It’s rare to come across an artist who has slipped into obscurity after gaining significant recognition. Such is the case for Ann Treer (also know as Agatha Reimann) a photographer of Hungarian descent who created a small but concise body of photographs during the 1950’s and 1960’s. Robert Mann Gallery presents an exhibition of Treer’s beautiful and sensitive works, opening on March 8, 2023.
Treer passed away in 1985 and left behind a small collection of vintage prints that were nestled among the hundreds of prints in David Vestal’s Estate. Vestal was her husband, her confidant and her inspiration in taking pictures, and a well known photographer, writer and researcher in his own right. Vestal wrote in Treer’s obituary “I once embarrassed her by saying that she was the only photographer I have ever looked up to. But it’s the truth. When we went shooting together, she kept bringing back pictures that I wished I had taken. I’ve never felt that about anyone else’s work”.
Ann Treer was was born in Vienna in 1922. During WWII, she lived in Budapest, working alongside her father at a press agency. She was half-Jewish and her political convictions often led her to attempt to slant news against the Nazi occupation. Her strong views persevered in her resistance to the communist government after the war; she became a displaced person in Italy, and later immigrated to Australia, where she began making photographs. Her mother, who had been living in New York sent her a one-way ticket to relocate once again. Treer met her future husband and fellow image exhibitor David Vestal in one of Sid Grossman’s classes at the New York Film & Photo League in the early 1950’s. The two were married for 24 years.
Treer’s images mostly made in and around New York were sensitive, moody and atmospheric. Her work touched Hugh Edwards, director of the photography department at The Art Institute of Chicago who gave her a solo exhibition in 1968 and acquired a number of her works for their permanent collection. Treer’s photographs were also exhibited in 1958 and 1960 and collected by the Museum of Modern Art. Treer’s work was exhibited at Image Gallery, New York in 1959 and the Midtown “Y” Gallery in 1972. Her work is included in the permanent collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Modern Art and the New York Public Library.
Ann Treer: A Moment In New York
March 8 – April 28, 2023
Robert Mann Gallery
14 East 80th Street, Penthouse
New York, NY 10075
Hours: By appointment