Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Artway Project Exhibition

On September 23rd we raised a glass of wine to Alexander Artway.  Gallery 1125 received well over 125 guests. Collectors, photography dealers, artists, poets and critics all enjoyed the 50 selected photographs that graced the walls. There were many compliments on the beauty of the contemporary silver prints and many guests went home with an Artway print to put on their walls.

The exhibition catalog, The Artway Project: The Photographic Work of Alexander Andrew Artway [1922-1939] is currently available, but the numbers are dwindling. The catalog is filled with 180 reproductions, as well as a great essay by Jeanette Artway Jimenez about her father. Stephen Perloff, editor of the PhotoReview and The Collector,  provides a foreword placing Artway's photographs in historical perspective comparing Artway's work to Atget, Sander, Kertesz, and other masters of photography.  

The exhibition will be up until January 14th, 2012.  If you missed opening night and would still like to see the show think about attending one of our three more intimate Saturday Salons: Programs will be announced shortly.

November 12th - 4pm till 8pm
December 10th - 1pm till 4pm
January 14th    - 1pm till 3pm 

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about the Saturday Salons or if you would like to see the work at any other time. Gallery 1125 will be open by appointment Friday thru Monday. 

For more information about Alexander Artway's work or to purchase the catalog or limited edition silver prints, call 267-207-5254, or email

See more of Gallery 1125 and Alexander Artway's photographs at

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Alexander Goes Home

The only way Alexander Andrew Artway could ever step foot on Russia soil again was with an American passport in his hand.

Alexander Artway became an American citizen in July of 1927 – two weeks later he is on a ship sailing back to Europe and making his way back home to Gomel, Russia to see his Mother and the rest of his family. This would be the first time he has seen his family since he escaped off of the battlefield in 1919.

Prior to the Russian Revolution, the Artemiev’s (Artway’s Russian name) were a cultured, educated, accomplished, wealthy landowning family. Now, in 1927 all the properties were gone and the family farmed the one piece of land that they kept.

Alexander is the youngest son sitting next to his mother

To say that Artway might have been shocked to see how the family circumstances had changed would not, I’m sure, be an embellishment.
Artway's mother through the years

Alexander Artway made four trips back to Russia between 1927 and 1936. 

One of Artway’s visits was in the midst of the Soviet famine (1932–1933). Millions died and Artway’s family lived in one of the areas hardest hit – Gomel, Belarus near the Ukraine.

Stalin’s policy of collective farming ensured that all that was produced belonged to the government and farmers were killed or imprisoned if they ate even small amounts of food that they grew for themselves.

Jeanette, Alexander Artway’s daughter,  told me of letters sent to Alexander from his family in Russia pleading him to send food and money.

The struggle to survive is palpable in these images.

This family had fallen on hard times but they had each other.

Artway’s photographs can be seen as ‘family snapshots'. 

They can also be read as the Russian counter part to the documentary photographs being made at exactly the same time in our dust bowl states.

Devastating loss, brave-face attempts to make do, and a certain kind of stoic pride...

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Any Ship - Any Ocean

No two ways about it - Alex Artway had Wanderlust! 
His preferred mode of transportation - the Sea.

Between the time he landed at Ellis Island (1922) and the time he became a US citizen (1927) Artway worked as a sailor to satisfy his urge to see as much of the world as possible. He set sail from California on trips to the Panama Canal, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Kobe. And, of course his camera is there with him.

Here we see a very young Alex shirtless and smoking a pipe (far right), and in another print there is Alex behind the helm.
But it seems that Alex had another plan, an ulterior motive.  
The work brought income but he was keenly interested in gaining experience on ships.   As a helmsman he was racking up the hours needed to apply for a license as Second Mate in the United States Merchant Marines once he received his Naturalization papers.

In 1927 Artway became a US citizen. Two years later he was officially a third mate in the US Merchant Marines studying and working towards his license as a Second officer.  Thus began a long career and continued journeys around the world.  

With his US passport Artway was now permitted entrance to his Russian homeland. He was no longer an exiled White Russian, but a US citizen.  Alex was now able to see his Mother and siblings.  So in the summer of 1927 Alex made his first visit home since escaping off the battlefield in 1919.

In 1929 Artway set sail again for Europe, this time from New York onboard the SS Bremen, a German highspeed luxury liner. Hitler was just rising to power and the Nazi flag did not carry the same meaning it would in another five years.  

Alex Artway would make two more visits back home - next  time to a Stalinist Russia.

Although Alexander Artway would  eventually get his land legs back to pursue a degree in Architecture at NYU he never gave up his license to navigate the deep blue seas. 

Here we see Alex as a mature man in his 50's working on a ship in the Philadelphia Naval Yard where he worked as an engineer and architect.

Next post will take us to Russia and the family Alex left behind, but never forgot.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Artway's Legacy - Jeanette Artway Jimenez

Inside a box stashed safely in a suitcase filled with photographs made over a lifetime is an envelope.  Tucked inside is a memory, a memento of a father's love and devotion to his little girl.

Here is the cherished birthday card that Alex Artway handmade for his 'Dear Jeanette' while away from home onboard the Merchant Ship, the Northern Sun. While Artway was often away from home Jeanette felt  her father's love was ever present. Father and daughter remained very close throughout his life - not the same could be said about mother and daughter.

Artway sailed as a Merchant Marine for twenty years and in the early years of this career he enjoyed the constant movement.  Then Alex met his future wife, Josephina, while working in Philadelphia.  She became pregnant with Jeanette and shortly thereafter Alex moved permanently to Philadelphia.

Jeanette describes her home life as 'progressive'.  She was 13 years old when she attended her parent's wedding. She recalls, "It was all very Bohemian."   

Alex and Josephina had what you might call an 'open marriage' - quite unusual for the 1940's.

Jeanette says that her mother taught her "how to be free and what to do with that freedom" - her father taught her how to love books, music, and language... although Alex would not permit her to learn Russian ('If you speak Russian you will spend your life with Russians"), it was essential for her to study piano..."All Russians play the piano."

At 16 Alex told his daughter, " You can stop doing 'church stuff'."  And, "Never marry for sex, Do not be beholden to any man."
Jeanette was 21 when her father died suddenly.  Alex Artway had made provisions for her college education.  Her parents had been living apart. Alex and Josephina were about to be divorced - the papers arrived a day after his death.  Jeanette would have inherited the family home, not her mother, but as the divorce papers had not been signed everything went to Josephina - except his photographs.  Jeanette rescued a couple of suitcases.  "I knew they were more than significant for my father - they were emblematic of his rich life, his story.  They have become my touchstone."

In my next post we will see what Alex saw when he sailed the deep blue seas.....

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

New Gallery Images

Just settling in after a wonderful week of photo events in NYC.  I managed to create a new gallery of Alexander Artway photographs on my website  Take a peek and keep checking in... working on a new post for the blog which will go up soon.