The Golden Decade: Photography at the California School of Fine Arts, 1945-55
September 4 – October 15, 2010 EXTENDED TO NOVEMBER 13, with a closing book signing and reception.
Opening Reception September 4, 2010, 6-9 pm
The Golden Decade Group Exhibition and Book Preview
Smith Andersen North Gallery
20 Greenfield Avenue
San Anselmo, California 94960
The Golden Decade: California School of Fine Arts Photography
From the Smith Andersen North website:
The California School of Fine Arts (CSFA) in San Francisco (renamed the San Francisco Art Institute in 1961) was among a handful of institutions in the nation to offer an extensive program in photography and film during the period immediately following WWII. The importance of the school and its influence, not only on West Coast Photography but on photography as a whole, has been far-reaching, lasting well into the 21st century.
Set up in 1945 by Ansel Adams and administered and taught by Minor White, the California School of Fine Arts photography program was the first academic department in the country to teach photography as a profession. The program raised the dialog around photographic practice, before limited to local photo clubs scattered about the country, to the level of a serious, focused study. Golden Decade Students were not only expected to be technically adept and informed, but thoughtful and intentional about how they approached the world with a camera. Golden Decade teachers were among the most influential figures in photography of the day; they included Edward Weston, Dorothea Lange, Imogen Cunningham, Lisette Model, Homer Page, Alma Lavenson, and Bill Quandt. For more on the inspiration of Edward Weston see the blog post, “Edward Weston’s Landscape Philosophy Part 1.” For insight into the influence of Minor White see the blog post, “Photography’s Golden Era 9.” For more about Minor White’s teaching and how he and Philip Hyde inspired each other see the blog post, “Minor White Letters 1.”
The First Decade at the California School of Fine Arts
The first decade of the program, 1945-1955, gave rise to a unique group of photographers who went on to become accomplished artists and important contributors to visual culture. The Golden Decade focuses on 32 of these students and how they influenced and supported each other during, and in the years following their time at the California School of Fine Arts. The California School of Fine Arts Golden Decade artists include Pirkle Jones, Ruth Marion Baruch, Philip Hyde, William Heick, Pat Harris, Bob Hollingsworth, Cameron Macauley, Ira Latour, Benjamen Chinn, Rose Mandel, David Myers, John Upton and others. Their work has been represented in important photographic historical events such as The Family of Man Exhibition (1955, New York and international venues) and The Perceptions Exhibition (1954, San Francisco), and many of these California School of Fine Arts photographers were prominently featured in the early issues of Aperture magazine. A number of Golden Decade photographers have had books published, notably Pirkle Jones with his wife, Ruth Marion Baruch, Philip Hyde, and John Upton.
For more about the Golden Decade of photography in San Francisco and the California School of Fine Arts see the blog post, “Photography’s Golden Era 6.” For more information and a follow-up review of the Golden Decade Opening Reception see the blog post, “Over 500 People Attend Golden Decade Opening.”