Although Edward Steichen had exhibited some of Leiter's color photography at The Museum of Modern Art in 1953, it remained virtually unknown to the world thereafter. Leiter moved to New York in 1946 to become a painter, but through his friendship with Richard Pousette-Dart he quickly recognized the creative potential of photography. Leiter continued to paint, exhibiting with Philip Guston and Willem de Kooning, but the camera remained his ever-present means of recording life in the metropolis. None of Leiter's contemporaries, with the partial exception of Helen Levitt, assembled a comparable body of work: subtle, often abstract compositions of lyrical, eloquent color.
Leiter's place is now assured. He will forever be known as one of the first photographers to use color in a serious, artistic way. Meticulously printed, his pictures use muted colors...that help tamp down the volume and motion of frenetic city streets. His prism tempers the more anxious, acerbic portrayal of city life offered by his peers Robert Frank and William Klein...Leiter's photographs are as likely to be compared to abstract expressionist painters like Mark Rothko, Barnett Newman or Richard Pousett-Dart.
Size: 8 x 8.2 x 1 inches
Publication Date: 2006