Exhibition curated by Jean Block, Special Collections Research Center volunteer.
Eva Watson Schutze, wife of a young German instructor at the University of Chicago, was a founding member of the Phot-Secession, a turn-of-the-century movement led by Alfred Steglitz that sought to establish photography as one of the fine arts. Also referred to as "pictorialists," its members distinguished themselves from representational photographers who aimed to record as precisely as possible the appearance of persons, places, and objects. Rather, pictorialists regarded their work as a vehicle for creative artistic expression. Although Schutze is familiar to students of the Photo-Secession, her later life and work remained a mystery until 1979, when a number of photographs bearing Schutze's distinctive signature were added to the papers of philosophers James Hayden Tufts and George Herbert Mead collected in the University of Chicago Archives. While these works are invaluable for students of the history of photography, the Eva Watson Schutze Collection also graphically reveals the extensive web of social and intellectual relationships existing between some of the University's most notable faculty, their families, and their associates. The exhibit includes letters, diaries and memoirs which illuminate these relationships and also serve to place the remarkable photographs displayed in this exhibit.