Imogen Cunningham, ‘Magnolia Blossom’, 1925, Weston Gallery
Imogen Cunningham, ‘Magnolia Blossom’, 1925, Weston Gallery

Price and availability subject to change without notice. Artist Biography: American (1883 – 1976) Imogen Cunningham occupies a singular position in the history of American art of the twentieth century. For over half the history of photography, she explored, with innovation and a new perspective, all the major traditions associated with the medium as fine art. She has been most widely acclaimed for the photographs made during the 1920s and 1930s, particularly close-up images of plants and nudes. She also made portraits which are now considered classics in photography, including images of Alfred Stieglitz, Spencer Tracy, and Martha Graham. She was a founding member of the West Coast-based Group f.64, which championed an un-manipulated, direct approach with the camera, or “straight” photography. Her photographs are represented in major collections and museums around the world.

Signature: Larger photograph signed on the front of the mount. Folsom Street label on the back of the mount. Printed in the 1970's. Smaller photograph has blind signature stamp embossed on overmat; titled, dated with Imogen Cunningham Trust label affixed to mount verso.

Image rights: Imogen Cunningham Trust

About Imogen Cunningham

One of the first professional female photographers in America, Imogen Cunningham is best known for her botanical photography, though she also produced images of nudes, industrial landscapes, and street scenes. After studying photography in Germany, Cunningham opened a portrait studio in Seattle, producing soft-focus allegorical prints in the tradition of Pictorialism—a style of photography influenced by academic painting from the turn of the century—as well as portraiture. From the early 1920s she began to take close-up, sharply detailed studies of plant life and other natural forms, including a two-year-long, in-depth study of the magnolia flower. In 1932 she joined an association of West Coast modernist photographers known as f64, rejecting sentimental soft-focus subjects in favor of greater sensuousness. Cunningham was also interested in human subjects and frequently took pictures of the hands of musicians and artists. Edward Weston was a supporter of her work, and she associated at various times with other iconic 20th-century photographers, including Ansel Adams, Minor White, and Dorothea Lange.

American, 1883-1976, Portland, Oregon, based in San Francisco, California