Untitled, [woman and two children]; Wells, Alice; c.a. 1970; 1988:0023:0006


Nathan Lyons Research Center, Visual Studies Workshop


Untitled, [woman and two children]

About this object

Depicted in the image is a woman posed for a portrait with her two children.

Alice Wells (1927-1987) was born in 1927 in Pennsylvania, and studied at Pennsylvania State University and Rochester Institute of Technology. Her interest in photography began in 1959 and in 1961 she attended an Ansel Adams’ workshop, followed by several Nathan Lyons’ workshops in 1961-62 and 1965- 66. Alice Wells (then Andrews) began her career at the George Eastman House (1962-69) as a secretary and later held the position of Assistant Curator of Extension Activities. After leaving the Eastman House she became the Assistant to the Director at the Visual Studies Workshop (1969-72).

Wells’ work appeared at the Festival of Contemporary Arts 1965 (as Alice Andrews) along with six other artists, Ruth Barnhard, Paul Caponigro, Immogen Cunningham, Jerry Uelsman, and Minor White. From 1962 to 1975 her work appeared in over 35 group exhibitions, and she had 6 one-person shows, (one of which, Found Moments Transformed, traveled the United States, Canada, and Italy). In the Found Moments Transformed Series Wells repaired and printed old photographic plates she found at an auction, often creating unique images by solarizing the prints. Her work appeared in exhibition catalogs, in the periodical press and in portfolios. Wells earned recognition and advancement through grants she received, such as New York States earliest Creative Artists Public Service grants and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Wells became a student of Zen Buddhism in 1967 and withdrew from the photographic world in the 1970s—moving to New Mexico and relative anonymity. Wells credited Visual Studies Workshop founder Nathan Lyons with her growth as a photographer, stating that, “Nathan Lyons taught her how to translate the life process, to approach the place within herself, and use the camera as a direct means of self-quest, self-inquiry, and expressing a specific point in her life.”

Visual Studies Workshop holds 850 photographs by Alice Wells, 35 mm negatives, contact sheets, and correspondence.


Wells, Alice

Maker Role




Portfolio Title

from the series Found Moments Transformed

Date Made

c.a. 1970

Medium and Materials

gelatin silver from a glass plate negative

Inscription and Marks

verso: [pencil] Alice Wells verso: [pencil] .W453verso: [pencil] 88:023:6verso: [pencil] sm.9


image: 23.2 cm x 18.7 cm

overall: 25.3 cm x 20.3 cm

Subject and Association Keywords

20th Century Photography

Subject and Association Keywords

Alice Wells

Subject and Association Keywords

Visual Studies Workshop

Subject and Association Keywords

Rochester, NY

Subject and Association Keywords

Nathan Lyons

Subject and Association Keywords

George Eastman House

Subject and Association Keywords

gelatin silver

Subject and Association Keywords

glass plate negative

Credit Line

gift of the artist

Object Type


Object number


Copyright Licence  

All rights reserved

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