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L.A. in Focus: Artful Lives: Edward Weston, Margrethe Mather, and the Bohemians of Los Angeles



Saturday, September 14, 2013




Mark Taper Auditorium




Reservations not required. Doors open approximately fifteen minutes prior to the start of the program. 


Photographer Edward Weston destroyed most of the documentation from his early career, so it took Beth Gates Warren ten years to recreate the historical record surrounding his “lost years.”  Her research led her to conclude that Weston was greatly influenced by a mysterious woman named Margrethe Mather.  Warren’s book Artful Lives: Edward Weston, Margrethe Mather, and the Bohemians of Los Angeles (J. P. Getty Museum, 2011) reveals the story of their relationship, both professional and personal.

Weston and Mather met in 1913.  It was an exciting time to be in Los Angeles: the Hollywood movie business was in its infancy, the temperate climate was attracting people from all over the world, and local politics were at a boiling point. Within this tumultuous milieu, Weston and Mather struggled to define their artistic vision and turn the craft of photography into an art form, but as their lives intersected with people like Charlie Chaplin, Carl Sandburg, and Emma Goldman, the city around them grew increasingly complex and problematic. 

In Weston’s Daybooks, published several years after Mather’s death in 1952, he recalled her as the “first and most important person” in his life, but he never explained why.  Artful Lives corrects that omission and places the two photographers against the backdrop of the City of the Angels during a particularly fascinating and critical chapter in the city’s history.  The venue for Warren’s talk is highly appropriate, because much of the narrative takes place just up the hill from the Los Angeles Public Library.

Presented by Photo Friends. Sponsored by the Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection and the Art, Music, & Recreation Department. 

A book signing will take place immediately following the program.