BWGallerist

Preview: Herbert Matter, Giocometti, Calder & Mercedes, Gitterman Gallery, NYC, NY

In Gallery on May 31, 2018 at 11:21 pm

Annette IV, 1962, Herbert Matter

Gitterman Gallery has opened a new stellar exhibit to help satiate photo lovers’ needs for classic black and white photographs.

This exhibition focuses on the work Herbert Matter created photographing Alexander Calder, Mercedes Matter, and Alberto Giacometti. Matter’s work isn’t easily categorized since he worked as a photographer and as a graphic designer for a span of almost 50 years. Furthermore, he used a variety of processes and techniques to achieve his vision. The gallery’s first exhibition of Herbert Matter’s work from the late 1930s through the early 1950s demonstrated his broad vocabulary of abstraction. Though more representational, each of the three bodies of work in this exhibition have their own distinctive characteristics and add depth to his artistic achievement.

Matter met Alexander Calder in 1936 when he photographed his work for the Pierre Mattise Gallery. They quickly developed a respect and an admiration for each other’s work and went on to have a close friendship that lasted many years. Matter even named his son, Alexander, after Calder who was his godfather. Calder sought Matter’s expertise and had him play a crucial role in the vision and design of Calder’s retrospective at The Museum of Modern Art in 1943. He was the cinematographer for the 1944 MoMA film, Alexander Calder: Sculpture and Constructions and was the director and cinematographer for the 1950 MoMA film Works of Calder (narrated by Burgess Meredith with music by John Cage). Matter’s photographs of Calder and his works are both essential documents and works of art themselves that add to our understanding Calder’s art.

The photographs of Mercedes Carles were made in 1940 in Provincetown, Massachusetts, the summer before they married. These works, in their symbolist or even surreal staging, express both Matter’s artistic achievement and the early passion of their relationship. The couple was introduced in 1938 by Fernand Léger when Matter was seeking an assistant and translator to work on the Swiss pavilion he was designing for the 1939 New York World’s Fair. Mercedes Carles was the daughter of the American abstract painter Arthur B. Carles and Mercedes de Cordoba, who was a model for Edward Steichen and briefly a correspondent for Paris Vogue. Mercedes was a great artist in her own right. She studied with Hans Hofmann at the Art Students League and went on to teach and found the New York Studio School. Mercedes met Lee Krasner in a jail cell after they were arrested at a demonstration of WPA models and artists in 1936 and become fast friends. It was through this relationship that Matter met Jackson Pollock and became close friends. The Matters were very active in the New York art scene and maintained friendships with John Cage, Philip Guston, Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline, Barnett Newman, Buckminster Fuller and fellow Swiss photographer Robert Frank.

The exhibit is now open and will conclude July 27th.

For More Information: Gitterman Gallery

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