Get our free newsletter
“Snapshot: Painters and Photography, Bonnard to Vuillard” has been in the works for a while, but its timing couldn’t be better. Just as Kodak declares bankruptcy, the exhibit pairs around 200 photos with approximately 70 drawings, prints, and paintings—a clear reminder of how Kodak’s pioneering handheld camera transformed art in the 19th century. Not all the photographers in the show are household names, and their skills vary, with some images undercut by overexposure or humdrum subject matter. Also, don’t expect every photograph to jibe with the painting or drawing hanging next to it; many pairings bear no obvious connection. But that said, the pleasures here are bountiful. Among them: a series of tiny, detailed silver-gelatin prints by Pierre Bonnard; Maurice Denis’ portrait of his daughters; George Hendrik Breitner’s image of three girls walking, foretelling Garry Winogrand’s street photography by almost a century; Henri Evenepoel’s enigmatic photograph of his son sleeping in a crib; and Édouard Vuillard’s images of a city park seen from a balcony. The works of Henri Rivière are show-stealers: Take in his Asian-influenced, protomodernist documentation of the Eiffel Tower’s construction (shown), and his cyanotypes, which prove that at least one traditional artist was fully at home with the new photographic technologies of his day.
The exhibit is on view 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays–Saturdays (until 8:30 p.m. Thursdays) and 11 a.m.–6 p.m. Sundays at the Phillips Collection, 1600 21st St. NW. $12. phillipscollection.org. (202) 387-2151.