Theodore Nierenberg: Photographs from his world travels

Visitors to the Bruce Museum can explore the world through the lens of photographer Theodore Nierenberg beginning Aug. 1. Theodore Nierenberg: Photographs from His World Travels will showcase about 25 stunning, vibrant portraits of indigenous peoples from around the world — a selection from a gift by Martha Nierenberg in 2014.

Theodore Nierenberg (1923-2009) was a prominent industrial designer and photographer. An engineer by training, Nierenberg — along with his wife, Martha — founded Dansk International Designs in 1954, a business best known for tableware and house-wares of a distinctive Scandinavian Modern style. The company was started in the couple’s garage in Great Neck, N.Y., after a trip to Europe during which they became interested in the work of foreign industrial designers. Dansk went on to operate for many years afterward from its headquarters in Mount Kisco, N.Y.

Theodore Nierenberg (1923-2009), Japan, young boy in bamboo alley, Photograph, 15 1/2 x 20 in., Gift of Martha Nierenberg, Bruce Museum Collection, 2014

Theodore Nierenberg (1923-2009), Japan, young boy in bamboo alley, Photograph, 15 1/2 x 20 in., Gift of Martha Nierenberg, Bruce Museum Collection, 2014

After directing the company for more than 30 years, the Nierenbergs sold it in 1985, allowing Ted to concentrate on his many hobbies, which included most notably gardening, photography and traveling. “Traveling had always been an important part of our lives,” reminisces Martha Nierenberg. “First it was more about business since Dansk designs were manufactured in different parts of the world according to their raw materials. Later it was purely about exploring remote parts of different continents. I would drive and Ted would shoot roll after roll of film.”

Having studied with many well-known photographers including Magnum photojournalist Ernst Haas, Nierenberg became an accomplished photographer. Over the years, he amassed a vast body of work, focusing mainly on two subjects: his garden estate and portraits of indigenous peoples taken during his extensive travels around the world.

A book of photographs by Nierenberg — The Beckoning Path — was published in 1993, and documented Nierenberg’s woodland garden, widely considered to be among the finest gardens in the Westchester/Fairfield area.

Theodore Nierenberg: Photographs from His World Travels opens Aug. 1 and runs through Nov. 29, at the Bruce Museum. The exhibition is generously supported by The Charles M. and Deborah G. Royce Exhibition Fund.

Information: brucemuseum.org.

Theodore Nierenberg (1923-2009); Guatemala, back of young girl’s head, red head wrap; Photograph, 15.25”H x 20”W, Gift of Martha Nierenberg, Bruce Museum Collection, 2014.

Theodore Nierenberg (1923-2009); Guatemala, back of young girl’s head, red head wrap; Photograph, 15.25”H x 20”W, Gift of Martha Nierenberg, Bruce Museum Collection, 2014.

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