Image: HELEN LEVITT © Film Documents LLC, courtesy Galerie Thomas Zander, Cologne
In 1940, Levitt’s photographs were part of the inaugural exhibition of the Department of Photography at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Three years later, the museum also mounted her first solo exhibition, titled Photographs of Children. In the course of her artistic career, Levitt also paid great attention to the medium of film, working as an editor and director in the 1950s, after she met Surrealist filmmaker and painter Luis Buñuel. She received prestigious Guggenheim Foundation awards in 1959 and 1960, upon which she began to experiment with color photography and created pioneering art in the field. Her color photographs are as direct and unsentimental as her early black and white work, but also reflected that times had changed and people’s private lives had become less visible in the streets.
Helen Levitt’s work is in the collections of numerous international museums and institutions, is regularly seen in solo and group exhibitions worldwide, and has been the subject of retrospective exhibitions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson, Paris, France, Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam, Netherlands, Sprengel Museum Hanover, Germany, the Albertina, Vienna, Austria and the Photographer’s Gallery, London. A retrospective of her work has recently been on view at the Foundation A Stichting in Brussels, Belgium.