The Davis Museum’s Spring 2018 Season Starts February 13

Student guides look at exhibitions in the Davis Museum.
February 13, 2018

The Davis Museum at Wellesley College kicks off its spring 2018 season February 13 with a reception from 6:30 to 9 pm in the Davis Lobby and Galleries.

The reception follows a keynote lecture in Collins Cinema at 5:30 pm about photographer Clarence H. White, given by Anne McCauley, David Hunter McAlpin Professor of the History of Photography and Modern Art at Princeton University and curator of the exhibition Clarence H. White and His World: The Art and Craft of Photography, 1895–1925. The first retrospective exhibition of his work in several decades, it will be on view at the Davis this spring.

A self-taught pioneer of early 20th-century photography, White worked for several years as a bookkeeper and photographer before turning his full attention to art and teaching in rural Newark, Ohio, not far from where he grew up in West Carlisle, Ohio. 

White was a founding member of the Photo-Secession, a form of art marked by a departure from the old photographic ideal of accurately representing the world, towards pictorialism, said Claire Whitner, assistant director of curatorial affairs and senior curator of collections at the Davis.

This approach, she said, “favored the beauty of subject matter, tonality, and composition over the capacity of the medium to produce an accurate visual record.”

White began teaching in 1907 and later moved to New York, where he founded the Clarence H. White School of Photography in 1914. As a pioneer of the Photo-Secession, he was one of several accomplished photographers of the day, including Alfred Stieglitz and F. Holland Day, artists who promoted photography as a fine art.

White’s work has lived on. “His students, who followed his curriculum that emphasized technique as well as aesthetic quality became leading figures in the burgeoning fields of fashion, advertising, and art photography,” said Whitner.

Tickets are required for the White exhibition. General admission is $20; Wellesley College alumnae, $12. Free entry for all students with I.D., Wellesley College faculty and staff, Friends of Art members, and Durant Society members. Tickets can be purchased here.

The exhibition has been made possible, in part, with generous support from the Henry Luce Foundation. Presented at the Davis with generous support from Wellesley College Friends of Art at the Davis, the E. Franklin Robbins Fund, the Sandra Cohen Bakalar ’55 Fund, and the Mellon Endowment for Academic Programs at the Davis Museum Fund.

The spring 2018 season at the Davis will also feature the exhibitions Fragment: A Museum’s Mid-Century Legacy; Soulful Stitching: Patchwork Quilts by Africans (Siddis) in India; Artists Take Action! Recent Acquisitions from the Davis; and Intermezzi: The Inventive Fantasies of Max Klinger.

Photo: A group of student guides learn about the White exhibition from its curator, Anne McCauley. Students lead patrons on tours during public drop-in hours throughout the semester.