Collectors in Conversation: Building the Tanenbaum Collection

Wednesday, February 13, 7:00 pm
Ryerson Image Centre, 33 Gould Street

Unidentified photographer, [Portrait of three young girls], ca. 1850, daguerreotype in frame. The Howard and Carole Tanenbaum Photography Collection

Toronto couple Howard and Carole Tanenbaum began buying photographs in the mid-1970s; nearly half a century later, their extraordinary collection, one of the finest in North America, is the subject of a major exhibition at the Ryerson Image Centre, and a monograph published by Hirmer Verlag. This intimate panel discussion brings the Tanenbaums together with two key photography dealers who have advised and inspired their collecting through the years, Toronto’s Stephen Bulger and New York gallerist Howard Greenberg. Together they will discuss how the Tanenbaums—as well as other great collectors—have thought about their relationship with photography, and the role collecting plays in their lives. The RIC’s Director Paul Roth moderates.

Howard Tanenbaum is a lawyer, financier, and real estate developer, and co-director of the Howard and Carole Tanenbaum Family Charitable Foundation.

Carole Tanenbaum is founder of the Carole Tanenbaum Vintage Collection, and co-director of the Howard and Carole Tanenbaum Family Charitable Foundation.

Howard Greenberg is founder of the Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York.

Stephen Bulger is founder of the Stephen Bulger Gallery, Toronto.

About the exhibition

True to the Eyes: The Howard and Carole Tanenbaum Photography Collection presents more than 200 photographs from the extraordinary and eclectic collection of the long-time Toronto couple. The Tanenbaums were among the first Canadian collectors to engage with the medium during its late 20th century rise to prominence; over time, they assembled one of the country’s great holdings of photography. True to the Eyes highlights a range of humanistic photographs in many genres, from anonymous vernacular imagery to masterworks by such notable photographers as Southworth & Hawes, William Notman, Ernest J. Bellocq, Brassaï, Lisette Model, Diane Arbus, Mary Ellen Mark, Jim Goldberg, Rafael Goldchain, and Edward Burtynsky. Through four decades of building their collection, the Tanenbaums have acquired images revealing aspects of family, wealth and poverty, civil rights, nature and the land, and Canadian life. The exhibition is accompanied by a richly-illustrated book published in partnership with Hirmer Verlag. True to the Eyes is generously supported by media sponsors The Walrus and the Toronto Star.

Edward Burtynsky, Shipyard #7, Qili Port, Zhejiang Province, China, 2005, digital chromogenic print © Edward Burtynsky, courtesy Nicholas Metivier Gallery, Toronto. The Howard and Carole Tanenbaum Photography Collection

Upcoming talks, tours and events

Wednesday, March 6, 7:00 pm
Tanenbaum Lecture with Rafael Goldchain*
Ryerson University, School of Image Arts, 122 Bond Street, third floor, room IMA-307
The Howard and Carole Tanenbaum Lecture Series is co-presented biannually by the Ryerson Image Centre and the School of Image Arts, Ryerson University.

Thursday, March 7, 6:00–8:00 pm
Opening Party
Join us to celebrate the opening of Fehn Foss: A Broader Sense of Belonging in the RIC Student Gallery.

Thursday, March 14, 12:00 pm
Noon Time Collection Talk with Charlene Heath and Anna Jedrzejowski
Peter Higdon Research Centre, 122 Bond Street, second floor, room RIC-241
Join Anna Jedrzejowski, RIC Collection Cataloguer and Reference Specialist, and Charlene Heath, RIC Archives Assistant and co-curator of True to the Eyes: The Howard and Carole Tanenbaum Photography Collection, for a discussion on the haptic nature of 19th- century photographic objects. The talk will feature works from the RIC’s holdings alongside examples from the speakers’ personal collections, offering audience members the opportunity to touch and engage with specific objects.

Wednesday, March 20, 6:00 pm
Exhibition Tour
Join Paul Roth and Carole Tanenbaum for a special behind-the-scenes tour of True to the Eyes: The Howard and Carole Tanenbaum Photography Collection.

Thursday, April 4, 12:00 pm
Noon Time Collection Talk with Enriqueta Zafra
Peter Higdon Research Centre, 122 Bond Street, second floor, room RIC-241
Join Enriqueta Zafra, Associate Professor in Ryerson University’s Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, for a talk commemorating the 80th anniversary of the end of the Spanish Civil War. Focusing on works from the Black Star Collection of photojournalism, Zafra will discuss the conflict’s relationship to the advancement of war photography.

All events take place at the Ryerson Image Centre (33 Gould Street) unless otherwise noted. The RIC is an accessible space.

*Events marked with an asterisk require registration via

While you’re at the RIC, be sure to check out the other exhibitions on view

Laura Henno: M’Tsamboro
This silent, two-channel video by French artist Laura Henno was filmed in the Comoros archipelago near Mozambique, Africa, which has become the epicentre of a migration crisis. M’Tsamboro is an uninhabited islet where smugglers often disembark refugees under the false pretense that they have reached Mayotte, a French territory and sought-after destination. Conned and stranded, the migrants must then make additional payment to board boats operated by children. Taught to pilot the boats and avoid border patrols, these boys face all the perils of their illegal and dangerous activity. Henno’s quiet and poetic portraits contrast with the harshness and precariousness faced by her young subjects.

Kodak Canada: The Early Years 1899-1939
Drawing from Ryerson University’s Kodak Canada Corporate Archives and Heritage Collection, Kodak Canada: The Early Years 1899-1939 explores the development of the Kodak empire in Canada in the first half of the 20th century. In 1899, the company formally opened its doors in Toronto marking a pivotal moment in the global expansion of one of the world’s dominant manufacturers of photographic technology. The exhibition, accompanying publication and digital project present a selection of never-before-seen photographs of Kodak’s workers and buildings, original ads, corporate documents and ephemera.

Ryerson Image Centre
33 Gould Street
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Free exhibition tours daily at 2:30 pm
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Media Contact
Kristen Dobbin, Ryerson Image Centre, / T+416 979 5000 x7032