In this distinctive and highly personal collection of portraiture, the unwavering, idiosyncratic eye of fabled collector W. M. Hunt is replete, though the theme hinges on obscured or closed eyes of the sitters. While the gaze of the photographer is trained on subjects, often their look is averted, or their face obscured. Or simply their eyes are closed. Gathered over the course of thirty years by New York collector W. M. Hunt, The Unseen Eye includes works by 20th century masters including Diane Arbus, Richard Avedon, Lee Friedlander, William Klein, Robert Mapplethorpe, and Robert Frank, as well as lesser-known photographers and vernacular images. Hunt’s collecting impulse, honed over decades, led to a rich picture of humanity, from birth (Diane Arbus’s portrait of Anderson Cooper as a toddler) to death (Frederick Evan’s death mask of Beethoven, as a platinum print.)
More than 100 evocative, surreal, at times erotic, sometimes horrific images are gathered together here yielding a singular and spectacular cumulative result. In poignant, insightful texts scattered throughout the catalogue, Hunt offers thoughts and commentary on the individual works, and most importantly, the motivations that led him to collecting in the first place.
W. M. Hunt is a frequent lecturer on the art of collecting and an adjunct professor at the School of Visual Arts, New York. An earlier exhibition of this collection launched to critical acclaim at the Rencontres d’Arles Photographie in 2005 before traveling to the Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne, Switzerland, and FOAM, Amsterdam.
Browsing Starts 27 September
Bidding 5-14 October
Preview Exhibition 1-6 October