Over the course of nearly six decades, American artist William Eggleston has established a singular pictorial style that deftly combines vernacular subject matter with an innate and sophisticated understanding of color, form, and composition. Eggleston's vividly saturated photographs transform the ordinary into distinctive, poetic images that eschew fixed meaning. His 1976 solo exhibition Color Photographs by William Eggleston, curated by John Szarkowski at The Museum of Modern Art, New York—the first presentation of color photography at the museum—heralded an important moment in the medium's acceptance within the art-historical canon and solidified Eggleston's position as one of its foremost practitioners, and throughout his prolific career, he has consistently developed his own uniquely recognizable and influential aesthetic.Read More
Eggleston was born in 1939 in Memphis, Tennessee, where he continues to live today. Raised in Sumner, Mississippi, he attended Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee; Delta State College, Cleveland, Mississippi; and University of Mississippi, Oxford. In 2016, the artist joined David Zwirner. William Eggleston: The Democratic Forest, an exhibition of works drawn from the artist’s encyclopedic project, marked his first gallery solo show at the 537 West 20th Street location in New York.
Since the 1970s, Eggleston's work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at prominent institutions worldwide, beginning with his groundbreaking 1976 show at The Museum of Modern Art, New York (traveled to Seattle Art Museum; Santa Barbara Museum of Art; Fredrick Wright Art Galleries, University of California at Los Angeles; Reed College, Portland, Oregon; and University of Maryland Art Gallery, College Park). Subsequent important solo presentations were held at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. in 1990; the Barbican Gallery, London in 1992 (traveled to Louisiana Museum, Humlebæk, Denmark; Folkwang Museum, Essen; and Fotomuseum Winterthur); documenta IX, Kassel, Germany in 2002; Museum Ludwig, Cologne in 2003 (traveled to Museu Serralves, Porto; Nasjonalmuseet – Museet for samstidkunst, Oslo; Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, Denmark; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Albertina, Vienna; and Dallas Museum of Art). In 2008, a major career-spanning survey, William Eggleston: Democratic Camera, Photographs and Videos 1961-2008 was organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York and Haus der Kunst in Munich; it subsequently traveled to the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; the Art Institute of Chicago; and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
More recent exhibitions have included those held at the National Portrait Gallery, London, 2016; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Tate Modern, London, both 2013; and Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain, Paris, 2009; which traveled to Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo; and Hasselblad Foundation, Gothenburg, Sweden, both 2010.
Eggleston received a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in 1975 and has been the recipient of numerous notable awards, including the University of Memphis Distinguished Achievement Award (1996); Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography (1998); International Center of Photography Infinity Award for Lifetime Achievement (2004); the Getty Images Lifetime Achievement Award (2004); and the Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication, République Française (Order of Arts and Letters of the French Republic) (2016), among others. Work by the artist is held in major international museum collections.
Founded in 1992, the Eggleston Artistic Trust is dedicated to the representation and preservation of the work of William Eggleston and is directed by his sons Winston Eggleston and William Eggleston III.
Text courtesy David Zwirner.
It happens to be silent-movie day on William Eggleston's preferred TV channel when I arrive at his apartment in midtown Memphis. Earlier, he tells me, he'd been watching one about Napoleon, though the face on screen now belongs to Gloria Swanson, her vast eyes flittering and blinking, in a thousand tiny adjustments. To the score of tiptoeing...
Los Alamos, a set of William Eggleston's colour photographs developed from negatives made between 1965 and 1974, reminds me of the tagline from the 1969 film Easy Rider : 'A man went looking for America, and couldn't find it anywhere...' The Metropolitan Museum of Art's introductory wall text notes that the exhibition's images were taken on a...
Until now, there also haven’t been any albums of his compositions. Musik, to be released Oct. 20 by Secretly Canadian, will change that. The collection consists of instrumentals performed by Mr. Eggleston on an 88-key Korg synthesizer in his home over the course of several years in the 1990s, recorded using the machine’s internal memory. The...
William Eggleston's photographs have adorned album covers for years: He has lent his singular eye to projects by Big Star, Joanna Newsom and Spoon. But on Oct. 20, Mr. Eggleston, now 78, will release an album of his own.
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