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Berkshire Museum presents Nature Magnified: Photographs by Andreas Feininger


Andreas Feininger Berkshire Museum Pittsfield MA Spiral Shell

Berkshire Museum presents the new exhibition, Nature Magnified: Photographs by Andreas Feininger, from February 2 through June 2, 2013. Encompassing a varied selection of images by Andreas Feininger (1906-1999), the exhibition explores the artist’s distinctive approach to the intricacies of the natural world. The photographs of shells, bones, insects and other organic objects are paired in the gallery with shells from the Museum’s expansive natural science collection.

Nature Magnified: Photographs by Andreas Feininger is exhibited concurrently with Ansel Adams: Masterworks, from the Collection of the Turtle Bay Exploration Park, Redding, Calif., on view February 9 through June 2, 2013. A joint opening reception will be held Saturday, February 9, from 5pm-7pm. The event is free and open to the public.

“Photographer Andreas Feininger captures the intricate details of nature and explodes them into skyscraper proportions, creating a magical world of unreality,” says Maria Mingalone, Berkshire Museum’s director of interpretation. “Although most well-known for his sweeping vistas of New York, in the pictures chosen for this exhibition we see that Feininger combined his passion for nature with his love of precision, space, and structure in images he created of the most delicate spine of a sea shell.”

Renowned for his iconic cityscapes of New York, Stockholm, and Chicago, Andreas Feininger, the son of noted artist Lyonel Feininger, was born in 1906 in Paris, France. He studied cabinetmaking and architecture at the Bauhaus, the innovative design school in Germany, graduating in 1925. During his time at school, he began taking and processing photographs, and after moving to Sweden in 1933, he specialized in industrial and architectural photography. Feininger immigrated to the United States in 1939 and in 1943 became a staff photographer for Life magazine, a position he held for twenty years. A pioneer in experimental photography techniques, his images reveal a unique approach to scale and structure, applied to panoramic cityscapes and his lesser-known detailed portraits of natural objects. Feininger wrote more than 30 books, including The Complete Photographer and Forms of Nature and Life.

Nature Magnified: Photographs by Andreas Feininger features some of the artist’s most striking black and white portraits of objects from nature. In 2011, Berkshire Museum acquired 129 photographs by Andreas Feininger from the estate of Feininger’s late wife, Wysse Feininger. At that time, several museums across the country, including the George Eastman House in Rochester, N.Y., were invited to make selections for their collections. Berkshire Museum was invited because of the unique nature of its art and natural science collections, and for its curatorial approach of combining art and nature in exhibitions that make creative connections among these disciplines. Nearly 50 selected images will be on view this winter for the first time in Nature Magnified: Photographs by Andreas Feininger. They include a predominant proportion of images devoted to sea shells, but also include images of bones, spiders and spider webs, teeth, and tendrils of plant life, among the finely observed natural elements.

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