University of Vermont

The College of Arts and Sciences

Humanities Center

Fleming Museum of Art Reopens with "Travelers in Postwar Europe: Photographs by H. A. Durfee, Jr., 1951-53"

H.A. Durfee, Untitled (Parisian Street Pavers), 1952; Silver gelatin prints. Courtesy H.A. Durfee.

The Fleming Museum of Art has reopened for its Winter/Spring 2015 season with an exhibition featuring the mid-century photography of Europe by Burlington physician H.A. Durfee, Jr. who spent a long career in obstetrics and gynecology at Mary Fletcher Hospital, later Fletcher Allen Health Care, in Burlington, Vt., where he delivered a notable percentage of Burlington’s current residents.

In the early 1950s, prior to beginning his career in Vermont, Dr. Durfee practiced medicine at the U.S. Army Airbase in Wiesbaden, Germany. He and his wife Elizabeth took advantage of the assignment, traveling to London, Paris, Venice and the German countryside when they could find the time. On these travels, Durfee took with him two German cameras: a Rolleiflex and Rolleicord. Between 1951 and 1953, he took more than 600 black-and-white images, capturing the striking architecture, landscapes, monuments, ruins, and the uncannily empty streets of Europe’s cities in the aftermath of World War II.

The doctor-photographer developed the negatives but printed only a select group of the images. The work languished for more than 60 years, until 2014, when Durfee’s son, Eleazer, working with Vermont photographer Don Ross, began to print the negatives, first as contact sheets, then as full-size prints, bringing the majority of these extraordinary images to light for the first time.

The exhibition, made possible with support by J. Brooks Buxton '56 and the Walter Cerf Exhibitions Fund, is one of of three on view at the museum this winter, including "Staring Back: The Creation and Legacy of Picasso’s Demoiselles d’Avignon," opening Feb. 3, and "Civil War Objects from the University of Vermont Collections," on view now.

The Fleming Museum of Art on the campus of University of Vermont is a gateway for active cultural exchange and critical thinking and has presented diverse artistic traditions for more than 80 years. The museum serves as Vermont’s premier public showplace for exhibitions, education, and scholarship about local and world cultures, both historical and contemporary.

For more information regarding the Fleming Museum’s exhibitions, programs, and location call (802) 656-0750 or go to the Fleming Museum website at www.flemingmuseum.org.