Dutch innovator and eccentric Gerard Petrus Fieret hasn’t had many opportunities to have his work displayed since his passing in 2009. In fact, he has only been exhibited once since. Now, make that twice.
Fieret was born in 1924 in The Hague, Holland, where he died in 2009. A legendary figure in his city, where he fed the pigeons daily and played panpipes in the cafes, he was widely renowned for his fresh, innovative, informal portraits and alluring nude studies, all dating from the 1960s and 1970s. Fieret’s vintage gelatin silver prints are liberally appointed with his copyright stamps and signed in a celebratory flourish of penmanship. One of Fieret’s trademarks, besides the copyright stamps and swath-like signatures overlaying his imagery, is the very personal relationship he had with his subjects: they were almost always in motion, always animated, and always free to be themselves. The robust energy and private narrative of each of Fieret’s pictures make his work as fresh and relevant today as it was forty and fifty years ago. Fieret’s main subjects were women and selfportraits, in which he explored chiaroscuro lighting and experimented with printing and cropping of his images. In an attempt to protect his work, which he feared would be appropriated by imitators (even Picasso), he stamped and signed his prints to graphic perfection, rendering each one unique. Working freely in the 1960s and 1970s, when the market for photography was almost nonexistent, Fieret rarely made duplicates of any one image. His quest was “art for art’s sake,” and the darkroom was an exciting part of his adventure with photography.
The exhibit is open now with plenty of opportunity to be seen, concluding July 31st.
Deborah Bell Photographs is located 16 East 71st St., Suite 1D, New York, New York, 10021