Sag Harbor Picture Gallery
The Early Years:
Encouraged by the positive response to last winter's Fred Stein exhibit, the Sag Harbor Picture Gallery is pleased and honored to present a brand new collection of his work in the upcoming show The Early Years: The Timeless Images of Fred Stein. The exhibit will feature pictures by Mr. Stein dating from his early days with a camera in pre-war France and continuing on through his exile years in New York City in the 1940s.
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Included are his masterful meditations on the faces of pre-war Parisians, captured in such pictures as the Bohemians and the utterly charming Children Reading a Newspaper. Further examples show the remarkable breadth of vision that he rapidly developed in those early years - images varying from the nearly formal study of light and shadow shown in Three Chairs to the timeless, romantic depictions of Paris revealed in Paris Street Corner or Chez.
In New York Stein further developed his street style photography, of which he was a true pioneer. Using his small hand-held Leica - one of the first of its kind and later a Rolleflex - Stein produced a nearly comprehensive record of life on the streets of New York throughout the 40s and 50s. Thoroughly egalitarian in his outlook, Stein captured the full range of life in the city, from posh Fifth Avenue to the streets of Harlem, as exemplified in such pictures as Harlem 1947 or the poignant Post No Bills. His eye for Americana was no less shrewd, as shown in Ballfield or Vaudeville 1946. Equally stunning are his urban landscapes - the magnificent Brooklyn Bridge or the sublime Foley Square. All these pictures and more will be on exhibit.
In addition, Mr. Stein has trained his lens on a significant portion of this century's leading intellectuals. The German Chancellor Willy Brandt, Andre Malraux and Arthur Koestler have been photographed by Mr. Stein. By avoiding the stale and contrived atmosphere of magazine photo assignments and by staying true to his ideals of street photography, Mr. Stein took portraits with a minimum of lighting and effects, revealing an insight into his subjects which could only be achieved through familiarity and friendship. Included in the exhibit will be a stunning portrait of the stately Georgia O'Keeffe.
The life of Mr. Stein was eventful. In 1933, at the age of 24 and fresh from law school, Fred Stein fled the rising tide of fascism in his homeland of Germany and found himself amidst a thriving expatriate scene of artists and intellectuals in Paris. Denied the opportunity to practice his chosen profession in Gemany, due to political reasons, and with no means of support in France, the young Mr. Stein took up the camera, and gave the world the gift of his pictures. Not only would he find this a useful instrument to document his social and political concerns, but it would enable him to capture as well those touching displays of humanity he would uncover in every walk of life. In 1939, when Germany declared war on France, he was placed in a internment camp near Paris. After managing an escape, Stein fled across the countryside to Marseilles. Through the efforts of the Emergency Rescue Committee, he was given a visa to come to the United States and in May of 1941 Stein left for New York.
The Early Years: The Timeless Images of Fred Stein comprises both contemporary and vintage black and white prints. Please call for gallery hours.