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Rosenfeld Collection at Mystic Seaport

If you are planning a trip to visit historic Mystic Seaport don’t miss the opportunity to see two outstanding exhibitions of world-class photography that captures epic sailing adventures on the high seas.  Currently featured are two important exhibitions from the Rosenfeld Collection:

“The Art of The Boat” can be seen in its entirety on the second floor of the retail gallery of the Mystic Seaport Store.   It focuses on the power, drama, and stunning beauty of large racing yachts under sail plus a short film about the Rosenfelds.

Zio & Nightwind, 1939

“On Land and On Sea: A Century of Women in the Rosenfeld Collection“ is at the R.J. Schafer Building through September 24th.  Curated and produced by Mystic Seaport, based on the book of the same title by Margaret Anderson Rosenfeld.  It profiles a fascinating glimpse into the social history of 20th century women as depicted in commercial photography. Pictured below is an unidentified woman steering the 35-foot, 9-inch sloop WHIFF in the 5.5 U.S. Championship Races.

WHIF, 1968

The Rosenfeld Collection of maritime photography is the largest single collection in the world.  Every America’s Cup Race from 1885 as well as1992, miscellaneous yacht races, steam yachts, naval vessels, power boat races, and leisure activities are represented.  M-Boats, pictured below, was said to be Morris’ favorite.

M – Boats, 1935

Mystic Seaport acquired the collection of nearly one million pieces in 1984. It parallels the evolution of photographic technology and developments in the maritime industry over the past century.

The collection represents the inventory of Morris Rosenfeld & Sons photography in New York, NY.  Morris started his photography business in 1910 with a $5 used large format camera and freelance assignments from magazines and commercial clients.  The business grew with the additions of his three sons, David, Stanley, and William.  Despite the deadlines of commercial photography the Rosenfeld’s always found time for yachting photography.

Atlantic, 1916

The Rosenfeld’s were master photographic printers. A sense of elegant composition and superior darkroom skills yielded images that captured the romance action of a moment without being static.  They artfully dodged and burned areas to adjust dark and light values and were known to add clouds if they were not captured in the original exposure.  All this long before digital photography came on the scene.

A Life Magazine front cover in 1938 featured Rosenfeld’s Flying Spinnakers earning them international recognition for their photographic art. For over 40 more years they continued to tell their maritime stories to the world.  Today this image remains the most popular in the collection.

Flying Spinnakers, 1938

Mary Anne Stets, Director of Collections, Business Development, Intellectual Property and Curator of Photography echoes this praise, “”As the curator, if you were to ask me if there is one quality of the collection that I would like to impart on the viewer, it would be the artistry of the work. The Rosenfelds are known for their yachting photography, but they were truly artists.”

Reproductions of Rosenfeld images have been made available to the public for personal and commercial uses, traveling exhibitions and permanent installations.

Fine art prints are offered as silver gelatin prints, custom Pigmented Inkjet, and Platinum Palladium print formats.

For further information and pricing call 860-572-5383, or visit www.mysticseaport.org/rosenfeld

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