Art & Artists
Masters of the Southwest
December, 2011, Page 116
Photography by Tom Spitz
Terry Etherton - owner, Etherton Gallery
—135 S. 6th Ave., Tucson
—Tues.-Sat., 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; and by appointment
—Etherton Gallery, located in a historic 1914 Tucson building, has gained both national and international recognition. Its rotating shows in 3,000 square feet of exhibition space feature what Terry Etherton calls “classic American photography,” all of it museum-quality, and all of it for sale.
When Etherton (pictured) opened his doors in a smaller Tucson location, there was no indication that his gallery dream would take off. “I didn’t know what a business plan looked like,” he admits. The Illinois native had relocated from San Francisco after visiting friends in Tucson. He liked the city and the cultural advantages of the University of Arizona’s Center for Creative Photography, which is dedicated to documenting the history of North American photography.
Armed with degrees in cinema and photography, and interdisciplinary arts, plus related work experience, Etherton set up shop in the heat of summer. No one came in. “I realized early on that I couldn’t sit and wait for people to come through the doors,” he recalls. So, he combined his love of photography with his other passion—baseball—and hit the road.
After deciding which baseball parks he would like to visit in cities across the country, he made contacts with galleries and museum curators and directors in those locales. Carrying a case with up to 200 photographs, he says, “I’d go wherever I thought I could sell.” Seventeen ballparks and many valuable contacts later, his reputation as a knowledgeable and creditable photography source was cemented, and his gallery began to flourish. He moved into the current quarters in 1988.
Here, at various times, the works of landscape photographer Ansel Adams and other luminaries in the field can be seen. One room is set aside for early Western photos. Currently, the hand-colored photography of 2005 Phoenix Home & Garden Emerging Artist Kate Breakey is on display.
—The gallery’s emphasis is on 19th- and 20th-century and contemporary fine-art photography. In addition, exhibits of paintings, prints, sculpture and mixed-media works by local and regional artists are presented at various times.
—Among several artists are Manuel Alvarez Bravo, Alice Leora Briggs, Harry Callahan, Edward S. Curtis, Bailey Doogan, Jack Dykinga, Elliott Erwitt, Emmet Gowin, Mark Klett, William Lesch, Danny Lyon, Gail Marcus Orlen, Nancy Tokar Miller, Timothy O’Sullivan, Chris Rush, Aaron Siskind, Frederic Sommer, Jim Waid, Alex Webb and Joel-Peter Witkin.
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