New York City: 1979-2001. Massive Collection of New York City Street Photography of Czech American Photographer Milan Sklenar. 1979-2001 New York City.
Photographs range in size from 5 x 8 inches to 8 x 10 inches. Plus, there are 15 mounted prints measuring 7.75 x 9.75 inches. The bulk of this collection, acquired from Milan Sklenar's widow are prints Sklenar developed himself in his darkroom in Gallup, New Mexico. Many have catalog numbers on verso, and we often find a range of darkroom settings for many of the images. Most have been stored flat in photo boxes. Very good to fine condition.
Milan Sklenar fled the oppressive Czech regime in 1966 emigrating to Vancouver, Canada. Even as a kid, Sklenar wanted to study film and photography, avenues not available to him in the Czech Republic and he ended up with a degree in metallurgy. After living on the streets of Vancouver Island he found himself in Montreal with the opportunity to study film and art history before using a student visa to move to New York City in 1979. Wherever Sklenar was, he always carried his camera and soon was shooting vernacular "street photography". One definition of street photography, or candid photography is: "photography conducted for art that captures unplanned chance encounters and random occasions within public places." Sklenar took this idea to another level choosing to utilize the reflective qualities of glass, hence realizing multiple views within an image. Viewing Milan Sklenar's street photography requires a relaxed eye to capture all the layers and complexities.
Milan Sklenar's work was virtually unknown until a 1998 monograph was published on the occasion of his exhibition at the Galeria Jose Maria Velasco Instituto Nacional de Belles Artes in Mexico City. Sklenar shot street photography constantly and the monograph, simply titled "Milan Sklenar" features his work from the Czech Republic, Canada, New York, Mexico and his final hometown of Gallup, New Mexico and surrounding Navajo Reservation lands.
With 343 print images of his street photography from New York City in this archive, we likely are offering the single largest collection of Sklenar's work from his time in the city in the 70's and 80's. (There is a small collection of World Trade Tower images shot just after 911). Not only do we see a professional at work in his craft, but we can also examine his eye in the darkroom as he works to print his vision. As of January 2023, we find no institutional holdings of Sklenar's work. Item #246