Pioneering Boston photographer F. Holland Day (1864-1933), known best for his early 20th-century advocacy of photography as a valid new medium of artistic expression, will be the subject of the upcoming exhibition Making a Presence: F. Holland Day in Artistic Photography, on view at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art, September 6, 2012, through December 23, 2012.
The exhibition provides a rare opportunity for appreciation of Day’s multiple contributions to photography and fine art. Focusing mainly on images of the artist himself, the exhibition also includes some photographs taken in Maine, where Day summered in Georgetown in the early part of the 20th century.
Day first distinguished himself in literary circles—as a critic, bibliophile, and co-founder of the progressive publishing firm Copeland and Day.
By the turn of the twentieth century, he had established an international reputation as a leading Pictorialist photographer.
Day made a remarkable contribution both to the history of American photography and to the flowering of Boston as a cultural center in the 1890s.
In his embrace of innovative practices and of such new movements as Symbolism, Day built a reputation that rivaled Alfred Stieglitz’s in the Pictorialist struggle to win acceptance of photography as a legitimate art form.
Making a Presence explores the multifaceted persona that Day created in his own art and in photographs taken of him by his peers.
Including approximately 100 works ranging from Day’s self-portraiture, including his Jesus Christ series, to expressive portraits of him by such noted photographers as Frederick Evans, Gertrude Käsebier, Alvin Langdon Coburn, Clarence White, and Edward Steichen, the exhibition presents a dynamic composite portrait of an iconoclastic, independent artist, and of a man exquisitely expressive of his time. The works in this exhibition collectively suggest Day’s evolution as a social and artistic persona at the core of the fin-de-siecle culture in Boston.
Making a Presence is accompanied by a fully-illustrated catalogue of the same name, authored by guest curator Trevor Fairbrother.
Making a Presence: F. Holland Day in Artistic Photography is organized by the Addison Gallery of American Art and presented at Bowdoin with support from the Becker Fund for the Bowdoin College Museum of Art; the Stevens L. Frost Endowment Fund; and the Lowell Innes Fund.