Quicksilver Brilliance: Adolf de Meyer Photographs to be On View at The Metropolitan Museum of Art



Adolf de Meyer (American [born France], 1868–1946). Etienne de Beaumont (detail), ca. 1923. Gelatin silver print, 9 5/16 x 7 5/16 in. (23.7 x 18.6 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gift of Paul F. Walter, 2008 (2009.460.7)
The Paris-born Baron Adolf de Meyer (1868-1946) had a stunning career in portrait and fashion photography. On December 4, The Metropolitan Museum of Art will present the first museum exhibition devoted to the artist in more than 20 years, and the first ever at The Met, with the exhibition, Quicksilver Brilliance: Adolf de Meyer Photographs.

The exhibition will include “dazzling portraits of well-known figures of his time: the American socialite Rita de Acosta Lydig; art patron and designer Count Étienne de Beaumont; aristocrat and society hostess Lady Ottoline Morrell; and celebrated entertainer Josephine Baker, among others. A highlight of the presentation will be an exceptional book—one of only seven known copies—documenting Nijinsky’s scandalous 1912 ballet L’Après-Midi d’un Faune. This rare album represents de Meyer’s great success in capturing the choreography of dance, a breakthrough in the history of photography. Also on view will be the artist’s early snapshots made in Japan, experiments with color processes, and inventive fashion photographs.”

de Meyer was published in Alfred Stieglitz’s quarterly ‘Camera Work‘ between 1903 and 1907; He photographed Nijinsky in Paris in 1912;  At the outbreak of World War I, he moved to New York City, where he became the first official photographer for Vogue from 1913-1921 and Vanity Fair.  He took a position as chief photographer for Harper’s Bazaar in Paris in 1922, where he spent the next 16 years, returning to the United States in 1938.  Adolph de Meyer passed away in Los Angeles in 1946.

Quicksilver Brilliance: Adolf de Meyer Photographs will be on view from December 4, 2017 to March 18, 2018 in Gallery 852 at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Avenue. Purchase Tickets in advance.

Related events will include two exhibition tours, Wednesday, January 10 and Wednesday, February 7.  The exhibition was organized by Beth Saunders, Assistant Curator in The Met’s Department of Photographs.