The New-York Historical Society’s first artist-in-residence, Bettina von Zwehl, presents new works inspired by her study of the Museum’s collection of American portrait miniatures and silhouettes, including profile drawings by Benjamin Tappan (1773–1857). The 17 silhouette portrait photographs—a silent memorial for those who lost their lives at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine’s Day 2018—serve as a catalyst to engage viewers with ideas of protest and teen activism. Based in London, von Zwehl is an internationally recognized fine art photographer whose work explores the form and practice of portraiture by drawing upon historical iconography as well as the traditions of painted portrait miniatures and cut-paper silhouettes. Her powerful and intimate photographs honor the past while expanding the boundaries of portraiture.
This project received generous support from Laura and James Duncan, Lynne and Myron Hofer, and the Pollock-Krasner Foundation. Special thanks to Elle Shushan. Exhibitions at New-York Historical are made possible by Dr. Agnes Hsu-Tang and Oscar Tang, the Saunders Trust for American History, the Seymour Neuman Endowed Fund, and New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. WNET is the media sponsor.