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Capturing the Moment

February 22–May 12, 2019

Cowden Gallery

Danny Lyon (American, born 1942), Sheriff Jim Clark arrests two SNCC voter registration workers on the steps of the federal building, Selma, Alabama, 1963, printed later, Gelatin silver print, h. 11 in. (27.9 cm); w. 14 in. (35.6 cm), San Antonio Museum of Art, gift of Ernest Pomerantz and Marie Brenner, 2017.25.42, © Danny Lyon / Magnum Photos

Capturing the Moment: Photographs from the Marie Brenner and Ernest Pomerantz Collection

The decades between the 1920s and 1970s were some of the most important periods in the history of twentieth-century photography. Transformative events such as the Great Depression, World War II, and the civil rights movement changed the course of history—and the lives of millions—forever. 

Capturing the Moment celebrates a major gift of over five hundred photographs from collectors Marie Brenner and Ernest Pomerantz and features approximately seventy primarily black-and-white photographs and a selection of films. The exhibition is divided into three sections: people; war and conflict; and landscapes (rural and urban). It explores key practices such as straight, street, documentary, and photojournalist photography and highlights the technological advancements, socio-political upheavals, and cultural influences that motivated the era’s artistic innovation. 

For example, the 1924 invention of the lightweight, portable Leica 35mm camera afforded photographers the flexibility to enter any landscape and to document major wars and conflicts. They could capture the “decisive moment”—the split second that reveals a subject’s larger truth—a concept conceived by the great French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson. Other artists in the exhibition include Dmitri Baltermants, Ilse Bing, Paul Caponigro, W.E. Dassonville, Mike Disfarmer, Leonard Freed, Danny Lyon, Joel Meyerowitz, Arthur Rothstein, Stephen Shore, and Louis Clyde Stoumen.

Photography—and its power to tell stories that appear truthful—continue to be ever present in our lives. In the five decades covered in Capturing the Moment, photography transformed the way we see the world and the way we see ourselves. The exhibition will be complemented by lectures, films, and workshops. 

Capturing the Moment is generously funded by The Brown Foundation, Inc. and The Elizabeth Huth Coates Charitable Foundation of 1992.
This exhibition is supported by the City of San Antonio’s Department of Arts & Culture.


Exhibition Gallery

Gnarled Trees, High Sierras

W.E. Dassonville (American, 1879–1957), Gnarled Trees, High Sierras, 1930s, Gelatin silver print, h. 8 in. (20.3 cm); w. 9 in. (22.9 cm), San Antonio Museum of Art, gift of Ernest Pomerantz and Marie Brenner, 2016.26.38 © Estate of W.E. Dassonville

Self-portrait, Paris, 1931

Ilse Bing (German, 1899-1998), Self-portrait, Paris, 1931, printed later, Gelatin silver print, h. 14 in. (35.6 cm); w. 11 in. (27.9 cm), San Antonio Museum of Art, gift of Ernest Pomerantz and Marie Brenner, 2012.23.25, © Estate of Ilse Bing, courtesy Michael Mattis

Untitled (Standing Couple)

Mike Disfarmer (American, 1884-1959), Untitled (Standing Couple), ca. 1940, Gelatin silver contact print, h. 5 in. (12.7 cm); w. 3 in. (7.6 cm), San Antonio Museum of Art, gift of Ernest Pomerantz and Marie Brenner, 2016.26.57, © Collection of Julia Scully, Courtesy Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York

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