William Eggleston: From Black and White to Color

  • Art
Critics' choice
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© William Eggleston / Courtesy Wilson Center for Photography
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William Eggleston, 'Sans titre', 1960-1965 / © William Eggleston / Eggleston artistic Trust, collection de l'artiste
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William Eggleston, 'Sans titre', 1965-1970 / © William Eggleston / Eggleston artistic Trust, collection de l'artiste

Trolleys piled up in a supermarket car park. Cadillacs hooked to petrol pumps. Fridge shelves lined with innumerable milk cartons. And above all, people: people buying, spending, consuming. People living the American Dream.

Welcome to the southern American states circa 1950. When photographer William Eggleston started out snapping his homeland at the end of that decade, his images betrayed the unmistakeable influence of Henri Cartier-Bresson: high-contrast monochrome, meticulous compositions, a preoccupation with suburban existence. But over the years colour crept in, and with it a growing fascination with the garish consumer culture that was beginning to encroach on his territory. In the ’60s, Eggleston's muses were supermarkets, automobiles and plastic, and he captured the beauty and banality of this crude new world better than anyone.
This exhibition testifies to his great, and overlooked, talent.

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