Past Exhibition:George Krause: Photographs from Five Decades
March 3 - April 14, 2007
about the artist:George Krause has been a recipient of virtually every major award open to American artists. He was the recipient of both the first Prix de Rome and the first Fulbright Hays grant ever awarded to a photographer. He was also awarded two Guggenheim Fellowships and three grants from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Krause was born in Philadelphia in 1937. He attended the University of Arts in Philadelphia where he studied painting, drawing, graphic design, sculpture and photography. It wasn’t until he was serving in the US Army between 1957 and 1959 that he began to devote his primary interest to photography. Stationed at Fort Jackson, S.C. at the time, Krause spent much of his free time documenting the culture of the black neighborhoods in the racially segregated communities of South Carolina. He enjoyed considerable early success. In 1963 Art In America selected Krause as the only photographer for its annual “Young Talent Award USA” exhibition which also included such newcomers as the painter James Rosenquist and the sculptor Marisol. At about the same time, Edward Steichen bought one of his photographs for the Museum of Modern Art. A few years later, John Szarkowski, then the new photography curator at MoMA, added eight more Krauses to the collection.
Krause’s work is to be found today in numerous other important photography collections, including those of the George Eastman House in Rochester, NY, the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., the Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris; the Philadelphia Museum of Art; the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts at Harvard University, Boston, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the Milwaukee Art Museum.
In the volume “George Krause: A Retrospective,” published in 1991 in conjunction with a large exhibition surveying a quarter century in the artist’s career, Anne W. Tucker, the highly regarded curator of photography at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, observed: “Krause explores intensely personal themes rooted in basic human concerns: sensuality, mortality, and mystery.... His work is perpetually relevant because his issues are basic vital to the human condition. Few viewers leave his exhibitions unmoved--be it by indignation, horror, pathos, or wonder....”
Krause recently retired from the University of Houston where he established the photography department. He now lives in Wimberly, Texas, where, since beginning of the 21st century, much of his energy is concentrated on works for his so-called “Sfumato Series,” often grandly scaled portraits and nude depictions of everyday people.