This exhibition celebrates a major milestone for the Fitchburg Art Museum. Since the 1980s, FAM has assembled an impressive collection of photography, with important works ranging from the mid-19th century to the present. The main strength of this collection is black-and-white straight photography by major artists of the 20th century, including Ansel Adams, Carl Chiarenza, Harold Edgerton, Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, Alfred Stieglitz, Minor White, Garry Winogrand, and many others.
This great collection, of almost 1,000 photographs, will soon increase by 50%. Dr. Anthony Terrana, a prominent Boston-area art collector, has promised to gift his collection of 500 photographs to our Permanent Collection–the largest gift of artwork by a single donor in FAM’s history. Dr. Terrana’s collection spans the entire history of photography, but with a special emphasis on large-scale, color, 21st-century prints. This will make FAM’s collection, over the next few years, truly comprehensive.
The twenty-four contemporary photographs in People and Places have been selected from the first set of donated prints, and features the breathtaking quality and diversity of the Terrana Collection. This gift now puts an international stamp on FAM’s collection, previously focused largely on American work. Internationally known artists, exhibited here, include Clark and Pougnaud (French), Anastasia Khoroshilova (Russian), Ingar Krauss (German), Tracey Moffatt (Australian), Yasumasa Morimura and Takashi Yasumura (Japanese), and O. Zhang (Chinese). With the exception of Takashi Yasumura’s A Pair of Slippers, these artists are represented by large-scale portraits. Yasumasa Morimura, inspired by Kabuki theater, steps into the artist’s identity by portraying himself as the Mexican painter Frida Kahlo. O. Zhang documents a Chinese girl, one of thousands of Chinese children adopted by American families, who poses with her new American father in Daddy and I.
Lynne Cohen, American-Canadian, born in Racine, Wisconsin, is noted for large-scale images, like Pool, a placid blue picture taken in a Canadian spa. Fourteen Americans join Cohen in representing North American artists in this showing. Five Americans have Massachusetts connections: Raina Matar, Abelardo Morell, Olivia Parker, William Wegman, and Laura Wulf. Massachusetts College of Art teachers include Matar, who is represented here by portraits taken in her native Lebanon and in Massachusetts, and by Morell, a retired professor, who created a boy’s portrait. Olivia Parker, a Wellesley College graduate, and William Wegman, born in Holyoke, Mass., are noted for their whimsical work. Laura Wulf, Museum of Fine Arts School graduate, combines photographic and drawing techniques to create abstractions, as in a color study.
Dr. Terrana, a Boston-area periodontist, began collecting photographs in 1990. He displayed newly purchased photographs in his office to engage the attention of children, his patients. Children’s portraits in this exhibition reflect one of his collecting interests. The Fitchburg Art Museum is a grateful beneficiary as Dr. Anthony Terrana generously helps the Museum enrich its collection.
Nick Capasso, Director, Fitchburg Art Museum
Stephen B. Jareckie, Consulting Curator of Photography