Over 500 People Attend Golden Decade Opening

September 9th, 2010 by David Leland Hyde Leave a reply »

Over 500 People Attend Golden Decade Opening, Vintage Philip Hyde Print Is The First To Sell

Title Wall, Golden Decade Exhibition, Smith Andersen North Gallery, San Anselmo, California, 2010 by David Leland Hyde.

Over 500 people turned out for the Marin County opening reception of the Golden Decade Exhibition and Golden Decade pre-publication launch at Smith Andersen North Gallery in San Anselmo, California on Saturday, September 4th from 6 pm to 9 pm. The first prints from the show to sell in the morning before the opening were Philip Hyde’s 4X5 contact print “San Francisco Piers and Waterfront” and Stan Zrnich’s 5X7 contact print “South Pier, Bay Bridge.” Out of over 150 vintage black and white prints from 32 students at the California School of Fine Arts now the San Francisco Art Institute, over 30 prints sold the first night.

Front Room, Golden Decade Exhibition, Smith Andersen North Gallery, San Anselmo, California, 2010 by David Leland Hyde.

“There is currently a lot of energy around the work from this period,” said Scott Nichols, a downtown San Francisco photography gallery owner and collector of Scott Nichols Gallery. Scott Nichols has the largest collection of Brett Weston in the world. The 32 photographers featured in the Golden Decade Exhibition were students at the California School of Fine Arts after World War II, in the first decade of Ansel Adams‘ photography department when he hired Minor White as lead instructor, Dorothea Lange, Imogen Cunningham and Lisette Model as guest instructors and Edward Weston as field instructor. Former students John Upton, David Johnson and Stan Zrnich all spoke about their experiences at the school and their lives in photography.

Stefan Kirkeby, Smith Andersen North Gallery Owner, Sunday Morning After Golden Decade Opening, Smith Andersen North Gallery, San Anselmo, California, 2010 by David Leland Hyde. Stefan Kirkeby finally gets a chance to see a bit of the book. "I'm knocked out," Stefan said after hosting, curating, matting and framing the show in his in-house frame shop.

“I’ve never seen so many people at a gallery opening,” said Smith Andersen North proprietor Stefan Kirkeby. “There were people packed into the front and spilling out into the street, in the back and outside on the patio. They went through 250 oysters in two hours.” Smith Andersen North Gallery is equipped with large garage doors in front and most of the front of the building can open wide right onto the sidewalk. The Golden Decade Exhibition, scheduled to wrap up at 9 pm, raged on and finally closed down around 11:30 pm. At around 8:25 pm the surrounding neighborhoods looked as though a concert had just let out. Hundreds of people were moving toward their cars and traffic was snarled in surrounding streets. “It was sardine night,” said Stan Zrnich the next morning.

Smith Andersen North presented The Golden Decade Exhibition in conjunction with the release of the book The Golden Decade by former students Cameron Macaluley, William Heick and Ira Latour with Ken and Victoria Whyte Ball daughter of former student Don Whyte. (Website links and more information to come.)

Golden Decade photographers also include Pirkle JonesRuth Marion Baruch, Philip Hyde, William Heick, Pat Harris, Bob Hollingsworth, Cameron Macauley, Ira LatourBenjamen Chinn, Rose MandelGerald RattoJohn 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 photographers were prominently featured in the early issues of Aperture magazine when Minor White was editor.

Frame Selection Area, Smith Andersen North Gallery, San Anselmo, California, 2010 by David Leland Hyde. Besides developing a strong following of photography collectors, Smith Anderson North also is a leading framer for major museums in Northern California. Stefan Kirkeby just completed installation of the famous Fisher Collection at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. He mats on 8-ply Rising Board with archival hinge mats and hand-made paper corners. The frames are hand-made of poplar, ash and other hardwoods. Wooden frames have a much nicer feel than metal frames, don't catch on clothing or packing materials and are perfect for traveling shows because if they get dinged they can be sanded down and repainted. An 11X14 museum frame retails for $200.

The Golden Decade Exhibition runs through October 15, 2010. For more specifics see the blog post, “The Golden Decade: California School of Fine Arts Photography.” For an updated article on the ongoing show see the Fine Art Photography Collector’s Resource Blog post called, “500 People Attend Golden Decade Exhibition.” Also, more description and information about the Golden Decade Opening itself can be found on the Large Format Photography Forum. The Contra Costa Times and other papers announced the Golden Decade Exhibition and Stefan Kirkeby ran a full-page advertisement in Black and White Magazine for the show. To learn more about the Golden Decade of photography in San Francisco and the California School of Fine Arts see the blog posts, “Photography’s Golden Era 7” and “Photography’s Golden Era 6.”



  1. 500 people – that is wonderful! Thanks for posting the pictures of the exhibit. I would love to see it.


  2. Hi Sharon, thank you. I wish I had taken more time to make better documentary photographs of the show, but I was short on time. Between the publicity, the full-page ad in Black and White Magazine and the 32 photographers buzzing about it, a lot of energy and interest developed.

  3. Juri Brilts says:

    Dear David-

    What a great article about the “Golden Decade” opening at the Smith Anderson North Gallery in San Anselmo September 4th. I look forward to getting the book by the late Cameron Macauley, Bill Heick and Ira Latour, with Ken and Victoria Whyte Ball, and seeing Philip Hyde’s photos.

  4. Hi Juri, thank you for reading. Unfortunate you missed the opening, but spending the Labor Day weekend up in Klamath, CA (near the Oregon border) watching the Fall salmon run catch by the Yurok Indian tribe is a great reason to miss it. You can probably still see the show. Those of us who were there were unable to actually see much of it during the opening. That’s why we met with Stefan Kirkeby and went back the next day to spend some time with the prints. It is a stunning lineup with incredible breadth, vision and variety, not to mention plain, raw, top notch printing talent.

  5. pj says:

    I’ll just bet it’s one hell of a show — I’d love to be there to see it. Thanks for posting about it.

    I’m toying with the possibility of moving to SF, but have no definite plans yet to do so, and it sure wouldn’t be by Oct 15 in any event.

  6. Thank you for the comment PJ. You’re right. It is well worth seeing to say the least. I wish you best with your potential move decision. The way you write on your blog, are you sure you would like the city? Even San Francisco, which is an incredible city can wear us outdoor wilderness types down. I love to visit San Francisco more than anything, but love to get the heck out of there within a number of days and come home to tranquility.

  7. pj says:

    David —

    Believe me, your question is a major concern of mine, but I haven’t made the decision to move yet and I may not. Right now it’s simply just another option. But it is one I’m considering.

  8. Renate says:

    Congratulations on the showing David! I happened to be in So. Cal for the Labor Day weekend, watching Jr. College football! Best, as things move forward!

  9. Thank you, Renate. That’s pronounced Renat-a, as in the German pronunciation. Smiles. Football is not so bad, especially if it is somehow related to your son. I remember your loyalty as a fan of the high school team. You were everyone’s favorite mother. Of course you cheated to get that title by giving them all your amazing cookies. I imagine you have some good football memories and associations and now you can do it again in So. Cal on occasion. Pretty cool if you ask me.

  10. Alta says:

    I was hoping to join you but couldn’t find my glasses! Glad it went well, and hope to come by (after I find my glasses).



  11. Hi Alta, thank you for visiting my blog. I understand how frustrating that can be, especially with a favorite pair. Hope you do find your glasses and make it over to the show. Please let me know what photographs you like best when you do go.

Leave a Reply