Val Telberg, Self Portrait, 1948
June 10, 2019
Val Telberg was the very first artist whom I represented and exhibited, with a one-person show in August 1981 at BOOKS & CO. on Madison Avenue. Val, then 71 and living in Sag Harbor, was the ideal artist to collaborate with. His body of photographs were all unique vintage prints, and he had an impressive exhibition track record, including one-person shows at the Brooklyn Museum, the Instituto Allende, Mexico, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Smithsonian Institution. Edward Steichen included Val's work in three important group shows at MOMA: IN AND OUT OF FOCUS, 1948; 51 YOUNG AMERICANS, 1950; and ABSTRACT PHOTOGRAPHY, 1951. In hindsight, Steichen was much more engaged with the international avante-garde than his successor at MOMA, John Szarkowski.
The Self-Portrait above exemplifies Telberg's interest in surrealism and avante-garde cinema, and the freedom he took in breaking away from the confines of "straight photography." Val also collaborated with Salvador Dali, and his illustrations for Anais Nin's HOUSE OF INCEST and SEASON IN HELL were much acclaimed.
We invite you to stop by the Gallery and explore his rich portfolio of hand-made photo montages, which feel more significant than ever these days as younger artists rely on a wide array of digital tools and techniques to delve into similar mysteries of the self. Yet Val achieved his results through old fashioned darkroom alchemy.