The American photographer William Eggleston (born 1939) emerged in the early 1960s as a pioneer of modern color photography. Now, 50 years later, he is arguably its greatest exemplar. William Eggleston: Los Alamos will feature a landmark gift to The Met by Jade Lau of the artist’s most notable portfolio, Los Alamos. Comprising 75 dye transfer prints from color negatives made between 1965 and 1974, the series has never been shown in its entirety in New York City and includes the artist’s first color photograph (Untitled, Memphis, 1965) of a young clerk pushing a train of shopping carts at a supermarket in Memphis, Tennessee.
The exhibition includes lush color studies of the social and physical landscape of the Mississippi Delta region, which remains the artist’s home, as well as studies made during numerous road trips with his friends Walter Hopps and Dennis Hopper—to New Orleans, New Mexico, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and elsewhere. On these journeys, the artist explored the awesome and, at times, raw visual poetics of the American vernacular. Los Alamos will also include as a counterpoint a small suite of Eggleston’s rarely seen black-and-white photographs from the mid-1960s to the early 1970s that the artist made concurrently with Los Alamos.