In the Company of Artists is a survey of more than 90 portraits and candid photographs of visual, literary, and performing artists by more than 30 photographers who have had access to the interesting places and people in the world of art. Photographers such as André Kertész, Man Ray, Yousuf Karsh, Arnold Newman and Robert Mapplethorpe took portraits of artists, their families, friends, and surroundings, along with writers, models and others from artistic and bohemian circles from the late 1890s to the present.
A highlight is a portfolio of portraits by contemporary photographer Ari Marcopoulos, who immersed himself in underground life on New Yorks lower east side throughout the 1980s and 1990s. His portraits are informal and intimate depictions of famous artists such as Andy Warhol and young art stars like Jean Michel Basquiat, who was photographed shortly before his untimely death in 1987. Also included are portraits made during visits to other artists studios, including Kiki Smith, Michael Heizer, Richard Serra, the elusive David Hammonds, and the eccentric Jeff Koons.
The exhibition also includes portraits of renowned artists of the past. French photographer Paul Cardons (1859-1941) series of Paris cultural elite around 1887 includes a quiet portrait of the notoriously flamboyant painter and American artist James McNeill Whistler, who appears in his studio on the Rue Notre Dame des Champs in 1892, the year he settled in Paris. Also on view is selection of portraits by Armenian-born Yousuf Karsh, recognized internationally for his portraits of politicians, writers, athletes, and artists. In one of his most famous photographs, Karsh traveled from Ottawa, Canada, to Abiquiu, New Mexico, to meet Georgia OKeefe in 1956. He hoped to find in her some of the poetic intensity of her paintings. Instead, he found the austere intensity of dedication to her work. He made a quiet portrait of the distant OKeeffe during a moment of repose in her home.
A supplement of 19th century portraits from the collection of Novi, Michigan-area collectors Leonard and Jean Walle will also be on view. Highlights include several rare cartes-de-visite portraits (small albumen prints mounted on 2 ½ x 4 cards) of artists including Rosa Bonheur, George Lance, and John Millais.
This exhibition is organized by the Detroit Institute of Arts