By Marguerite Serkin
Bennington Museum hosted an artist reception on the afternoon of June 3rd to honor legendary photographer Clemens Kalischer. Now on view in the museum’s ground floor gallery, “Between Past and Future: Clemens Kalischer’s Vermont” provides a wide sampling of Mr. Kalischer’s masterfully- composed portraits. Spanning more than six decades of Vermont life, the collection was curated by Kalischer’s daughter Tanya, and Bennington Museum executive director Robert Wolterstorff.
Known for his candid, yet meticulous approach, Kalischer’s images leave no detail overlooked. “Postmaster” documents a stern man behind an iron grille, surrounded by the evocative post office paraphernalia of the 1940’s and 50’s. “Teenage Couple Dancing” (1958) is a photograph in motion, encapsulating the vigor and style of the day. Photographs from Kalischer’s long affiliation with the Marlboro School of Music are also included in the exhibit.
Kalischer emigrated to the United States in 1942, after fleeing to France from Germany in 1933. He settled first in New York. where he studied at Cooper Union. Since 1951, Mr. Kalischer and his family have been full time residents of Stockbridge, Massachusetts. His work has appeared frequently in The New York Times, Newsweek and Life, as well as in the permanent collections of the Library of Congress, International Center of Photography and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Kalischer’s images tell a story of the times they represent, and at 96, the artist’s work is as relevant today as when the images were taken. What a pleasure to greet the almost-centenarian and to view the exhibit, which will be up through September 4th.
“Between Past and Future: Clemens Kalischer’s Vermont” continues through September 4 at the Bennington Museum, 75 Main St., Bennington, Vermont. For more information, call (802) 447-1571.