Siskind’s photographs during this period began to focus on close-up examinations of surfaces–usually building facades or architectural elements. The resulting photographs emphasize the one-dimensional surface of the image in the same way that Abstract Expressionist paintings did during this time period. Siskind’s relationship with Abstract Expressionism was so important that he was the only photographer to be included in the landmark “Ninth Street Show” (1951) curated by Leo Castelli, which defined Abstract Expressionism as an artistic movement.
The photographs by Siskind included in this prospectus are illustrative of his mature style. Focusing on found architectural surfaces, Siskind has captured and cropped elements of the real world in such a way as to render them almost entirely abstracted. Their affinity with the paintings of his peers and colleagues is obvious, with one of the images, Jalapa 10, Homage to F.K. (Franz Kline), stemming from a series of six groups of images that Siskind made in tribute to his friend, the artist, Franz Kline. These photographs will create an interesting dialogue with many paintings in the NCMA’s permanent collection, including those by Franz Kline, Robert Motherwell, and Adolph Gottlieb.