Aaron Siskind  (American, 1903-1991) 

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Aaron Siskind (American, 1903–1991) was a notable photographer and teacher, educated at City College in New York, where he earned a BSS in Literature. Siskind taught photography during most of his art career at the collegiate level. He taught first at Trenton Junior College, from 1947 to 1949, and then moved on to join the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, from 1951 to 1971.

Siskind contributed to the Abstract Expression movement early on in his career; he took part in the New York Photo League in 1932, before overseeing the League's Feature Group from 1936 to 1940. This group created documentary photo-essays of political importance, including The Harlem Document, Dead End: The Bowery, Portrait of a Tenement, and St. Joseph's House: The Catholic Worker Movement. In the 1940s, Siskind began to exhibit some of his work, which was first featured at galleries like the Charles Egan Gallery in New York, NY. In the 1950s, Siskind focused on architecture; he photographed the Adler and Sullivan buildings in Chicago, which lead to one of his most famous pieces, Chicago 59. He also published The Pleasures and Terrors of Levitation during this time period, which was mainly shot around Lake Michigan near Chicago, and featured subjects like divers and dark shapes among a white background that depicted the sky.

Siskind had a well-known friendship with painter Franz Kline, which led to Siskind’s creation of an homage after Kline's death, which was symbolically called Homage to Franz Kline. The piece included photographs of landmarks visited on a trip Siskind took throughout Mexico that reminded him of his dear friend. Siskind died in Providence, RI, in 1991, at the age of 87, but he has certainly not been forgotten. The Aaron Siskind Foundation distributes US$10,000 per year in grants to aspiring art students, while organizing displays that showcase some of his artwork in various galleries around the world.

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Artworks for sale (30)

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Aaron Siskind, Gloucester (Variant)

 

Aaron Siskind
Gloucester (Variant)
Auction: May 8, 2014
Phillips London
View Details | entire auction
Aaron Siskind, Rome 46

 

Aaron Siskind
Rome 46
1973

Caviar20
Aaron Siskind, Chicago

 

Aaron Siskind
Chicago
1952

Bruce Silverstein
Aaron Siskind, Seaweed #8, Martha's Vineyard, MA

 

Aaron Siskind
Seaweed #8, Martha's Vineyard, MA
1953

Bruce Silverstein
Aaron Siskind, Jerome, Arizona

 

Aaron Siskind
Jerome, Arizona
1949

Laurence Miller Gallery
Aaron Siskind, Chicago 85

 

Aaron Siskind
Chicago 85
1953

Bruce Silverstein
Aaron Siskind, Homage to Franz Kline San Luis Potosi, Mexico 23

 

Aaron Siskind
Homage to Franz Kline San Luis Potosi, Mexico 23
1961

Bruce Silverstein
Aaron Siskind, Martha's Vineyard (Hand with Minnow)

 

Aaron Siskind
Martha's Vineyard (Hand with Minnow)
1939

Bruce Silverstein
Aaron Siskind, Bahia

 

Aaron Siskind
Bahia
1984

Bruce Silverstein
Past auction results (1093)  View All
Aaron Siskind, Rome: Arch of Constantine 10

 

Aaron Siskind
Rome: Arch of Constantine 10, 1963
silver print

 

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Aaron Siskind, New York 2

 

Aaron Siskind
New York 2, 1951
silver print

 

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Aaron Siskind, Chicago 42

 

Aaron Siskind
Chicago 42, 1952
silver print

 

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1903   Born in NYC
1926   Bachelor of Social Sciences, College of the City of New York, NY
1930   Received his first camera as a gift
1932   Documentarian, the New York Photo League, New York, NY
1936 - 1940   Oversaw New York Photo League’s Feature Group in creation of documentary photo-essays; Harlem Document, Dead End: The Bowery, Portrait of a Tenement, and St. Joseph’s House: The Catholic Worker Movement
1940   His imagery shifted to abstract
1940   Befriended Abstract Expressionist painters: Franz Kline, Barnett Newman, Adolph Gottlieb, and Mark Rothko
1926 - 1947   Taught high school English, NY Public Schools, New York, NY
1947 - 1954   Exhibits at Charles Egan Gallery, New York, NY
1961   Succeeded Harry Callahan as Head of Photography Department, Institute of Design, Chicago, IL
1963   Co-Founded “the Society for Photographic Education”
1966   John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship (Rome, Italy)
1951 - 1971   Teaching: Institute of Design, Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, Chicago, IL
1971 - 1976   Professor of Photography, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI
1991   Died in Providence, RI
2003 - 2004   The Aaron Siskind Centennial Celebration, Museum of Contemporary Photography, Columbia College, Chicago (travelled).
1954   Charles Egan Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
1951   Charles Egan Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
1948   Charles Egan Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
1947   First solo exhibition at the Charles Egan Gallery, New York, NY
2003    Rhem, James Louis. Aaron Siskind. New York: Phaidon Press, Inc.
2002    Taken by Design: Photographs from the Institute of Design, 1937-1971. Edited by David Travis and Elizabeth Siegel. Chicago: The Art Institute of Chicago/The University of Chicago Press
1994    Siskind, Aaron. Aaron Siskind: Toward a Personal Vision 1935 -1955. Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts: Boston College Museum of Art
1989    Siskind, Aaron. Road Trip: Photographs 1980-1988. San Francisco: The Friends of Photography
1982    Chiarenza, Carl. Aaron Siskind, Pleasures and Terrors. Boston: Little, Brown and Company
1979    Siskind, Aaron. Aaron Siskind: Photographs 1932-1978). London: A. Zwemmer Limited