Alvin Langdon Coburn

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Alvin Langdon Coburn
©Mapfre

Despite the fundamental role he played in the genesis of avant-garde photography, Alvin Langdon Coburn (Boston, USA, 1882 – Wales, 1966) remains one of the least-known artists of his time. The main reason is that, from 1920, and with the need to escape from London during World War I, he embarked on a new life to devote more time to spiritual concerns. Coburn intentionally withdrew from the world of photography to make art, music and religion his only occupation. However, he never fully abandoned the practice of photography.

Pictorial, symbolist and innovative, Coburn was one of the leading photographers of the first half of the 20th century. Strongly influenced by Alfred Stieglitz and Fred Holland Day, two of the most important figures in the photography of his generation, Coburn's work falls at the confluence of pictorialism of late-19th-century photographic expressions associated with the avant-garde of the early 20th century.

This exhibition offers a selection of 180 photographs – mostly vintage – that show the tenacity and consistency of Coburn's creative evolution. Among the institutions that have contributed include the George Eastman House in Rochester and the National Media Museum in Bradford, whose collections of works by Coburn are certainly the largest in the world. Other major works from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Museum of Modern Art in New York and Galería 31 Studio, as well as an important private collection in New York are also present. This is the first time all his most important photographs from different collections are brought together.

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