Gustave Caillebotte was a patron of his contemporaries, the Impressionists. Today the property retains this state of mind with the presentation of the exhibition La Beauté des lignes (The Beauty of lines) gathering 123 works from the exceptional photographic collection of Sondra Gilman and Celso Gonzalez-Falla until December 2, 2018. The exhibition was prepared and presented by the Elysée Museum in Lausanne and will then travel to Barcelona.Tatyana Franck, director of the Elysée Museum and Pauline Martin, curator of the same establishment, took a personal look at this American collection that is part of from the largest private collectors of photographic works in the world. All the prints presented are vintage (“vintage”) and contemporaneous with the shooting of their respective authors.
The genesis of the Gilman-Gonzales -Falla collection
It is at the entrance of the exhibition that the public will discover three prints of the French photographer Eugène Adget who were the starting point of the collection. Sondra Gilman studied Fine Arts in New York in academic disciplines such as painting and sculpture. She will experience a real emotional shock during a visit to a photographic exhibition of Adget at MoMA in New York:”Following this visit to Eugene Adget’s exhibition, I had a revelation and was totally upset. I asked my friend MoMA curator John Szarkowski to teach me the basics of photographic art, so it all started. I came across three photos of Adget that literally subjugated me and I bought them for $ 250 each, it was in the 70’s, they did not have much value at the time “. In addition to her passion for photography, Sondra Gilman has devoted much of her life to American theater as a producer.
As for Celso Gonzalez-Falla, husband of Sondra Gilman, he considers that “it is the artist and not the collector who contributes to the history of art. The collector helps, through his collection, to preserve and show the best examples of an artistic period. Without collectors and their collections, illustrating, explaining and understanding the history of art would be difficult”.
In their New York home on the Upper East Side, the collectors have created a real bond of intimacy with photographs that are either hung on the walls or stored and kept in a small room dedicated to them. When asked about her favorite work, Sondra will answer without hesitation: “They are all my babies! (These are all my children!) “.
To obtain a photograph Sondra and Celso will sometimes wait 20 years to acquire the desired print, this was the case of the photograph Unmade bed by Imogen Cunningham. According to Sondra Gilman, the collection must preserve a certain coherence through a real discipline in the acquisition of new works: “We decided not to add more photographs of the artists who were already in our collection unless they contribute strongly to deepen the understanding of the artist’s work “.
Visiting the exhibition
The lines of force are the generic theme of the photographs presented at the Ornée Ferme of the Caillebotte domain. The straight line documents the real while denouncing societal issues in Lewis Hine’s On the Hoist, Empire State Building 1931.
This image of a worker perched on the top of metal joists is an open criticism of the working conditions of an era in full industrialization. Note also the color work of Stéphane Couturier known for his series Urban archeology or Melting point on the the way modern cultures build and destroy simultaneously.
The straight line participates in evoking besides, rigor, confinement and nature domesticated by the man. The photographer Robert Adams will be part of the 1970s movement of new topographers, denouncing the impact of humans on nature.
In contrast, the curvaceous lines of the human body or the sensual and even erotic details found in nature are reflected in the works of Edward Weston, Karl Blossfeldt and Robert Mapplethorpe.
Ansel Adams through his work Joshua tree will be the fervent advocate of nature in the United States to rank American national parks.
The abstraction of forms will be represented through the works of Minor White, a very important photographer of abstraction in the United States, as well as a very beautiful photo of the Cuban photographer Abelardo Morell Book with wavy pages.
Sondra Gilman and Celso Gonzalez -Falla gave carte blanche to the organization and scenography of their exhibition
***** La Beauté des lignes (The Beauty of lines), Gilman-Gonzalez-Falla photographic collection
Ornate Farm, Art and Exhibitions Center and Orangery
From March 15 to the 2 nd