‘Simpson Kalisher: New York Street Photography’ to Open at Keith de Lellis Gallery in December




Simpson Kalisher (American, 1926-2023), Untitled, c. 1959, Vintage gelatin silver print. Image courtesy Keith de Lellis Gallery.

Keith de Lellis Gallery will open its doors to an exhibition of work by American photojournalist and street photographer Simpson Kalisher (July 1926 ~ June, 2023) on December 7th.

Kalisher, who was born in the Bronx, graduated from Indiana University with a BA in History in 1948. Best known for his street photography, William Meyers wrote in the Wall Street Journal of Kalisher’s 2011 retrospective ‘Simpson Kalisher: The Alienated Photographer‘ at Keith de Lellis Gallery, “Simpson Kalisher … is one of the street photographers who made midtown Manhattan as critical a site for mid-20th-century photography as the forest of Arden was for Shakespearean comedy. In a picture taken in 1959, the camera looks north up Fifth Avenue as the traffic light changes and a massed wave of pedestrians steps off the curb to cross West 51st Street. Nothing unusual is happening in this picture, there are no freaks or confrontations, but our eye keeps moving left to right and then right to left across the line of faces approaching us: The ordinariness of these people is quite stunning. The men and women look straight ahead as they march single-mindedly toward us and their destinations. It is not really us, of course, but Mr. Kalisher who is headed in the other direction.”

Edith Weigle in the Tribune of Kalisher’s 1962 show at the Art Institute of Chicago wrote, “They are powerful because of the photographer’s ability to get at the essentials and to comprehend and portray the character of each man. Nonessentials are stripped away. The only “special effects” are the deep shadows which are there by nature, and the photographer’s use of empty space, which seems innate.”

Simpson Kalisher lived in New York and Connecticut until he retired to Florida in 2013. Sam Roberts, writing for the New York Times … “Simpson Kalisher, who liberated his lens from slick images in corporate reports and trade magazines to emerge as a discerning photojournalist whose street scenes froze the panorama of urban American life in the 1950s and ’60s, died on June 13 in Delray Beach, Fla. He was 96.”

Simpson Kalisher: New York Street Photography will be on view from December 7, 2023 to February 2, 2024 at Keith de Lellis Gallery, 41 East 57th Street, Suite 703, NYC.