Pictorialism Into Modernism: The Clarence H. White School of Photography

Bonnie Yochelson, Author, Marianne Fulton, Editor, Kathleen A. Erwin, With Rizzoli International Publications $50 (208p) ISBN 978-0-8478-1936-2
This accompanying volume for a traveling exhibition of the Detroit Institute of Arts is an earnest, far-flung and somewhat repetitive appreciation of Clarence White and his photography school. In the 1920s and '30s, as reported here, that school had more to do than is commonly acknowledged with American art photography's progress from soft-lens genre pictorialism to more assertive modernist concepts of pure design, subjective composition and meticulous technique. White, who was prominent in--but frequently at odds with--the Alfred Stieglitz Photo-Secession, equated photography with painting and sculpture and saw such former students as Dorothea Lange, Anton Bruehl and Margaret Bourke-White bring new visual standards to magazine illustration, product advertising, social documentation and industrial photography. Among the volume's 150 plates, some are the work of top 20th-century camera artists; others give first publication to student projects from the Clarence White school's early years. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/04/1996
Release date: 03/01/1996
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