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Van Deren Coke
1921-2004, Lexington, Kentucky
Bio
Exhibitions

Van Deren Coke was a curator, critic, teacher and photographer. His innovative vision, coupling his own personal practices with the study of modern artistic movements, led to a new interpretation of both photography and history, thus opening up new lines of research, Coke began taking photographs at the age of 15. After he met Edward Weston two years later, he began honing his technical skills and interiorizing the purist philosophy of “straight photography”. Unlike many other photographers of his age he garduated in Art History, and several year later he decided to continue his studies with a master and a doctorate at Harvard. In this period he began to develop the idea of a reappraisal of mdoern art in the wake of the advent of photograph: this idea was later expressed in his 1946 publication The Painter and The Photograph: from Delacroix to Warhol, destined to become something of a reference book.
In the early 1960s there came a sharp change of tact in his photographic work with respect to his earlier practices. Fascinated by the oneiric and surrealistic atmospheres of the works of Edvard Much, Odilon Redon and Max Ernst, Coke began to seek out a new creative horizon, capable of hosting more complex and irrational aspects. Restlessy enigmatic, his photos feature clear traces of manipulation: characterized by a vive tonal scale, they were often brought together through jaxtapositions of images taken from his own negatives and old photographic plates, subjected to various darkroom processes.

Lands of Men

Palazzo Gromo Losa, Biella

27 ottobre 2017 - 7 gennaio 2018

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10 years old

2007-2017: a history of the world told through the images of the Fondazione Cassa di risparmio di Modena Collection

March 11 - April 30, 2017

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Flags of America

CIAC, Foligno

19 marzo - 10 luglio 2016

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Flags of America

The major American authors of 1940s/1970s

15th December | 7th April 2013

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Van Deren Coke

Untitled (Montage of images of a man), 1976
gelatin silver print
19,5 x 23,5 cm
© The Estate of Van Deren Coke

Van Deren Coke

Untitled (Montage of a boy on steps with American flag), 1976
gelatin silver print
19 x 23,5 cm
© The Estate of Van Deren Coke

Van Deren Coke

Break up of British Empire, 1955
gelatin silver print
19 x 23 cm
© The Estate of Van Deren Coke

Van Deren Coke

Animal Lover, 1966
gelatin silver print
19 x 24 cm
© The Estate of Van Deren Coke

Van Deren Coke

Untitled (View from a car window), 1956
gelatin silver print
18 x 25 cm
© The Estate of Van Deren Coke