The Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art at Indiana University has received a major gift of fifty photographs by American photographer Brett Weston (1911–1993), donated by art collector and philanthropist Christian Keesee. The works range from 1930 to 1981 and represent a broad survey of Weston's career with special emphasis on environmental and architectural abstractions, as well as landscapes of California and New Mexico.
Born in Los Angeles, Brett Weston spent a significant part of his adolescence in Mexico with his father, renowned American modernist photographer Edward Weston (1886–1958). Under Edward's guidance, Brett learned photography from the early age of thirteen and quickly became embedded in the country's arts community. He formed meaningful relationships with such modern Mexican artists as Frida Kahlo, Tina Modotti, José Clemente Orozco, and Diego Rivera, drawing inspiration from their attention to form, scale, and composition. Over the course of his career, Weston documented his travels across Europe, Japan, and the United States, focusing primarily on the natural world and abstracted details from encounters with his surroundings. Weston's intense commitment to his practice and materials is well-documented, adhering to a daily seven-hour printing regimen.
“It was an absolute pleasure working with the Brett Weston Archive to identify a group of photographs that would complement our considerable holdings of American modernist photography. The intentional focus on abstractions further aligns with IU's legacy of experimentalism that was initiated by Henry Holmes Smith in 1947,” said Lauren Richman, Assistant Curator of Photography. “This generous gift will enrich and support our commitment as a teaching museum, enabling students, faculty, and scholars alike to conduct research through direct engagement with original works of art.” The gift joins a 1951 special edition portfolio of five photographs by Brett Weston that were acquired as part of the Henry Holmes Smith Archive, adding additional nuance to its significance.