Courtesy Monroe Gallery
Via Munson Williams Proctor Museum of Art
Exclusive Exhibition at MWPAI Captures Kennedy Era
American Royalty: The Kennedys, Fashion and Celebrity Photographs by Mark Shaw Opens February 8
UTICA, NY….Timeless images of John F. and Jacqueline Kennedy are showcased in the exhibition American Royalty: The Kennedys, Fashion and Celebrity, Photographs by Mark Shaw on view February 8 through May 4, 2014 in the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute Museum of Art.
While Mark Shaw’s photographs have been critically acclaimed and featured in numerous periodicals and books, the exhibition at MWPAI will be the first museum show to exclusively feature his work. This exhibition will not travel and can only be seen in Utica. MWPAI worked with the Monroe Gallery of Photography, in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and the Mark Shaw Archives to select 50 archival prints and to produce this exhibition.
Shaw (1922-1969) recorded an era and produced exquisite and unforgettable images that symbolize 1960s America. Shaw originally photographed Mrs. Kennedy for LIFE magazine in 1959 and he subsequently developed a close friendship with her and the family resulting in extraordinary access to their inner circle. During the following four years, Shaw captured the Kennedy family at their most relaxed: in Nantucket and Hyannis Port, at Jacqueline's family home, on the campaign trail in West Virginia, at their first proper family home in Georgetown, and in the White House. Shaw became the Kennedys’ unofficial family photographer and his timeless images that are included in the exhibition capture some of their most intimate and candid moments.
Only two weeks before John F. Kennedy was assassinated, Jacqueline Kennedy wrote a note to Shaw, one of many, thanking him for photographs of her with her three-year-old, John F. Kennedy Jr.: "They really should be in the National Gallery! I have them propped up in our Sitting Room now, and everyone who comes in says the one of me and John looks like a Caravaggio—and the one of John, reflected in the table, like some wonderful, strange, poetic Matisse. And, when I think of how you just clicked your camera on an ordinary day in that dreary, green Living Room. I just can't thank you enough, they will always be my greatest treasures. Anyone who puts a finger-print on them will have his hand chopped!" Images from this photo shoot will be on view at MWPAI.
As a leading fashion photographer who began working for LIFE in 1952, Shaw spent 16 years with the magazine and is credited with 27 cover photographs. His images were included in more than 100 stories showcasing the magazine's European fashion collections. Vanity Fair, Harper's Bazaar, and Mademoiselle all featured Shaw’s photographs, and he was one of the first photographers to capture fashion on the runways and backstage at the couture shows. The fashion photography in the exhibition ranges from models in glorious gowns to behind-the-scenes images of the embodiment of high fashion, Coco Chanel.
Decades after his death, Shaw’s photographs continue to be published regularly in books and magazines. Many of the celebrity icons Shaw photographed will be included in the exhibition: Pablo Picasso, Brigitte Bardot, Grace Kelly, and Yves St. Laurent. Also featured in the exhibition are candid photographs of Audrey Hepburn, originally shot for LIFE in 1953 during the filming of Sabrina. These images, which show a carefree and relaxed Hepburn, had been lost after Mark Shaw’s death, and were only rediscovered in 2005.
American Royalty: The Kennedys Fashion and Celebrity, Photographs by Mark Shaw is sponsored by New York Central Mutual Insurance Company.
Tuesday - Saturday
10 am to 5 pm
1 pm to 5 pm
Children 6 and younger Free
Mark Shaw (1922-1969) was born in New York's Lower East Side, the only son of a seamstress and an unskilled laborer. As a student at New York's Pratt Institute, he majored in engineering. Shaw was a highly decorated World War II Air Force pilot who flew Russia's famous tank commander General Zhukov to his meeting with the Allied Command, and flew General MacArthur and his staff to sign the surrender papers in Tokyo. After the War, Shaw began working as a professional photographer and soon became a freelancer for LIFE magazine.
After JFK's death, a selection of Shaw’s photographs were published as the book "The John F. Kennedys: A Family Album, " which sold over 200,000 copies when it first came out. In 2000 Rizzoli published an updated version, featuring many never-before-seen color and black and white photographs. Most recently, Mark Shaw’s images of the Kennedys were widely used in the exhibition “Jacqueline Kennedy—The White House Years,” originating at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and later traveling around the country.
In his later years, Shaw filmed commercials for television. He was the winner of many awards from the American TV Commercial Festival for his work and from the Art Director's club for his earlier still photography. Mark Shaw's Vanity Fair Lingerie and Chase Manhattan Bank's "Nest Egg" campaigns are print advertising classics. Mark Shaw worked as a top print advertising photographer until his untimely death in 1969 at the age of 47. After his death, most of his work was hastily put into storage. All but a small number of photographs remained unseen for almost 40 years.