Museum Acquires Significant Collection of Brett Weston Photographs

"Pan and Grease", 1976, gelatin silver print by Brett Weston, American, 1911-1993. Gift from the Christian Keesee Collection. Bowdoin College Museum of Art. (2014.39.24)

“Pan and Grease”, 1976, gelatin silver print by Brett Weston, American, 1911-1993. Gift from the Christian Keesee Collection. Bowdoin College Museum of Art. (2014.39.24)

The Museum is excited to announce the recent acquisition of ninety-nine vintage photographs by the celebrated American photographer Brett Weston (1911-1993). The prints were given to the Museum by Christian Keesee, who acquired in 1996 the most complete collection of Weston’s work directly from the photographer’s estate. Keesee has given a portion of the collection to several museums over the past decade.

Born in Los Angeles, Brett Weston was the second of photographer Edward Weston and Flora Chandler’s four sons. Though he learned photography from his father and shared a similar reverence for the natural world, Brett Weston developed his own singular vision. Coincident with the rise of Abstract Expressionism in the 1940s, he explored the creative possibilities of abstraction through photography. He also experimented with new silver papers that favored sharp focus and high contrast—materials that he later introduced to his father.

The ninety-nine photographs represent six decades of Weston’s career. From an early portrait of his father taken in 1938 to a late abstraction created in 1982, the collection provides an invaluable resource for understanding the range of the photographer’s work and its stylistic evolution. Three of the photographs in this gift are currently on view in the exhibition, To Count Art an Intimate Friend, Highlights from Bowdoin Collections, 1794 to the Present. The Museum is grateful for this generous gift

thumb:Chinese, "Jar (Guan)," 3000-2500 BC, painted ceramic. Gift of George and Elaine Keyes in honor of Barry Mills. Bowdoin College Museum of Art.