CERVIN ROBINSON

Cervin Robinson was born in 1928 in Boston and started photographing at the age of 12. He attended Harvard University and in the 1950s worked as an assistant to Walker Evans. At a time when most photographers considered people to be the most serious subject for photographers, he says that "pictures of buildings seem to me as satisfying as pictures of people were frustrating." He has traveled widely and worked in a freelance capacity as a photographer for architects and architectural magazines since 1958. Author and illustrator of several books, he has also shown work in many galleries and museums: The Brooklyn Museum, The Ammon carter, The Philadelphia Museum to name a few. He has received grants from the Brunner Foundation, The Guggenheim Foundations and held two residencies at the MacDowell Colony. His work was more recently included in an exhibition at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on the renowned publication Places, in which Cervin’s photography has been prominently featured. He is fond of dogs and mountains after one of which he was named.

LIFE ACHIEVEMENTS

EXHIBITIONS

  • 2015      Photographing Places, The Photographers of Places Journal 1987-2009 group exhibition curated by Gary Van Zante, Kurtz Gallery for Photography MIT Museum, Cambridge, MA
  • 2014      Taking the Long View: Photographs by Cervin Robinson, The Century Association, NYC
  • 2009      By Way of Broadway, Municipal Arts Society, NYC
  • 2008      By Way of Broadway, Wolk Gallery, MIT Museum, Cambridge, MA
  • 1999      Photographs, Thwing Gallery, Case Western Reserve University
  • 1989      Cervin Robinson: Cleveland, Ohio, Cleveland Museum of Art
  • 1984      Landmark Churches, Municipal Art Society, NYC
  • 1983      Cervin Robinson: Photographs, 1958-1983, Rice University, Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA
  • 1983      Landmarks that Aren’t II, Municipal Art Society, NYC
  • 1982      Landmarks that Aren’t, Undesignated New York Landmarks. Municipal Art Society
  • 1982      Special Photographs for Grand Central Terminal: City within the City, New York Historical Society/Municipal Art Society, NYC
  • 1975      Skyscraper Style: Art Deco New York, Brooklyn Museum of Art, Brooklyn, NY
  • 1973      The Architecture of Frank Furness, Philadelphia Museum, Philadelphia PA

PUBLICATIONS

  • 2000      The Landscape & Architecture of Wellesley College, texts by Peter Fergusson, James F. O’Gorman and John Rhodes Sullivan’s City: the meaning of ornament for Louis Sullivan, text by David Van Zanten, W.W. Norton
  • 1999      Renaissance: Twelve Years of Progress,1987-1999, Case Western Reserve University
  • 1997      Living Architecture: Simon & Schuster, New York, text by James F. O’Gorman
  • 1995      New York: The World’s Premier Public Theater, Columbia Books of Architecture, New York
  • 1989      Cervin Robinson: Cleveland, Ohio, Cleveland Museum of Art and Indiana University Press
  • 1986      Architecture Transformed: A History of the Photography of Buildings from 1839 to the Present. MIT Press, with co-author Joel Herschman
  • 1986      Louis Sullivan: The Function of Ornament, Special pictures Chicago Historical Society, The Saint Louis Art Museum, W.W. Norton & Company
  • 1983      Cervin Robinson: Photographs 1958-1983, Wellesley College
  • 1975      Skyscraper Style: Art Deco New York, Oxford University Press, with co-author Rosemarie HaagBletter
  • 1973      The Architecture of Frank Furness, Special pictures for James F. O’Gorman, Philadelphia Museum of Art

GRANTS & AWARDS

  • 1987      Honorary member NY Chapter of A.I.A
  • 1986      American institute of Architects, June 1986 Institute Honor as Photographer and Historian
  • 1971      Guggenheim Fellowship

EDUCATION

  • 1950      Harvard A.B
  • 1946      Phillips Exeter Academy (1942-1946)

ARTICLES

  • 2008      Life in Place, Places, Vol 20 # 3
  • 2005      A State of the Union, Places, Vol 17 # 2
  • 2005      Celestial Cities Meet Vanity Fair, Places, Vol 17, #1
  • 2002      Picturing the Road to Newark Airport, (aka Random Ashlar) Places, Vol15 # 1
  • 2001      Havana, Places, Vol. 14 # 1
  • 1999      Photographing Fitchburg, Places, Vol 12 #2
  • 1971      Late Cast Iron, Architectural Forum, New York
  • 1972      Usine Menier, Architectural Forum, New York
  • 1969      Bravura in Brooklyn, Architectural Forum, New York
  • 1966      Castles in the Air, Architectural Forum, New York City
  • 1964     The  World’s Fair, Architectural Review, London UK

TESTIMONIALS & REVIEWS

J.Duncan Berry

The New Criterion, Arpril 2008
"Robinson's work [is] perhaps the most celebrated of any living architectural photographer..."
"It's a brilliant show..."

Robert Campbell

Boston Globe, April 27/2008

M.F. House of Garden

Farish Gallery, April 1983
"Among contemporary [architectural] photographers, none is more distinguished than Cervin Robinson..."
"Of equal importance to O'Gorman's authoritative text Cervin Robinson's marvelous Photographs..."

Brendan Gill

The New Yorker, Feb 9/1998
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