The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia has received a major gift of contemporary art, a set of photographs by the influential photographer Annie Leibovitz. The gift is made in honour of Al and the late Faye Mintz by their children.
The Mintz family is honouring their parents by giving this important set to a Canadian museum, ensuring that the work will be seen by Canadians for years to come. "My parents have always loved Annie Leibovitz's photography, how she combines technique with creativity, beauty with controversy, humour with honesty," says Al and Faye Mintz's eldest son, Harley Mintz. "For them, every photograph told a story and, with my mother's passing two years ago, my father is thrilled to be able to share these 'stories' with the people of Nova Scotia."
The collection of the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia is held in trust for the people of Nova Scotia. "The gallery has been actively building its photography collection for the past ten years," said AGNS Director and CEO, Ray Cronin, "But this gift changes the gallery. It's transformative—this level of philanthropy is truly inspiring." The gift will provide an opportunity for students, researchers, and the public to explore the work.
"The iconic nature of Annie Leibovitz's body of work is astounding and has touched the lives of so many Nova Scotians," said Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter. "Having a home for this work at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia is something Nova Scotians will cherish for years to come. The province thanks the Mintz family for this gift to share with Canadians and the rest of the world."
The gift will be known as "Annie Leibovitz: Photographs from Her Books—A Gift of the Al and Faye Mintz Family."
The set consists of the pictures Leibovitz chose to include in books that have been published starting in 1983. "Magazines have been great vehicles to take the photographs, but the books are the heart of my work," Leibovitz said. She edits her books herself and the selection not only represents the evolution of her work over time but is also revealing in terms of her approach to photography. The set includes reportage work made in the early 1970s and landscapes and still lifes made more recently, as well as her well-known portraits of artists and public figures. Leibovitz's work is widely considered to be one of the most significant contributions to contemporary photography.
The images in the set have appeared in ten books: Annie Leibovitz: Photographs (1983); The White Oak Dance Project (1990); Annie Leibovitz: Photographs 1970-1990 (1991); Olympic Portraits (1996); Women (1999), American Music (2003); A Photographer's Life: 1990-2005 (2006); Annie Leibovitz at Work (2008); Pilgrimage (2011); and a limited-edition volume to be published at the end of the year. The set of photographs is Number One in an edition of three sets.
About Annie Leibovitz
Annie Leibovitz was born on October 2, 1949, in Waterbury, Connecticut. Her father was an officer in the Air Force and her childhood was spent on a succession of military bases. She began her career as a photojournalist for Rolling Stone in 1970, while she was still a student at the San Francisco Art Institute. Her pictures have appeared regularly on magazine covers ever since. Leibovitz's large and distinguished body of work encompasses some of the most well-known portraits of our time.
Leibovitz's first major assignment was for a cover story on John Lennon. She became Rolling Stone's chief photographer in 1973, and by the time she left the magazine, ten years later, she had shot one hundred and forty-two covers and published photo essays on scores of stories, including her memorable accounts of the resignation of Richard Nixon and of the 1975 Rolling Stones tour. In 1983, when she joined the staff of the revived Vanity Fair, she was established as the foremost rock music photographer and an astute documentarian of the social landscape. At Vanity Fair, and later at Vogue, she developed a large body of work—portraits of actors, directors, writers, musicians, athletes, and political and business figures, as well as fashion photographs—that expanded her collective portrait of contemporary life. In addition to her editorial work, she has created several influential advertising campaigns, including her award-winning portraits for American Express and the Gap. She has also collaborated with many arts organizations. Leibovitz has a special interest in dance, and in 1990 she documented the creation of the White Oak Dance Project with Mikhail Baryshnikov and Mark Morris.
Several collections of Leibovitz's work have been published. They include Annie Leibovitz: Photographs (1983); Annie Leibovitz: Photographs 1970–1990 (1991); Olympic Portraits (1996); Women (1999), in collaboration with Susan Sontag; American Music (2003); A Photographer's Life, 1990-2005 (2006); Annie Leibovitz at Work (2008), a first-person commentary on her career; and Pilgrimage (2011). Exhibitions of Leibovitz's work have appeared at museums and galleries all over the world, including the National Portrait Gallery and the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C.; the International Center of Photography in New York; the Brooklyn Museum; the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam; the Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris; the National Portrait Gallery in London; the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia; and the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow.
Leibovitz is the recipient of many honors. In 2006 she was decorated a Commandeur in the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government. The previous year, in a compilation of the forty top magazine covers of the past forty years by the American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME), she held the top two spots (#1 for the photograph of John Lennon and Yoko Ono taken for Rolling Stone the day Lennon was shot, and #2 for the pregnant Demi Moore in Vanity Fair). In 2009, she received the International Center of Photography's Lifetime Achievement Award, ASME's first Creative Excellence Award, and the Centenary Medal of the Royal Photographic Society in London. In 2012, she was the recipient of the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art Award to Distinguished Women in the Arts and the Wexner Prize. In 2013 she received the Prince of Asturias Award for Communication and Humanities. Leibovitz has been designated a Living Legend by the Library of Congress. She lives in New York with her three children, Sarah, Susan, and Samuelle.