- By Cynthia Lum
- Photo Courtesy of The Autry Museum
An online exhibit of the photographs of Theo Westenberger is now on view at the Autry Museum of the American West. With and interest in architecture, the Richard Neutra house in La Canada-Flintridge that she grew up in was one of her first artistic subjects. Working in NYC Westenberger became the first woman to shoot covers for Newsweek and Sports Illustrated, at a time when women in the field were scarce. Although best known for her commercial work, including numerous award-winning magazine covers with portrait subjects such as Clint Eastwood, her college roommate Meryl Streep, Fidel Castro, and three U.S. presidents, it is in her personal fine art work that her California roots are revealed. A true woman of the west, she had a Western childhood and, in her early photography captured the essence of both the natural and constructed California landscape. It was in her personal fine art work, however, that her California roots were revealed. She photographed the Rose Parade from 1974 to 1980 and was clearly fascinated with Western culture and the elaborate costumes worn by horses and riders alike. Throughout her life she photographed contrasts. She photographed the “kitsch” architecture of Los Angeles, the sleek mid-century architecture of Palm Springs, and the dense luscious gardens of San Marino.
To view “Theo Westenberger: A Woman of the West,” click here.