.

 

Yale Center for British Art

The Yale Center for British Art houses the largest and most comprehensive collection of British art outside the United Kingdom. Presented to the University by Paul Mellon (Yale College Class of 1929), the collection of paintings, sculpture, drawings, prints,  rare books, and manuscripts reflects the development of British art and culture from the Elizabethan period onward. Visit them at britishart.yale.edu.

 


Images

Request images

 

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Bruce Davidson (b. 1933), London, 1960, gelatin silver print. © Bruce Davidson/Magnum Photos, photo courtesy of The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

 


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Bruce Davidson (b. 1933), London, 1960, gelatin silver print. © Bruce Davidson/Magnum Photos, photo courtesy of The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

 


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Bruce Davidson (b. 1933), London, 1960, gelatin silver print. © Bruce Davidson/Magnum Photos, photo courtesy of The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

 


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Bruce Davidson (b. 1933), Wales, 1965, gelatin silver print. © Bruce Davidson/Magnum Photos, photo courtesy of The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

 


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Bruce Davidson (b. 1933), Wales, 1965, gelatin silver print. © Bruce Davidson/Magnum Photos, photo courtesy of The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

 


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Paul Caponigro (b. 1932), Tralee Bay, Kerry, Ireland, 1977, gelatin silver print. © Paul Caponigro, photo courtesy of The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

 


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Paul Caponigro (b. 1932), Glendalough, Wicklow, Ireland, 1988, gelatin silver print. © Paul Caponigro, photo courtesy of The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.


 

About The Huntington

The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens is a collections-based research and educational institution established in 1919 by Henry E. and Arabella Huntington. Henry Huntington, a key figure in the...

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