Douglas Kirkland 1934-2022

by Chris Murray on October 13, 2022

Jack Duganne, Chris Murray, Douglas Kirkland, and Mac Holbert at Nash Editions with Marilyn Monroe proofs, Manhattan Beach, California, 1992.

I was moved when I heard the news of Douglas Kirkland’s passing. Kirkland had a very significant impact on Govinda Gallery and our photography program.

Douglas Kirkland and Chris Murray at the Light Years opening at Govinda Gallery in April of 1990.

It was my great honor to host Kirkland’s first two exhibitions at Govinda Gallery, Light Years in the spring of 1990 and Icons in the fall of 1993. Light Years launched Kirkland’s book of the same name and that exhibition featured portraits of Dustin Hoffman, Ann Margaret, Catherine Deneuve, Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, and many more.

Kirkland’s second exhibition at Govinda Gallery, Icons, was the first exhibit anywhere that exclusively featured pigment prints. Not only is Douglas Kirkland a great photographer, he is also a pioneer of the pigment printing methods that have now been embraced by photographers and artists worldwide.

After Kirkland’s Light Years exhibition I was enthusiastic to publish a portfolio of Kirkland’s unforgettable Marilyn Monroe photographs. Govinda Gallery has published photographic portfolios for a number of artists and I knew that a portfolio of Kirkland’s Marilyn Monroe photographs would be well regarded.

Kirkland’s photographs of Marilyn Monroe were so sensitive and beautiful that traditional photographic printing methods did not do those compelling images justice. Kirkland had met musical artist and photographer Graham Nash at a party and told me that Nash was soon opening up a fine art print making studio featuring a new method of making prints. He suggested we consider this new process for our portfolio project. I flew to Los Angeles and met up with Kirkland and we went to visit Nash Editions in Manhattan Beach, which had not yet opened for business.

Douglas Kirkland with the first Marilyn Monroe proof at Nash Editions, Manhattan Beach, California, 1992.

We met with Mac Holbert and Jack Duganne, the master printers who first worked at Nash Editions and we produced proofs of Kirkland’s photos of Marilyn Monroe. They were so beautiful that with great enthusiasm we had the portfolios printed at Nash Editions in 1992. That portfolio was the first job at Nash Editions, the studio that pioneered pigment printing. Graham Nash had started printing his own photos there and the studio had experimented with a number of artists as they started to get their machines running. But the portfolio of Douglas Kirkland’s Marilyn Monroe photographs that Govinda Gallery published was the first paid and complete project to come out of Nash Editions.

Mac Holbert of Nash Editions, Manhattan Beach, California, 1992.

Jack Duganne operating the printer at Nash Editions, 1992.

Douglas Kirkland, Jack Duganne, and Francoise Kirkland at Nash Editions, 1992.

My sympathy to Francoise Kirkland, his muse, wife and partner, and to Douglas Kirkland’s family.

Category: Blog, The Back Room   

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