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True to the Eyes: The Howard and Carole Tanenbaum Photography Collection

Main Gallery and University Gallery, Ryerson Image Centre
January 23 – April 7, 2019
Curators: Paul Roth, Gaëlle Morel, and Charlene Heath

This exhibition presents more than 200 photographs from the extraordinary and eclectic collection of the long-time Toronto couple. The Tanenbaums were among the first Canadian collectors to engage with the medium during its late 20th century rise to prominence; over time, they assembled one of the country’s great holdings of photography. True to the Eyes highlights a range of humanistic photographs in many genres, from anonymous vernacular imagery to masterworks by such notable photographers as Southworth & Hawes, William Notman, Ernest J. Bellocq, Brassaï, Lisette Model, Diane Arbus, Mary Ellen Mark, Jim Goldberg, Rafael Goldchain, and Edward Burtynsky. Through four decades of building their collection, the Tanenbaums have acquired images revealing aspects of family, wealth and poverty, civil rights, nature and the land, and Canadian life. The exhibition is accompanied by a richly-illustrated book published in partnership with Hirmer Verlag.


Opening Party
Wednesday, January 23
6:00–8:00 pm

Special Tour
With curators Paul Roth and Charlene Heath
Wednesday, February 6
6:00 pm   

Collectors in Conversation
Building the Tanenbaum Collection with Howard and Carole Tanenbaum, Howard Greenberg and Stephen Bulger, moderated by Paul Roth
Wednesday, February 13
7:00 pm

Tanenbaum Lecture with Rafael Goldchain
Wednesday, March 6
7:00 pm
Ryerson School of Image Arts
122 Bond Street, third floor, room IMA-307

Special Tour
With Paul Roth and Carole Tanenbaum 
Wednesday, March 20
6:00 pm

Exhibition Tours
Daily 2:30 pm

All events take place at the Ryerson Image Centre, unless otherwise noted

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Girl seated, wearing a ballroom gown, and holding a purse
Fig. 1

Studio of Southworth & Hawes, [Portrait of a young woman wearing a brooch], ca. 1850, daguerreotype with applied colour, in leather case (detail). The Howard and Carole Tanenbaum Photography Collection

A girl in brightly coloured dress, photographed in front of a colourful background, in Oaxaca, Mexico
Fig. 2

Rafael Goldchain, A Tehuantepec Maiden, Juchitán, Oaxaca, México, 1986, chromogenic print © Rafael Goldchain, courtesy of the artist. The Howard and Carole Tanenbaum Photography Collection

Nine portraits of a family in a 19th century leather album
Fig. 3

Unidentified photographer, [Portraits of President of First National Bank of Honesdale, Philadelphia, Andrew Tarrey Thompson, his wife Georgia Rowley Thompson, and their children], ca. 1857, nine daguerreotypes and one ambrotype in papier mâché case, with hand-painted mats and mother-of-pearl inlay. The Howard and Carole Tanenbaum Photography Collection

A black and white photo of a man jumping.
Fig. 4

Barbara Morgan, [Unidentified dancer], n.d., gelatin silver contact print, Barbara Brooks Morgan Photographs and Papers (Collection 2278). Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, UCLA. The Howard and Carole Tanenbaum Photography Collection


Exhibition Catalogue

Fig. 1

Cover of True to the Eyes: The Howard and Carole Tanenbaum Photography Collection, published by Hirmer Virlag

True to the Eyes: The Howard and Carole Tanenbaum Photography Collection 

True to the Eyes presents a selection of more than 200 photographs from the eclectic collection of Howard and Carole Tanenbaum. The book includes an interview with the Toronto-based collectors and essays exploring their deeply personal and socially aware approach to collecting. It highlights a range of photographic practices, from anonymous nineteenth-century daguerreotypes, tintypes, and albums to iconic works by Alfred Stieglitz, Lewis Hine, Brassaï, Diane Arbus, Lisette Model, and Vivian Maier as well as more recent photographs by Bruce Davidson, Edward Burtynsky, Jim Goldberg, Mary Ellen Mark, and Lynne Cohen.

True to the Eyes

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