The Bruce Museum in Greenwich, Connecticut, presents its newest exhibition Focus on Color: The Photography of Jeannette Klute, from Saturday, June 20, 2009, through Sunday, September 27, 2009. The exhibition features a series of twenty-four color photographs by Jeannette Klute, a pioneering figure in the development of color photography. Ranging from landscapes to intimate “woodland portraits” of orchids, ferns, and trees, Jeannette Klute’s photographs of New England are vibrant compositions produced through the labor-intensive dye transfer process. The exhibition is drawn from Bruce Museum’s permanent collection with includes a vivid array of over fifty Klute prints, each revealing the photographer’s mastery at capturing nature through the camera lens.
Born in 1918 and trained at the Rochester Institute of Technology through the Works Progress Administration during the Depression, Jeanette Klute worked extensively on perfecting the dye transfer process, a laborious photographic technique that allowed for rich colors in exceptionally permanent prints. Klute tested and refined this process at the Eastman Kodak Company in Rochester, NY, beginning her career as photographic illustrator to physicist Ralph M. Evans and ascending to research photographer in charge of the Visual Research Studio of the Color Control Division.
Klute’s photography merged environmental consciousness with cutting edge technology. Using only natural light and leaving a minimal impact on the environment, she spent many years investigating color and demonstrating the capabilities of dye transfer by photographing nature. Her work resulted in some of the finest examples of color printing and all of its capabilities. Renowned photographers Edward Steichen, Ansel Adams, Margaret Bourke-White, Eliot Elisofon and Fritz Gruber all came to study these new developments and see her latest work. In her photography, Klute used soft focus to blend natural surroundings into sophisticated backgrounds for her chosen subjects, a radical departure from the contemporary trend in nature photography, which presented all elements in crystal clear focus.
“My purpose has been to somehow express the feeling one experiences being out of doors,” Ms. Klute wrote for her Woodland Portraits exhibition. “I am concerned with the delight to the senses as much as with the intellectual. The woods are mystical and enchanting to me as well as spiritual.”
Jeanette Klute’s work was featured in Edward Steichen’s 1950 exhibition All Color Photography at the Museum of Modern Art, and her large one-woman shows were circulated internationally by the Smithsonian Institution and Kodak International. She was also invited to submit work for the San Francisco Museum of Art’s landmark exhibition Women of Photography: An Historical Survey in 1975.
The artist’s work is in the permanent collections of the Addison Gallery of American Art in Andover, MA, the Amon Carter Museum of Ft. Worth and the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, in Texas, the George Eastman House in Rochester, NY, and the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, in Cleveland, OH.
Focus on Color: The Photography of Jeannette Klute is supported by the Charles M. and Deborah G. Royce Exhibition Fund. The exhibition is on view in the Bantle Lecture Gallery, which may be closed for viewing due to programs taking place in the gallery. Please call ahead, or check the Bruce Museum calendar at www.brucemuseum.org for non-viewing times due to other programs taking place.
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