The David C. and Sarajean Ruttenberg Collection
Extended through May 5
What do Chuck Close, Harry Callahan, Patty Carroll, Roman Vishniac, Irving Penn, Garry Winogrand, Andy Warhol, and Annie Liebovitz have in common? They have all—among others too numerous to name— been passionately collected by Chicagoans David and Sarajean Ruttenberg over the last three decades.
Stephen Daiter Gallery has the distinct pleasure of representing one the most important collections of photography assembled in the Chicago area: The David C. and Sarajean Ruttenberg Collection. As Colin Westerbeck wrote of the collection in The Intuitive Eye (The Art Institute of Chicago, 1991): [It] is strong not only in classic genres, such as portraiture and the nude, but also in contemporary developments like Conceptual Art and Postmodernism. It is a Noah's ark of images, pairing kitsch with art, journalism and documentary work with manipulated prints and surreal constructions, and intimate contact prints with the public statement made by a large blow-up in an elaborate frame.
David Ruttenberg, attorney (Northwestern School of Law 1932), became one of Chicago's premier real estate developers, and was perhaps even more widely known as an art collector – an important fixture in both the commercial and cultural communities. He held a deep commitment to the city of Chicago which was manifested by an enormous respect for the character of existing neighborhoods - often renovating properties to restore them in an architecturally sensitive manner instead of razing them. Along with Sarajean, his wife of over 60 years, he also helped to develop the gallery districts in this city with an unflagging devotion to the arts. Beginning with paintings in 1952 the Ruttenberg's collection branched out and by the mid-70s they became immersed in the world of photography eventually collecting more than 6000 photographs and photo-based artworks. The Ruttenbergs also generously provided moral and economic support for developing artists and frequently shared works with numerous Chicago schools and institutions. Mr. Ruttenberg passed away in 2003 and is survived by his widow and sons.