American photographer Clarence H. White, born in Newark, Ohio, is one of the best-known artists to come out of the Pictorialist movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, a movement known for its dreamy photos arranged to depict moods, emotions or tell stories rather than observe life as it is, often using manipulation and vintage processes.
White was inspired to take up photography after a trip to Chicago’s Columbian Exposition in 1893 and became a key member of Alfred Steiglitz’s Photo-Secession movement, formed in 1902 to promote Pictorialism. He later broke with Steiglitz (because you know how those art movement leaders are) and founded his own Clarence H. White School of Photography in 1914, which trained Dorothea Lange, Margaret Bourke-White and Laura Gilpin, among others. In fact, he was known for encouraging women at a time when they did not even have the right to vote.
White didn’t do much work after WWI and he died young, in 1925 at the age of 54. But he left behind a body of introspective, romantic work that seems simultaneously both antique and timeless. Clarence H. White and His World: The Art and Craft of Photography, 1895–1925, organized by the Princeton University Art Museum, will be on view at the Cleveland Museum of Art’s Mark Schwartz and Bettina Katz Photography Gallery through January 21, 2019. The 65-plus photos will be enhanced by paintings by John White Alexander, Thomas Wilmer Dewing, Edmund Charles Tarbell, and Arthur Wesley Dow to provide a backdrop of the era in which White worked.
The exhibit is free.