Lida Moser: My Own Superstar
Opening on March 18, 2005 and through April 13, 2005, my Fraser Gallery in Georgetown gallery will be hosting the first ever Washington, DC solo exhibition of legendary American photographer Lida Moser, who now lives in retirement in nearby Rockville, Maryland. This is a shameless plug for a feisty, talented lady who deserves a billion more plugs!
This 85-year-old photographer is not only one of the most respected American photographers of the 20th century, but also a pioneer in the field of photojournalism. Her photography is currently in the middle of a revival and rediscovery, and has sold recently as high as $4,000 at recent Christie’s auctions and continues to be collected by both museums and private collectors worldwide. In a career spanning nearly 60 years, Moser has produced a body of works consisting of thousands of photographs and photographic assemblages that defy categorization and genre or label assignment.
Additionally, Canadian television is currently in the process of filming a documentary about her life; the second in the last few years, and Moser’s work is now in the collection of many museums worldwide.
A well-known figure in the New York art scene of the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s,a portrait of Lida Moser by American painter Alice Neel hangs in the permanent collection of the Metropolitan Museum in New York City. Neel painted a total of four Moser portraits over her lifetime, and I believe that one of them will be included in the National Museum of Women in the Arts‘ “Alice Neel’s Women” coming to Washington, DC this October.
Lida Moser‘s photographic career started as a student and studio assistant in 1947 in Berenice Abbott’s studio in New York City, where she became an active member of the New York Photo League. She then worked for Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Look and many other magazines throughout the next few decades, and traveled extensively throughout the United States, Canada and Europe.
In 1950 Vogue, and (and subsequently Look magazine) assigned Lida Moser to carry out an illustrated report on Canada, from one ocean to another. When she arrived at the Windsor station in Montreal, in June of that same year, she met by chance, Paul Gouin, then a Cultural Advisor to Duplessis government. This chance meeting led Moser to change her all-Canada assignment for one centered around Quebec.
Armed with her camera and guided by the research done by the Abbot Felix-Antoine Savard, the folklorist Luc Lacourcière and accompanied by Paul Gouin, Lida Moser then discovers and photographs a traditional Quebec, which was still little touched by modern civilization and the coming urbanization of the region. Decades later, a major exhibition of those photographs at the McCord Museum of Canadian History became the museum’s most popular exhibit ever.
She has also authored and been part of many books and publications on and about photography. She also wrote a series of “Camera View” articles on photography for The New York Times between 1974-81. Her work has been exhibited in many museums worldwide and is in the permanent collection of the National Portrait Gallery, London, the National Archives, Ottawa, the National Galleries of Scotland, National Portrait Gallery, Washington, DC, the Library of Congress, Les Archives Nationales du Quebec, Corcoran Gallery, Phillips Collection and many others. Moser was an active member of the Photo League and the New York School.
The Photo League was the seminal birth of American documentary photography. It was a group that was at times at school, an association and even a social club. Disbanded in 1951, the League promoted photojournalism with an aesthetic consciousness that reaches street photography to this day.
This will be her first solo exhibition in Washington, DC and it will run from March 18 through April 13, 2005.
An opening reception for Ms. Moser will be held on Friday, March 18, 2005 from 6-9PM as part of the third Friday openings in Georgetown. The reception is free and open to the public.Powered by Sidelines