Three Decades and 300 Works Later, a Photography Collector Guest Curates at The Print Atelier

Alice Sachs Zimet wears many hats. She’s a photography enthusiast, educator, and advisor—and a specialist in corporate sponsorship of the arts. But the most important role she plays, she says, is that of collector. 

  • Portrait of Alice Sachs Zimet. Courtesy The Print Atelier. 

Zimet, who is now considered a pioneering collector of photography, began acquiring works in 1985. “I fell in love with [a photograph] by Andrew Bush. However, I couldn't buy just one,” Zimet explained in a recent interview conducted by The Print Atelier. “I had to buy two...thinking that a pair would look even nicer. That should have given me a ‘heads up’ that I had the collecting bug.” Three decades later, her passion for the medium—and the professional expertise she’s acquired along the way—make Zimet an excellent choice as guest curator for a special collection with the online gallery The Print Atelier.

Zimet’s enthusiasm for photography is infectious, and her passion and eclectic taste is evident in both her personal 300-piece collection and in her curatorial decisions. Among her favorites in her selections for The Print Atelier: Hector Adalid’s series on Japan, particularly Japan 04 (ca. 2000). “You are not sure if you are looking at cherry blossoms or snow on a branch,” Zimet says. “The fact that it is in black and white makes it unclear in such a mysterious way. And the serenity is beautiful.” Zimet’s penchant for black-and-white prints also drew her to Réjean Meloche’s “L’Agitation tranquille” series. “I do love black-and-white images, and there is also great humor in these...there is a great sense of people-watching, which is terrific...”

There’s more people-watching, particularly of the close-up variety, in Maude Arsenault’s “Faces” series.“‘Faces’ is sensitive and beautiful, as is Le Pigeon’s series called ‘Notre Époque,’ of gorgeous, gentle portraits in color,” Zimet says of her choices. Though her taste might seem clear-cut, leaning toward portraiture or human scenes with a sense of humor, there’s a wild card: Zimet, a self-described Pisces, has a fondness for water scenes, including those by Catherine Canac-Marquis. “Her landscapes are just gorgeous, especially the rivers and gorge scenes,” says Zimet.

When it comes to choosing photography, Zimet knows what she’s doing—she’s a trailblazer and tastemaker in her field. During her time with the philanthropy group at Chase Bank, she created the first cultural sponsorship program in a commercial bank. She went on to found Arts + Business Partners to consult on corporate sponsorship. On the side, she advises established collectors on their purchases and teaches courses in her role as adjunct professor at New York University’s visual arts administration program. In other words, this exhibition is a fantastic opportunity to see a collector with a wide range of experience at work.

Bridget Gleeson


Alice Sachs Zimet’s curated collection for The Print Atelier is on view online.


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