Page 54 - Vancouver Art Gallery 2014
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Colour For much of Callahan’s career the prevailing view in the art world was that serious photography was made
in black and white. Perhaps because he was self-taught, Callahan didn’t make this distinction. He began to use colour
materials shortly after he took up photography in the late 1930s (which was about the time that these materials first
became available to the public) and continued to work with colour throughout his life. From the mid-1970s on, colour
work was Callahan’s primary focus. While his colour photographs don’t depart from his black and white images
thematically, they hold a special position in the history of modern photography as they can be seen as a significant
precursor to the contemporary work that has embraced colour so enthusiastically over the past two decades.

Photography and the Permanent Collection Over the past decade the Vancouver Art Gallery has
made a concerted effort to develop a collection of historical, modern and contemporary photography that reflects
Vancouver’s importance as an internationally recognized centre for the production of photographic art. During this
time the Gallery’s photography collection has grown exponentially and it is now a collection of international stature.
The recently acquired Callahan photographs are a major addition that addresses a gap in the Gallery’s holdings,
which—prior to the acquisition of these photographs—included few examples of the experiments with technique
that characterize much of Callahan’s work. At the same time, these photographs find a rich and illuminating
context in the work of forerunners, colleagues and contemporaries represented in the Gallery’s collection.
In keeping with the significance of this acquisition, the Gallery will mount a major exhibition of Callahan’s
work in 2016, the fortieth anniversary of the 1976 Callahan retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
This project will contribute to scholarship on Callahan’s work, examining its place in the development of modern
photography and its links to contemporary practices.







ABOVE: Harry Morey Callahan, Detroit , 1951, dye transfer print, Collection of the Vancouver Art Gallery, Gift of The Rossy Family
Foundation, © The Estate of Harry Callahan, Courtesy of Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York OPPOSITE TOP: Edward Curtis, The Whaler ,
1915, photogravure on tissue, Collection of the Vancouver Art Gallery, Gift of Timothy Kerr OPPOSITE BOTTOM: Emily Carr, Emily
and Lizzie , c.1913, oil on paperboard, Collection of the Vancouver Art Gallery, Gift of Michael Audain and Yoshiko Karasawa




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