Abelardo Morell  (American, 1948) 

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Abelardo Morell (American, b.1948) is one of the few remaining contemporary artists specializing in the application of Camera Obscura, an ancient photography technique that uses the obscura camera, a square-shaped structure with a small aperture that permits light to penetrate through the lens, in order to project inverted images from outside. The technique was heavily employed by Renaissance artists such as Leonardo Da Vinci to aid in painting, and Morell uses it to capture amazing images of choice locations around the cities of New York and Boston. Abelardo Morell was born and raised in Cuba, but in 1962, at the height of the Cold War, his family fled to New York City, where he studied at Bowdoin College and graduated with a BFA in 1977. In 1981, Morell received an MFA from Yale University School of Art. He dedicated the next 10 to 15 years of his career to Camera Obscura photography, creating numerous impressive pieces that have been showcased extensively across museums and art galleries in the United States.

In the early 1990s, his works were featured in publications such as the Philip Morris Collection (1990), Pleasures and Terrors of Domestic Comfort (1991), Fables of the Visible World (1992), and Feels Like Home (1995). His sample images were exhibited in different museums and galleries, such as the North Gallery in Boston (1988), The National Arts Club in New York City (1993), the Bonni Benrubi Gallery in New York City (1994), and the Jan Abrams Gallery in Los Angeles (1995). Morell's famous pieces from the 1990s include Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1998), A Camera in a Room (1995), and A Book of Books (2002). His 2004 publication, Camera Obscura, features 60 of the artist’s best photographs that he took using the ancient photography technique.

In 2007, filmmaker Allie Humenuk made a documentary about the life and times of this iconic photographer. Morell received an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from his alma mater in 1997. Prior to this, he was awarded multiple fellowships from organizations such as the Cintas Foundation, John Simon Guggenheim, and the New England Foundation. Morell is currently Artist-in-Residence at the Alturas Foundation in South Texas.

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Abelardo Morell, CCBF Benefit Auction / Two Books

 

Abelardo Morell
CCBF Benefit Auction / Two Books
1994
end time: Apr 25, 2014 10:55 AM EST
artnet Auctions
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Abelardo Morell, Laura and Brady in the Shadow of Our House

 

Abelardo Morell
Laura and Brady in the Shadow of Our House
1994

Jackson Fine Art
Abelardo Morell, Thought

 

Abelardo Morell
Thought
2001

Jackson Fine Art
Abelardo Morell, Light Bulb

 

Abelardo Morell
Light Bulb
1991

Jackson Fine Art
Abelardo Morell, Lisa and Brady Behind Glass

 

Abelardo Morell
Lisa and Brady Behind Glass
1986

Jackson Fine Art
Abelardo Morell, Camera Obscura: Times Square in Hotel Room

 

Abelardo Morell
Camera Obscura: Times Square in Hotel Room
2010

Jackson Fine Art
Abelardo Morell, Rooftop View of Midtown Manhattan Looking East

 

Abelardo Morell
Rooftop View of Midtown Manhattan Looking East
2010

Jackson Fine Art
Abelardo Morell, Blurry Upright Camera Obscura: Santa Maria della Salute with Scaffolding in Palazzo Bedroom

 

Abelardo Morell
Blurry Upright Camera Obscura: Santa Maria della Salute with Scaffolding in Palazzo Bedroom
2007

Jackson Fine Art
Abelardo Morell, Camera Obscura: Garden with Olive Tree Inside Room with Plants, Italy

 

Abelardo Morell
Camera Obscura: Garden with Olive Tree Inside Room with Plants, Italy
2009

Jackson Fine Art
Past auction results (149)  View All
Abelardo Morell, Two Books of Astronomy

 

Abelardo Morell
Two Books of Astronomy, 1996
gelatin silver print

 

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Abelardo Morell, A Tale of Two Cities

 

Abelardo Morell
A Tale of Two Cities, 2001
gelatin silver print, mntd on aluminum

 

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Abelardo Morell, Inghirami, Gardner Museum

 

Abelardo Morell
Inghirami, Gardner Museum, 1998
archival ink print

 

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1948   Born in Havana, Cuba
1977   Bachelor of Arts, Bowdoin College, Brunswick, ME
1981   Master of Fine Arts, Yale University School of Art, New Haven, CT
1992   Awarded Cintas Foundation Fellowship
1993   Awarded John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship
1994   Awarded New England Foundation for the Arts Fellowship
1995   Received St. Botolph's Club Foundation Award
1997   Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts, Bowdoin College, Brunswick, ME
2006   Received The Decordova Museum Rappaport Prize
2010   Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, Ireland
2009   Lacock Abbey, Fox Talbot Museum, Wiltshire, England (solo)
2003   Twilight, Yancey Richardson Gallery, New York, NY
Celebrating Central Park 1953-2003, Hirschl & Adler Galleries, New York, NY
Contemporary Photographs and Prints from the Bruce Brown Collection, Colby College Museum of Art, Waterville, ME
2002   New Work, Bonni Benrubi Gallery, New York, NY
Abelardo Morell and the Camera Eye, George Eastman House, Rochester, NY
Camera Obscura, Shine Gallery, London, England
Paris Photo 2002, Caroussel de Louvre, Paris, France
What were you Thinking? 15 Years of Photographs, Catherine Edelman Gallery, Chicago, IL
Into the Woods, Julie Saul Gallery, New York, NY
Through the Looking Glass, Catherine Edelman Gallery, Chicago, IL
Visions from America, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY
Sitelines: Art on Main, Addison Gallery of American Art, Phillips Academy, Andover, MA
Arte Latino: Treasures from the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Palm Springs Desert Museum, Palm Springs, CA
Museum of Fine Arts, Santa Fe, NM
Oakland Museum of California, Oakland, CA
What’s New: Recent Acquisitions in Photography, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY
2001   Abelardo Morell and the Camera Eye, Bayly Art Museum of the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA
Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, MI
Paris Photo 2001, Caroussel de Louvre, Paris, France
Can You Believe Your Eyes?, Fitchburg Art Museum, Fitchburg, MA
Voyages (per) Formed, Photographic Resource Center, Boston University, Boston, MA
The Crafted Image: Nineteenth Century Techniques in Contemporary Photography, Boston University Art Gallery, Boston, MA
Pin:Whole, University of Essex, Colchester, UK
Arte Latino: Treasures from the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Orlando Museum of Fine Art, Orlando, FL
Photograph + Monograph, Bonni Benrubi Gallery, New York, NY
Still Light, Beadleston Gallery, New York, NY
City: Prints and Photographs, Brooke Alexander, New York, NY
La Luz, National Hispanic Cultural Center, Albuquerque, NM
2000   Museum of the City of New York, New York, NY
Air Conditioned, Bonni Benrubi Gallery, New York, NY
The Universe Next Door, Bonni Benrubi Gallery, New York, NY
Abelardo Morell and the Camera Eye, The St. Louis Art Museum, St. Louis, MO
LeHigh University Art Galleries, Bethlehem, PA
University Art Museum, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM
Staged and Manipulated: Photographic Fictions from St. Louis Collections, The St. Louis Art Museum, St. Louis, MO
Bonni Benrubi Gallery, New York, NY
1999   Abelardo Morell and the Camera Eye, Museum of Fine Art Boston, MA
Metropolitan Museum of Art, Tokyo, Japan
Abelardo Mroell and the Camera Eye, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
Collectors Collect Contemporary: 1990-1999, Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA
1998   Waterproof, Parque EXPO '98, Lisbon, Portugal
Face to Face, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston, MA
Bonni Benrubi Gallery New York, NY
Bonni Benrubi Gallery, New York, NY
Catherine Edelman Gallery, Chicago, IL
1997   Family and Friends, Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, IL
Tokyo Biennial, Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Art, Tokyo, Japan
1996   Light, Time, Focus, Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, IL
New in the Nineties, Katonah Museum of Art, Katonah, NY
Blue Sky Gallery, Portland, OR
Winter Blindspot, Yancey Richardson Gallery, New York, NY
Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco, CA
1995   Looking at Books, Boston Athenaeum, Boston, MA
Robert Klein Gallery, Boston, MA
Jan Abrams Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
Jackson Fine Art, Atlanta, GA
Spaces for the Self: The Symbolic Imagery of Place, Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, IL
Degrees of Abstractions: From Morris Louis to Mapplethorpe, Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
The Photographic Condition, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA
Warren Street Gallery, Hudson, NY
Southeast Museum of Photography, Daytona, FL
An American Century of Photography, International Center of Photography, New York, NY
1994   Bonni Benrubi Gallery, New York, NY
1993   The National Arts Club, New York, NY
1989   Becker Gallery, Bowdoin College, Brunswick, ME
1988   North Gallery, Boston, MA
2002    Spirit of Family: Al and Tipper Gore. New York: Henry Holt Publishers, 2002
1998    Marcus, Leonard. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (Illustrated with photographs by Abelardo Morell). New York: Dutton’s Children’s Books, 1998
1996    Sante, Luc and Vik Muniz. Making It Real. New York: Independent Curators Incorporated, 1996 (catalogue)
1995    Feels Like Home. Chapel Hill: Algonquin Books, 1995
Davis, Keith F. An American Century of Photography: From Dryplate to Digital. New York: Abrams, 1995
1993    Gonzalez, Manuel E. Photography by Cintas Fellows. Miami: Florida International University Art Museum, 1993 (catalogue)
Photo National. University Park: Penn State University, 1993 (catalogue)
1992    Photography 1992. Pittsfield: Berkshire Museum of Art, 1992 (catalogue)
Fables of the Visible World. Boston: Huntington Gallery, 1992 (catalogue)
More Than One Photography. New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1992
1991    Pleasures and Terrors of Domestic Comfort. New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1991 (catalogue)
1990    Contemporary American Art from the Philip Morris Collection. Knoxville: Knoxville Museum of Art, 1990 (catalogue)
1988    20th Century Photographs from the Collection of the Bowdoin College Museum of Art. Portland: University of Southern Maine, 1988 (catalogue)