After a first exhibition in 2017 revealing the contagious optimism of the American photographer as he was depicting post-war youth and recklessness, Galerie Thierry Bigaignon now presents the second part of the retrospective dedicated to Harold Feinstein, with photographs spanning from 1966 to 1988.
The renaissance of this photography prodigy, the youngest member of the Photo League, whose precocity was confirmed when he entered the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York (MOMA) at the age of 19, takes a second step. After having covered the 40s and 50s during the first part of this retrospective, the Galerie Thierry Bigaignon, this time, has selected 21 photographs covering the period from the 60s to the 80s, illustrating once again the tremendous talent of the American artist, who passed away in 2015.
Though his muse has always been Coney Island, where he was born in 1931, Harold Feinstein turned his lens, as of the 60s, to the streets, offices and restaurants of Manhattan, establishing himself as ’one of the most accomplished recorders of the exhilarating American experience’ as the New York Times called him back in 2015. But even more striking in this new selection by the Parisian gallery is the omnipresence of bodies and the remarkable way Feinstein captures the movement, seeing the streets before him as a ballet of grace and beauty.
His black and white photography freezes the New Yorkers’ everyday life like no other, highlighting the humanity of these immortalized characters. Harold Feinstein himself used to describe his images as “a small sampling of [his] photographic journey bearing witness of the beauty and mystery of this human life.”
Diving into the glittering Times Square, the swirling streets of Harlem, exploring smoke-filled coffee shops, subways trains and shop windows from every angle, Harold Feinstein brings to light all the poetry and grace of an ever-changing city through engaging and magnetic images. French curator and former director of the Niece Museum, François Cheval, who is preparing a full retrospective of Harold Feinstein with his partner Audrey Hoareau says: “Harold Feinstein acts as if reality had to conform to the way he sees the world. Magnifying, with method, the latent beauty of everyday life, seems like a duty he imposed on himself. With this great ambition he took photography to another level, attaching a certain morality to it.”
To celebrate the opening of this exhibition, the gallery is putting up for sale on its platform collectors confidential a rare photograph of Harold Feinstein. Check it out on Tuesday 22 May 2018.