Academic journal article Afterimage

Helen Gee: 1910-2004

Academic journal article Afterimage

Helen Gee: 1910-2004

Article excerpt

Helen Gee, a pioneer in sales of photos as art, died at age 85 in a hospice in Manhattan on Oct. 14, 2004. In the 1950s, Helen Gee's Limelight Photography Gallery in Greenwich Village became a pioneering blueprint for the offering and selling of photography as an art form. Limelight opened in May 1954 and was supported by the adjoining coffeehouse. Although a market in fine photographs was almost nonexistent, for about seven years Limelight carried on as if there were one, setting the standard for successors in the early 1970s and grew into a flood by the 1990s. Ms. Gee mounted new shows at roughly five-week intervals and wrote the news releases.

Two earlier galleries, Alfred Stieglitz's 291 early in the 20th century and Julien Levy's in the 1930s, had tried to sell photographs but without success. Limelight did somewhat better; an Atget show, with the prints made by Berenice Abbott ($20 each) was almost a sellout, and more than half the pictures in an Edward Weston exhibition ($75 each) were bought. …

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