Charles J. Rosenbloom: Devoted Supporter & Benefactor


Gerald L. Brockhurst, Portrait of Charles J. Rosenbloom, 1939, oil on canvas, Gift of the Estate of Charles J. Rosenbloom

Gerald L. Brockhurst, Portrait of Charles J. Rosenbloom, 1939, oil on canvas, Gift of the Estate of Charles J. Rosenbloom

Pittsburgher Charles J. Rosenbloom (1898–1973) was a lawyer, businessman, philanthropist, and passionate supporter of the state of Israel; he was also a music lover, bibliophile, and art collector of breadth, refinement, and taste. A staunch supporter of many Pittsburgh institutions, he was already a noted art collector when he began his official association with Carnegie Institute and its Fine Arts Department (later Carnegie Museum of Art), when he was elected trustee of the Carnegie Institute and member of the Fine Arts Committee in December 1939. He remained a devoted friend and benefactor of the museum throughout the rest of his life. In addition to his long service on the museum board, throughout the years he provided funds for a diverse group of acquisitions, gifted art from his collection, loaned works for important exhibitions, and, finally, hand-picked a large and important part of that collection as a bequest to the museum.

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Small Prints, Big Artists: Masterpieces from the Renaissance to Baroque opens Saturday, May 31, featuring many of the important artworks donated by Charles J. Rosenbloom.
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André Derain, Portrait of an Englishwoman, c. 1920, oil on canvas, Gift of Charles J. Rosenbloom

André Derain, Portrait of an Englishwoman, c. 1920, oil on canvas, Gift of Charles J. Rosenbloom

The diversity and quality of the works in the museum’s collection with a Rosenbloom connection is truly remarkable. His first gift was a painting by André Derain, Portrait of an Englishwoman, given in 1940, no doubt to mark his official affiliation with the museum. During his lifetime he gave about 250 works, ranging from Old Master works on paper; a rare volume of Goya’s Los Caprichos (The Caprices); Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works by Manet, Degas, Cézanne, Cassatt, Matisse, and van Gogh (whose etching The Man with the Pipe, Portrait of Dr. Gachet is the only work in this medium by the artist); and Japanese woodcut scrolls, including the 1939 series Kasenen (Katyayana) by Munakata Shikô.

Vincent van Gogh, The Man with the Pipe, Portrait of Dr. Gachet (L'homme à la pipe), 1890, etching on tan wove paper, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Charles J. Rosenbloom

Vincent van Gogh, The Man with the Pipe, Portrait of Dr. Gachet (L’homme à la pipe), 1890, etching on tan wove paper, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Charles J. Rosenbloom

Munakata Shikô (L): Ananda (Ananda), 1939, woodcut, scroll mounted, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Charles J. Rosenbloom; (R): Shûbodai (Subhuti), 1939, woodcut, scroll mounted, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Charles J. Rosenbloom

Munakata Shikô (L): Ananda (Ananda), 1939, woodcut, scroll mounted, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Charles J. Rosenbloom; (R): Shûbodai (Subhuti), 1939, woodcut, scroll mounted, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Charles J. Rosenbloom

While his lifetime gifts and his bequest, realized in 1974, include paintings, sculpture, and works on paper, it is the latter that were the core of his art collection. And in several areas, they have subsequently constituted the core of the museum’s collection. His bequest of prints by three of the greatest print masters—Dürer, Rembrandt, and Whistler—is illustrative. They total about 150 works (about half of the entire bequest, with more than 50 each by Dürer and Rembrandt and nearly the same number by Whistler). Among them are some of the most famous images in the genre: Dürer’s Adam and Eve (1504, in a spectacular impression), Rembrandt’s The Three Trees (1643) and The Agony in the Garden (c. 1659), and Whistler’s Nocturne from the First Venice Set (1879–80).

Albrecht Dürer, Adam and Eve, 1504, engraving, Bequest of Charles J. Rosenbloom

Albrecht Dürer, Adam and Eve, 1504, engraving, Bequest of Charles J. Rosenbloom

Rembrandt van Rijn, The Three Trees, 1643, etching, drypoint and burin, Bequest of Charles J. Rosenbloom

Rembrandt van Rijn, The Three Trees, 1643, etching, drypoint and burin, Bequest of Charles J. Rosenbloom

Rembrandt van Rijn, The Agony in the Garden, c. 1659, etching and drypoint, Bequest of Charles J. Rosenbloom

Rembrandt van Rijn, The Agony in the Garden, c. 1659, etching and drypoint, Bequest of Charles J. Rosenbloom

It should be pointed out that several other institutions have benefited from Rosenbloom’s service, financial support, and eventual generosity. In addition to gifts made during his lifetime, he bequeathed the main part of his important collection of rare books, manuscripts, and musical scores, including many first and early editions, to libraries at Yale and Carnegie Mellon University. As was his custom, the list of the items for each institution was carefully and personally selected by the benefactor himself. The same was true for his art collection. In numbers, he divided it chiefly and nearly equally between Carnegie Museum of Art and the Israel Museum, Jerusalem. However, the individual works destined for each institution were selected carefully: they represent not only an attempt to divide the collection based on the respective needs of each institution but also a sophisticated collector’s personal considerations. For example, as a rule, Rembrandt’s prints with Jewish and Old Testament subjects were given to the Israel Museum while those designated for the Carnegie showcased a broad and comprehensive representation of the artist’s work in the medium.

James Abbott McNeill Whistler, Nocturne, 1879-1880, etching and drypoint, printed in dark brown ink on laid paper, Bequest of Charles J. Rosenbloom

James Abbott McNeill Whistler, Nocturne, 1879-1880, etching and drypoint, printed in dark brown ink on laid paper, Bequest of Charles J. Rosenbloom

Prints from the Rosenbloom collection have been showcased in many exhibitions at Carnegie Museum of Art over the last 75 years, beginning with a 1938 loan exhibition of his early acquisitions. It is fitting that in this 40th anniversary year of his important bequest to the museum, they are again an integral part of the upcoming exhibition Small Prints, Big Artists: Masterpieces from the Renaissance to Baroque.

Barns of Western Pennsylvania, Revisited


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Isenberg Barn, Alexandria, Pennsylvania, 2005

As a professional photographer, my experience with architecture is not so much the history or study of as it is one of practical knowledge. You need to learn the hallmarks of the different genres to speak with some intelligence to various clients. Before working as an architectural photographer for Carnegie Museum of Art in 2004, I really only knew of Frank Lloyd Wright and a handful of other names, but of course still could pick out visually interesting buildings and enjoy the differences between eras.

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Come see Architecture + Photography at the Heinz Architectural Center, closing May 26!
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In spring 2005 I was asked to take photographs for an exhibition titled Barns of Western Pennsylvania: Vernacular to Spectacular. It would be the first time the museum would contract a photographer to do an entire exhibition for them in this manner. I was excited, as most photographers would be—barns are cool subjects to photograph. I admit that I knew almost nothing of the various genres of barn architecture! I was soon immersed in the various types of structures that dotted the landscape in the area. I grew up in the area, so I was surprised to find out that there were unique building styles that defined western Pennsylvania. No longer was a barn just a barn. I had been in a few of course, but I did not grow up on a farm, so there was a steep learning curve.

Boscy Barn

Boscy Barn

The approach was to be about the style and construction, not so much about use or who and what inhabited them. The list that curator Lu Donnelly had put together was pretty extensive, covering from the western edge of PA to near State College, and from Erie to just north of the Maryland border. I started with the two closest to me, both very much Pennsylvania type barns. I tried to contact the owners via phone but did not get an answer nor did they have answering machines. So I just took a chance and drove over.

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Brunch at Alter Barn

At first, the Alter Barn did not look like much. I did realize its structure now as a forebay barn, a multilevel designed to accommodate the rolling hills of Pennsylvania. I went to the farm house and rang the bell. I was ushered into the kitchen to meet with the owner. He was not working the farm himself anymore due to age and ailment. He began to tell me the history of the farm and who was using the barn for a few horses and cows. I knew I needed to go and photograph but was getting a living history lesson of the farm and its use. He said go ahead and do what I needed to, just watch your step—for the obvious reason as well as some of the floorboards in the barn may not be as secure as possible. I assured him I’d be careful and went about my business.

I was first greeted by the smith who was shoeing one of the horses being kept there. I had never seen it done, so my education was beginning in earnest. I walked around the barn and did a lot of exterior photos. Again, it did not look like it was in stellar condition. I then pushed one of the large doors open. Light and sound changed instantly. Everything became softer. Sound was muffled yet you could hear a creak from the other side of the barn as if the offended plank was right beside you. The smell was of earth, the wood, the hay, all had a quieting effect. The light was warm and diffuse, streaming in between the siding, breaking up then reconfiguring itself to illuminate everything in a unique way. I started climbing around the hay, looking at all the aged farm implements at rest but still looking like they had a job to do. One of the first photos that I did inside that day continues to be one of my all time favorites (below).

Alter Barn Hayloft

Alter Barn Hayloft

As I worked through the afternoon and kept finding wonderful shot after wonderful shot I realized that this was a different kind of architecture. It was alive, it was active. I began to realize that it had a life and a story all of its own. It was intertwined with its owner like no other building I had ever been in. It was open to the elements yet was shelter.

I also realized that showing all of this was actually my job! I went down to the lower levels that house the animals but none were to be found. They were outside grazing and doing what cows and horses do. As I started shooting all of this, the inhabitants did begin to come up to the building. They did not seem to mind me too much, but I did get a few looks from the cows that made me wonder a bit.

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Take a picture, why don’t ya?

I became intrigued with their lives within this structure. I realized how much a barn is designed to facilitate man and beast together in their daily activities.  Not many other places are designed with that in mind.

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Neumeyer Barn

The second farm that I approached (Neumeyer) has what is called a stone end Sweitzer barn. It too housed a few interesting characters. I walked to the the farm house again. This time I was greeted by three dogs on respective chain runs that made plenty of noise, but I could walk past them to the house. The farmer came to the door and I introduced myself and what my purpose was. He was aware that I was coming but not when. He was very guarded and was not at all trusting of me. He said that I could do all I wanted outside but to not go into the barn. He mentioned injury and insurance as the reason and was not going to sign any release forms. Didn’t like people that needed a piece of paper to have an agreement. I agreed not to trespass and added that I believed his dogs would keep an eye out for me. His response was priceless.

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Neumeyer Milk Stall

“Don’t worry about the dogs. Watch out for the Goat! He’s a sneaky one.” He walked with me and began to explain how his goat liked to come up to people all innocent like, then begin to chew their clothes, and when you tried to get away it would head butt them. As I approached the barn the goat showed his face out of the side door and began to walk up to us. He seemed rather comical as we approached. Only one eye seemed to focus on you. The other pointed in another direction entirely. The farmer reiterated “Don’t let him fool you.” I told him that he was the first person I ever met with a “Watch Goat.” He seemed to like that comment and began to tell me about the farm. The more we talked and the more questions I asked the more he began to show me around. To this day I feel that because I was wearing a hat and not a suit, something he commented on, he felt he could at least trust me a little bit. I wore a hat to every farm after that.

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“Don’t worry about the dogs. Watch out for the goat! He’s a sneaky one.”

He eventually gave me a tour of the entire barn, both inside and out. I was shown how an old fashioned dairy farm works. Told how he was the third generation to use the barn but would be the last. He didn’t want his daughters working as hard as he had. I heard stories from him growing up here and how he had swung from ropes and beams off of the rafters as a teenager. The barn had been added to over the years to facilitate growth, new types of animals, and whatever farming techniques are being used at the time.

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Neumeyer Hayloft

On the outside, the barns have an “overworked” look I like to call it. They have stood for a long time with minimal repair. Inside, they take on a whole world unto themselves. sparse light, yet still a bright atmosphere. Hard work is done here no doubt about it, yet almost serene in feeling. All manner of creatures are in there, but just living, not competing.

To me, the architecture and design was more about the heart of the farm than about the actual structure. This is architecture with a life and a life story. Some soaring and grand. Some with a “How did this stay up so long?” look to it. All with a character not found in any high rise. Every corner used—nothing wasted.

Architecture + Teenie Harris


Charles "Teenie" Harris," Dramatic sky seen from Penn Avenue near Homewood, c. 1943,  gelatin silver print, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 1996.69.224 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Dramatic sky seen from Penn Avenue near Homewood, c. 1943, gelatin silver print, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 1996.69.224 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Teenie Harris is perhaps best known for his ability to photograph people and capture their spectrum of expressions as well as truthfully document their life events. He was surrounded by family, friends, and a large community who seemed to be drawn to him and offered their trust to his lens, as well as frequently “photobombed” the margins of his frame while he was on assignment.

But Harris also had a keen eye for architecture and the urban landscape—he was known to have a deep love for the city of Pittsburgh, and at times it seems as if the city itself was another member of his community. His landscape and architectural images show the same intimacy and the deliberate and careful composition that he used when photographing children playing in the street or a family being evicted from their home.

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Come see Architecture + Photography at the Heinz Architectural Center, closing May 26!
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He quit school after the eighth grade, had no formal photographic training, and likely did not visit major exhibitions of photography outside of Pittsburgh. He saw thousands of images created by photojournalists in the Pittsburgh Courier newspaper and magazines such as Life. Yet many of his architectural images echo elements from the Modernist movement in photography that took place in the few decades before his own work. As the Heinz Architectural Center’s Architecture + Photography exhibition closes next week, I wanted to take a quick look at Teenie’s contributions to the field.

Charles "Teenie" Harris," Garage, possibly Achermans Auto Service, with two wooden doors, signs advertising Champions spark plugs, and oil can on ground, c. 1938-1945, gelatin silver print, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.14084 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Garage, possibly Achermans Auto Service, with two wooden doors, signs advertising Champions spark plugs, and oil can on ground, c. 1938–1945, black and white: Ansco Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.14084 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles "Teenie" Harris, Garage, possibly Store entryway with mannequins modeling furs and broken door window, c. 1940-1945, black and white: Ansco Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.38338 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Garage, possibly Store entryway with mannequins modeling furs and broken door window, c. 1940–1945, black and white: Ansco Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.38338 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles "Teenie" Harris," Brick building with Pepsi and "Meats" signs in window and corrugated metal awning, street no. 622, c. 1959, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.50618 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Brick building with Pepsi and “Meats” signs in window and corrugated metal awning, street no. 622, c. 1959, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.50618 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles "Teenie" Harris," Window set in brick wall at construction site, with brick building in background, c. 1950-1960, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.42032 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Window set in brick wall at construction site, with brick building in background, c. 1950–1960, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.42032 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

The largest portion of his architectural images was taken for documentation purposes.  He photographed the buildings that housed businesses—and often over and over, as one business replaced another—for advertisements or Pittsburgh Courier work. It is possible that some of the pictures he made of residencies were freelance work for his studio.  And he documented poor housing conditions, fires and accidents, new construction, and demolitions for the Courier.

Charles "Teenie" Harris," Car parked in front of La Salle Beauty School, 2107 Centre Avenue, Hill District, c. 1938-1940, black and white: unknown safety film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.3231 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Car parked in front of La Salle Beauty School, 2107 Centre Avenue, Hill District, c. 1938–1940, black and white: unknown safety film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.3231 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles "Teenie" Harris," Small house with block and brick foundation, and small wooden porch and stairs, on lot surrounded by trees, c. 1950-1955, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.40378 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Small house with block and brick foundation, and small wooden porch and stairs, on lot surrounded by trees, c. 1950–1955, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.40378 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles "Teenie" Harris," Construction of IBM Building (later United Steelworkers Building) with McManus Heating & Refrigeration truck in foreground, Stanwix Street, downtown, c. 1961-1963, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.13760 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Construction of IBM Building (later United Steelworkers Building) with McManus Heating & Refrigeration truck in foreground, Stanwix Street, downtown, c. 1961–1963, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.13760 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles "Teenie" Harris," Demolition of Bethel AME Church with crane on left, Wylie Avenue and Elm Street, Hill District, July 24, 1957, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.4054 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Demolition of Bethel AME Church with crane on left, Wylie Avenue and Elm Street, Hill District, July 24, 1957, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.4054 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles "Teenie" Harris, Wabash Terminal under demolition, with AMOCO Gas sign on right, corner of Fourth Avenue and Ferry Street, Downtown, c. 1946, black and white: Ansco Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.10988 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Wabash Terminal under demolition, with AMOCO Gas sign on right, corner of Fourth Avenue and Ferry Street, Downtown, c. 1946, black and white: Ansco Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.10988 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Some of his architectural images have the same grandeur and monumentality of early photographs of ancient sites and buildings.  And in fact, he was capturing the monuments of his city and its buildings and places especially important to the African American community—including places that were the landmarks of his own life or the neighborhood’s—as well as their destruction.

Charles "Teenie" Harris, Exterior of Kay Boys' Club, Wylie Avenue, Hill District, c. 1940-1945, black and white: Agfa Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.3408 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Exterior of Kay Boys’ Club, Wylie Avenue, Hill District, c. 1940–1945, black and white: Agfa Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.3408 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles "Teenie" Harris, Exterior of the Loendi Club, 83 Fullerton Avenue, Hill District, July 1946, black and white: Agfa Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.3415 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Exterior of the Loendi Club, 83 Fullerton Avenue, Hill District, July 1946, black and white: Agfa Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.3415 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles "Teenie" Harris, Clark Memorial Baptist Church, 1301 Glenn Street, Homestead, c. 1945-1950, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.4026 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Clark Memorial Baptist Church, 1301 Glenn Street, Homestead, c. 1945–1950, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.4026 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles "Teenie" Harris, Crystal Barber Shop and Crystal Billiard Parlor, with clock reading 2:25, Wylie Avenue, Hill District, c. 1941-1946, black and white: Agfa Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.2235 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Crystal Barber Shop and Crystal Billiard Parlor, with clock reading 2:25, Wylie Avenue, Hill District, c. 1941–1946, black and white: Agfa Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.2235 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles "Teenie" Harris, Crystal Barber Shop and Billiard Parlor being razed, 1400 Wylie Avenue, Hill District, c. 1958-1961, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.9080 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Crystal Barber Shop and Billiard Parlor being razed, 1400 Wylie Avenue, Hill District, c. 1958–1961, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.9080 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

But much of his architectural photography still contains people.  He used building elements and their shadows as framing devices, included figures to increase the emotional impact or perhaps show scale, or showed how others interacted in the built spaces of his city.

Charles "Teenie" Harris, Group portrait of men and women, including two women holding canes, gathered in front of Rodman Street Baptist Church, East Liberty, 1964, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.20919 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Group portrait of men and women, including two women holding canes, gathered in front of Rodman Street Baptist Church, East Liberty, 1964, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.20919 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles "Teenie" Harris, Groom Roland M. Sawyer, and bride Aileen Eckstein Sawyer wearing long sheer train, posed on steps of The Thimble Shop, 5913 Bryant Street, Highland Park, another version, August 1938, black and white: Agfa Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.38923 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Groom Roland M. Sawyer, and bride Aileen Eckstein Sawyer wearing long sheer train, posed on steps of The Thimble Shop, 5913 Bryant Street, Highland Park, another version, August 1938, black and white: Agfa Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.38923 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles "Teenie" Harris, University of Pittsburgh students Edith Johnson, Mary Louise Wray Stewart, Esther Dalton, and Mary Jane Mitchell Page, on steps of Cathedral of Learning, with Pearl Johnson Hairston, Geraldine, and Jacqueline Ford in background, c. 1945-1948, black and white: unknown safety film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.4754 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles “Teenie” Harris, University of Pittsburgh students Edith Johnson, Mary Louise Wray Stewart, Esther Dalton, and Mary Jane Mitchell Page, on steps of Cathedral of Learning, with Pearl Johnson Hairston, Geraldine, and Jacqueline Ford in background, c. 1945–1948, black and white: unknown safety film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.4754 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles "Teenie" Harris, Two girls in front of brick row houses with wooden porches and stairs, c. 1949-1960, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.6511 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Two girls in front of brick row houses with wooden porches and stairs, c. 1949–1960, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.6511 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles "Teenie" Harris, Three boys, including one pointing, in field with Bedford Dwellings housing project in background, Hill District, c. 1940-1950, black and white: unknown safety film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.36007 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Three boys, including one pointing, in field with Bedford Dwellings housing project in background, Hill District, c. 1940–1950, black and white: unknown safety film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.36007 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

 

 

 

The 2-Minute Film Festival is Back, and Exploring New Frontiers


Source: Imaginary Foundation

Carl Sagan in his Spaceship of the Imagination for Cosmos: A Personal Voyage (1980); Source: Imaginary Foundation

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been thoroughly enjoying National Geographic’s remake of Carl Sagan’s classic PBS series, Cosmos: A Personal Voyage (1980), which debuted in March of this year. The new version, called Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey and presented by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, demonstrates the persistent fascination of outer space, that unfathomably immense expanse within which we float “like a moat of dust in the morning sky.” One of my favorite parts about show is that it zooms all the way out to the limits of the visible universe and then all the way back in to earthly bodies at the microscopic level, creating a sublime sense of interconnection and wonder, of the universe around and within us. Apparently I’m not the only one geeking out over Cosmos: the video for Symphony of Science’s song “A Glorious Dawn” featuring Sagan and Stephen Hawking has been viewed almost 9 million times.

So all this is to say: I am super excited that the theme for this year’s 2-Minute Film Festival is….OUTER SPACE! The theme celebrates the upcoming premiere of Extraterrestrial: The Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project, part of the Hillman Photography Initiative’s Invisible Photograph documentary series. Don’t fret if you haven’t got the time or means to construct a Spaceship of the Imagination like Carl Sagan’s. The theme is open to interpretation so that, like Cosmos, the festival can represent a broad spectrum of human endeavor and understanding, ranging from the big questions to the minutiae of everyday life.

Submissions are due by June 20, so get cracking! The entry form can be found here, and includes detailed instructions on how to send us your video. Like last year we’ll be conferring a Judge’s Choice Award and a People’s Choice Award; online voting for the People’s Choice will begin in early July, after all entries are received. Details to come. Prizes may or may not include a corduroy jacket like my hero Carl’s.

And of course, hope to see you at the 2MFF event on July 10!

Revisit all of the selections from last year’s 2-Minute Film Festival.

Teenie Harris’s Pastime


Charles "Teenie" Harris, Charles "Teenie" Harris, wearing riding attire, seated on horse and patting the horse's neck, possibly in Schenley Park, with Adirondack chair in background, c. 1935-1940, black and white: unknown safety film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.8715 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Charles “Teenie” Harris, wearing riding attire, seated on horse and patting the horse’s neck, possibly in Schenley Park, with Adirondack chair in background, c. 1935-1940, black and white: unknown safety film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.8715 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

When we talk to people who knew Teenie Harris personally we hear the same thing over and over again: Teenie was everywhere, always taking pictures. We asked his family if he ever slept since the other part of taking pictures required long hours in the darkroom. They said he managed to keep on going with his trademark positive energy despite little sleep at times. Then we wondered, what about his down time, did he ever put down the camera?  His son Lionel Harris spoke of his favorite pastime without a camera:

“He loved that track – golly! He took me…‘Come on, let’s go, we’re going down to Wheeling.’ This one day I said, okay dad. On the way down I said, everything you bet, I want to bet. It was raining cats and dogs out – golly! So I pulled up so he’d go up the steps and I said, I’ll be right in as soon as it stops raining. It rained and it rained and it rained, alright, it finally stopped and I get out and I’m on my way up the steps and he’s coming down. ‘Come on, let’s go!’ I said, what? I said come on, I said it’s only the third race. He said, ‘yeah I know, I’m ready to go.’ I said wait a minute. ‘Well I hit the daily double, I hit the first race, and the second race – time to go.’ He showed me this wad – I said, oh no, you didn’t bet for me? He says, ‘aw here,’ gives me a hundred [laughs]. He was too much, he was too much… He loved the thoroughbreds… thoroughbred racing was it – he loved that. Waterford Park, Wheeling Downs – that was his thing – that was his pastime I guess you could say.”

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Woman, possibly Ida May Mauney, on horseback patting horse's neck, seen from the ground, c. 1930-1970, black and white: Agfa Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.5479 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Woman, possibly Ida May Mauney, on horseback patting horse’s neck, seen from the ground, c. 1930-1970, black and white: Agfa Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.5479 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

We have not found any images of actual horse races in the Teenie Harris archive yet; instead he captured personal images with horses and documented military and equestrian events for the Pittsburgh Courier newspaper:

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Two men seated on horses, with audience in background, at track, c. 1938-1946, black and white: Agfa Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.14762 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Two men seated on horses, with audience in background, at track, c. 1938-1946, black and white: Agfa Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.14762 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Group portrait of Ninth Cavalry on horseback lined up in park, July 1942, black and white: Agfa Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.6810 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Group portrait of Ninth Cavalry on horseback lined up in park, July 1942, black and white: Agfa Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.6810 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

And in one of his longer photo series of over two dozen images, he thoroughly documented a horse show that was a benefit for Hill City (a social services and youth leadership agency) that took place in Hunt Armory in Shadyside in November 1945:

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Group of men standing in Hunt Armory preparing for horse show benefit for Hill City, January 1945, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.39069 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Group of men standing in Hunt Armory preparing for horse show benefit for Hill City, January 1945, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.39069 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles “Teenie” Harris, William Bell wearing suit and hat, leading horse "Little Beau" with polka dot bridle, posed in Hunt Armory during horse show, January 1945, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.12064 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles “Teenie” Harris, William Bell wearing suit and hat, leading horse “Little Beau” with polka dot bridle, posed in Hunt Armory during horse show, January 1945, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.12064 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Billie Spellman holding reigns of spotted horse with saddle and bridle, seated on straw in Hunt Armory during horse show, January 1945, black and white: Ansco Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.8716 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Billie Spellman holding reigns of spotted horse with saddle and bridle, seated on straw in Hunt Armory during horse show, January 1945, black and white: Ansco Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.8716 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Portrait of man wearing hat and patterned necktie, posed holding reins of horse pulling cart, in Hunt Armory during horse show, with police officers and American flag in background, January 1945, black and white: Ansco Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.39074 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Portrait of man wearing hat and patterned necktie, posed holding reins of horse pulling cart, in Hunt Armory during horse show, with police officers and American flag in background, January 1945, black and white: Ansco Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.39074 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Four men, and woman wearing dark suit, necktie, and hat, holding reins of horse and "Champion" ribbon, posed in Hunt Armory during horse show, January 1945, black and white: Ansco Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.39055 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Four men, and woman wearing dark suit, necktie, and hat, holding reins of horse and “Champion” ribbon, posed in Hunt Armory during horse show, January 1945, black and white: Ansco Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.39055 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive