Photography from the collection of Marcuse Pfeifer at Dorsky Museum

Peter Hujar, Susan Sontag, 1975, Gelatin silver print, © 1987 The Peter Hujar Archive LLC; Courtesy Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York and Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco

Born in Little Rock in 1936 and now a Kingston resident, Marcuse Pfeifer is an instrumental figure in the promotion of photography as an artform in the late 20th and early 21st centuries: a founding member and president of the Association of International Photography Art Dealers and one of the first gallery dealers in New York City to show photographs exclusively. Beginning in 1976, Pfeifer’s gallery (first on Madison Avenue, later in SoHo) gained a reputation as one of the few spaces where one could view and purchase images by both well-known and up-and-coming artists. She helped launch the careers of numerous contemporary photographers, including Sally Mann, Peter Hujar and Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, and played an important role in helping restore to prominence such overlooked women artists as Carlotta Corpron, Nell Dorr and Lois Cramer.

In recent years, Pfeifer has become one of the major supporters of the permanent photography collection of the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art at SUNY-New Paltz. A new exhibition of 52 images, curated by Wayne Lempka and showcasing works by key artists including Berenice Abbott, John Ernest Joseph Bellocq, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, Peter Hujar, George Platt Lynes and Weegee, will be on view in the Dorsky’s Sara Bedrick Gallery from February 9 to July 12. A public opening reception for “In Celebration: A Recent Gift from the Photography Collection of Marcuse Pfeifer” will be held on Saturday, February 9 from 5 to 7 p.m.

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Museum hours are from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday when college is in session. For more info, visit www.newpaltz.edu/museum or call (845) 257-3844.

“In Celebration: A Recent Gift from the Photography Collection of Marcuse Pfeifer,” opening on Saturday, Feb. 9, 5-7 p.m., Free, Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, SUNY-New Paltz campus, New Paltz, (845) 257-3844, www.newpaltz.edu/museum

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