Press Release

Photographs from the Paul Sack Collection

Sep 18 - Nov 2, 2019

Deborah Bell Photographs presents an exhibition of vintage photographs from the collection of Paul Sack from Wednesday, September 18 through Saturday, November 2. A reception will be held on Saturday, September 21 from 4 to 7pm.

An eclectic and expansive collector, Sack delved widely and deeply into the history of photography – from early 19th-century salt prints to contemporary work. Since 1987, when he purchased his first photograph, he has acquired thousands more. Highlights on view from the collection include vintage prints by photographers including Eugène Atget, Bill Brandt, Brassaï, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Bruce Davidson, Emmet Gowin, Ken Josephson, Daido Moriyama, Frederick Sommer, and Joel-Peter Witkin.

In 2000, with his wife Prentice Sack, he made a large gift of photographs to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. SFMoMA celebrated the Sacks' gift with a major exhibition and accompanying catalogue entitled Taking Place: Photographs from the Prentice and Paul Sack Collection. In the preface to the catalogue, Sack wrote how his professional career in real estate development provided the parameters he set for his collection:

In building my collection, I have focused on presenting the history of photography through vintage photographs, each of which has somewhere in it a building that could be owned or leased. The building in question might be a tiny spot in a large landscape or even an interior, so a picture of someone inside a room could qualify for the collection. The theme is an obvious reference to my career as a real estate investor.

In the early 1960s, Sack was a student of painting and drawing at the San Francisco Art Institute. In 1966-67 he served in the Peace Corps in Tanzania as Country Director, and in the Peace Corps/Washington (DC) as Director of the Office of Planning, Programs and Research. He also holds an AB degree in economics from Harvard College and an MBA from the Harvard Business School, and he earned a PhD in Political Economy at UC Berkeley in 1975.

This exhibition is presented in collaboration with Paul M. Hertzmann, Inc., San Francisco.

Gallery hours for the exhibition are Wednesday through Saturday from 11am to 6pm. For further information please contact the gallery at 212-249-9400 or by email at

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