A set of more than 40 photos Ray Metzker is offered at St. Louis Art Museum. Spanning three decades from the 1950s to the 1980s, this gift from collectors and dealers Ronald and Ian Greenberg Strengthens SLAM’s collection of 20th century American photographs.
The St. Louis Art Museum (SLAM) today announces the donation of 43 vintage photographs from American artist Ray K. Metzker (1931-2014). One of the most important American photographers of his generation, Metzker is known for his comprehensive exploration of the formal qualities of black-and-white photography. His technical precision and interest in the contrasts of light and shadow created compelling images that combined sharp imagery with abstraction. This group of works spans his range of visual interests, from pedestrians and beachgoers from the 1950s to the 1980s to architectural elements of street scenes in cities such as Chicago and Philadelphia. : Prints, Paintings and Photographs” exhibition from April 7 to July 9.
These photographs are a gift from Ronald and Jan Greenberg, St. Louis collectors and dealers. Known for their commitment to contemporary art and photography in the United States, the Greenbergs have donated more than 100 works to SLAM, including 20 works by photographers Arnold Newman and Bruce Davidson in 2012, and 50 works by Aaron Siskind in 2020. has also donated or provided funds to support the acquisition of many modern and contemporary works of art in various mediums over the years, from major American artists such as Lee Bontecou, Robert Rauschenberg, and Richard Serra, and European artists such as Joseph Beuys, Chris. Ofili and Gerhard Richter.
“We are so grateful to Ronnie and Jan Greenberg for their continued commitment to the museum, demonstrated once again by this exceptional gift of photography by Ray Metzker,” said Barbara B. Taylor Min Jung Kim, director of the St. Louis Art Museum. “Metzker’s work is notable for its intricate compositions, and adding them to our collection deepens our ability to bring mainstream American photography to audiences. This gift also underscores the importance of donors like the Greenbergs, whose gifts steer our museum for the benefit of our community.
“Ray Metzker is a photographer I have followed for a long time. He has a different way of looking at people and captures this image with his camera. Jan and I have observed his work closely in the past and thought a museum would be an ideal place for this portfolio,” said Ronald K. Greenberg.
Ray K. Metzker was born in 1931 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He studied photography at the Institute of Design in Chicago, where he studied with Harry Callahan and Aaron Siskind, some of America’s leading photographers of the time. His work is deeply influenced by the Institute’s emphasis on exploring the formal qualities of black-and-white photography. After graduating in 1960, Metzker traveled throughout Europe, where he began to draw his own interests into his work, seeking complex compositions that infused humble everyday elements with a unique graphic and poetic sensibility. Since the mid-1960s, he has lived and worked primarily in Philadelphia, where he taught at the Philadelphia College of Art as well as at the University of New Mexico.
The Greenbergs’ gift includes many of Metzker’s photographs taken in Chicago, Philadelphia and Atlantic City, and covers a wide range of Metzker’s work spanning three decades, with particular emphasis on the 1970s series “Sand Creatures” and “Pictus Interruptus.” Late 1970s. These works complement Metzker’s four other works already owned by SLAM – from 1965, 1977, 1992 and 1996 – as well as works by other Institute of Design alumni and faculty such as Aaron Siskind, Harry Callahan, Linda Connor. Gyorgy Kepes and Arthur Siegel.
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