“Nicholas Nixon, born in 1947, is known for the ease and intimacy of his large format photography. Nixon has photographed porch life in the rural south, schools in and around Boston, cityscapes, sick and dying people, the intimacy of couples, and the ongoing annual portrait of his wife, Bebe, and her three sisters (which he began in 1975).”
Something so simple, compelling and true as photographing a person or group of persons as they age over the years must have been done by thousands of photographers, but I only discovered Nicholas Nixon at arnet’s Artist Works Catalogues yesterday. And for some reason I immediately looked at the collection of pictures there called the “Brown Sisters.” There are 34 pictures in the collection, and they are all of the same group of four sisters, beginning in 1975 and ending in 2008. One of the four sisters is the wife of the photographer, but neither the introductory blurb at artnet nor any of the 34 pictures in his Brown Sisters collection give a clue as to which of the four sisters she is.
Who is Nicholas Nixon? “Nixon has been awarded three National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships and two Guggenheim Fellowships. In 2005 Nixon had a solo exhibition at the National Gallery of Art in Washington and the Cincinnati Art Museum. In 2006 Nixon's ongoing portrait of the Brown sisters was exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, New York and the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. His work is included in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, among many others.”
Nicholas Nixon, Self-Portrait, 1997
There follow nine pictures from Nixon’s Brown Sisters series at artnet. They’re all of Nixon’s wife Bebe and her three sisters, taken from 1975 to 2008.
1975, the first picture, no location
1976, the second picture, Hartford, Conn
1981, Cincinnatti, Ohio
1983, Allston, MA
1990, Woodstock, VT
1995, Marblehead, MA
1998, Falmouth, MA
2007, Cataumet, MA
2008, the last picture, Dallas, TX
(The words in quotation marks above and all the images are courtesy and copyright of the artist and Fraenkel Gallery, and of artnet and its Artist Works Catalogues. At its AWC, there is this: “artnet offers these catalogues free to the public as an educational resource. Simply click on an individual artist's image to begin, and check back often to browse new catalogues.”)