Madeleine de Sinéty at Portland Museum of Art

Posted Wednesday, August 31, 2011 in Culture

Madeleine de Sinéty at Portland Museum of Art

Image credit: Madeleine de Sinéty (United States, born 1939), Four Loaves, 1993, archival digital pigment print, 10x16 inches. Courtesy of the artist.

PORTLAND — During the past 40 years, Madeleine de Sinéty, a resident of Rangeley, has worked on several continents, quietly documenting the everyday lives and public events of those who reside in obscure, rural corners of the world. Madeleine de Sinéty: Photographs, on view Sept. 24 through Dec. 18 at the Portland Museum of Art, will feature 71 black-and-white and color images. The exhibit will be the first to explore the breadth of de Sinéty’s photographic essays. The show will be the fourth in a series of exhibitions called Circa that explores compelling aspects of contemporary art in the state of Maine and beyond.

This selection of images will focus on de Sinéty's multi-year exploration of traditional French farm families in a small region of Brittany, village life in Uganda, and the work of a single logger in northern Maine who still uses draft horses to pull this precious natural resource from the woods. On the lighter side of life in Maine, de Sinéty has also documented the famed photographer and conceptual artist William Wegman at work in Rangeley as he makes large Polaroid portraits of his dogs. 

Born in 1939 to aristocratic French parents, de Sinéty was raised in France at her family’s Loire Valley château and in Algeria on the family’s date plantation. As a young woman, she worked in Paris as an illustrator for magazines and newspapers. After marrying an American scientific writer, she moved to the United States in 1980.

A resident of Rangeley for the past 30 years, de Sinéty has maintained connections to the contemporary photographic scene through her contacts with the Maine Media Workshops, where a renowned group of international photographers offer courses and critiques on a wide variety of photographic practices and techniques. The noted documentary photographer Mary Ellen Mark, one of de Sinéty’s mentors there, assisted in the editing process that is the basis for this exhibition and provided an introduction to the 80-page illustrated catalog published by the museum. The catalog, supported by the Seth Sprague Educational and Charitable Foundation, is available in the museum store for $14.95.  

Circa, made possible by S. Donald Sussman, is a series of exhibitions featuring the work of living artists from Maine and beyond. Corporate support was provided by The VIA Agency.

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