new-york

Louise Dahl-Wolfe

Grey Art Gallery

Louise Dahl-Wolfe’s first published photograph was bought by Vanity Fair in 1933 and is titled Mrs. Ramsey. Dominated by a vegetable, the photogenic if inedible turban gourd, yet evidently concerned with the actuality of Mrs. Ramsey, an Appalachian woman wizened beyond gender, its effect is that of “still life with hardship.” Dahl-Wolfe, who chose the pictures in this exhibition and provided blueprints for their display, may like it for this very reason. Her encomium to young photographers runs along the lines of “study painting, learn to design,” as she once did, and this picture must strike her as the earliest distributed proof of having practiced what she now preaches. It does not (and none of her very few inert shots do) pertain to the subject with which she is so famously identified.

As part of the legendary postwar triumvirate at Harper’s Bazaar that also included Diana Vreeland and

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