'Pictorialist Portraits' on view at the Palmer Museum of Art through April 30

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Palmer Museum of Art will present a new exhibition titled "Eva Watson-Schütze: Pictorialist Portraits" from Jan. 10 through April 30.

Photographer Eva Watson-Schütze is best known for her affiliation with the Photo-Secession, the organization of elite Pictorial photographers founded by Alfred Stieglitz in 1902 and dedicated to the recognition of photography as a fine art. However, her involvement with the arts reached far beyond Stieglitz’s sphere, and her circle of acquaintances and friends included many of the most progressive thinkers of her day.

Born Eva Lawrence Watson, she showed an early proclivity for the visual arts and was enrolled at age 15 in the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Watson came to Stieglitz’s attention in 1898, when her work was selected for exhibition in the First Philadelphia Photographic Salon. By late 1901, the year she married her husband and moved to Chicago, Watson-Schütze would be celebrated as one of “The Foremost Women Photographers in America” in an important series of articles in the Ladies’ Home Journal.

It was also during these years that the Schützes became affiliated with Byrdcliffe, the Woodstock art colony established in 1902 in upstate New York. The photos in this exhibition, most of which were donated to the museum by collector Jon Randall Plummer, largely represent members of the Byrdcliffe colony and offer insight into the community that nurtured and inspired the photographer and her husband. Characterized by a misty soft focus, her photographs were mainly figure studies and portraits, including many of women and children, themes popular among female Pictorialists at the dawn of the 20th century. Also on view will be a selection of works by notable Pictorialist photographers drawn from the museum’s permanent collection.

Gillian Greenhill Hannum (’81 M.A., ’86 Ph.D.), professor of art history at Manhattanville College, served as guest co-curator of the exhibition.

Joyce Robinson, curator, will lead a Gallery Talk titled "Eva Watson-Schütze: Pictorialist Portraits" at 12:10 p.m. on Friday, April 14, in the exhibition gallery located on the museum’s second floor.

Also on view at the Palmer Museum of Art this spring are "Morris Blackburn: Prints and Paintings in Process," Jan. 17 through April 30; and "A Kaleidoscope of Color: Studio Glass at the Palmer," Jan. 31 through April 30.

The Palmer Museum of Art at Penn State is located on Curtin Road and admission is free. Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. The museum is closed Mondays and some holidays. The museum will have modified hours of noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, March 4, through Sunday, March 12. The museum will be closed Sunday, April 16, and Monday, May 1, through Monday, Sept. 4.

The Palmer Museum of Art receives state arts funding support through a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. 

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Last Updated January 31, 2017