A small yet powerful show

Triumph and tragedy, atmosphere and art in photos of the 20th century

Park in Snow (c1950) by Arthur B Rickerby
Park in Snow (c1950) by Arthur B Rickerby

Lovers of 20th-century photojournalism should hotfoot it to London’s Hoxton Square between Friday January 11 and Saturday February 16 because, hanging on the bright, white walls of the Daniel Blau Gallery, they will find astriking selling exhibition of vintage prints by renowned American photographerArthur B Rickerby (1921-1972).

War Weary Veterans Return (1946) by Arthur B Rickerby
War Weary Veterans Return (1946) by Arthur B Rickerby

A native NewYorker, Rickerby is best known for his atmospheric depictions of everyday lifein the city; according to his widow, Wanda, he “prowled the streetsand tall buildings of Manhattan night and day”. This display features a number of iconic scenes of the Big Apple, including the beautiful Park in Snow (first picture, c1950), immortalised as silver gelatin prints.

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However, itis the journalistic work that’s the real star of The Rickerby Show. Asa United Press employee, a freelancer and later one of the prestigiousLife magazine staff photographers, Rickerby produced a photodocumentary of20th-century America. He was there with his camera when US soldierscame back from the second world war (War Weary Veterans Return, second picture, 1946), he was inthe motorcade the day President Kennedy was shot, and he was witness to numerousclassic sporting moments – both triumphant and tragic (Tumble on the Track, third picture, 1956).

Tumble on the Track (1956) by Arthur B Rickerby
Tumble on the Track (1956) by Arthur B Rickerby

The selectionon show at Daniel Blau may be small (there are 36 images in total), but itmanages to give a real sense of the breadth of Rickerby’s talent. These highlycollectable photographs not only have a poetic allure but also present a powerfully resonant portrait of the past century.

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