L'Aqua Alta: A Photography Exhibition Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the 1966 Florence Flood
This proposal seeks support for a photography exhibition commemorating the 50th anniversary of the 1966 flood in Florence, Italy. This project builds upon previous scholarship on Balthazar Korab (1926-2013) ﾖ one the most prolific and celebrated architecture photographers of the twentieth century ﾖ about whom I authored a definitive biography (Balthazar Korab: Architect of Photography, 2012).
In 1966, eleven years after emigrating to the US, and seven years after opening his architecture photography studio, Korab planned a one-year, "sabbatical" to Florence with his wife and two children. With no definitive projects or commissioned work to deliver, Korab departed for Italy to "recharge" and document the cultural and physical landscapes of Italy "on his terms." However, shortly after their arrival (November 4, 1966), the Arno River overflowed to its highest levels since the fourteenth century initiating one of the most damaging natural and cultural disasters in the city's history. Strapped with his cameras, Korab hurried to the city center to document the ravages of the flood and the destruction left in its wake. For the following two years, Korab received commissions from the Associated Press, Life Magazine, National Geographic, the Uffizi Museum, and the National Library, to chronicle the restoration of buildings, rare artworks, and historic manuscripts.
The 50th anniversary of this extraordinary event offers a rare opportunity to assemble the first exhibition of Korab's photography chronicling the events surrounding the Florence flood, and the enormous, international efforts amassed to restore and conserve some of the most significant works representing Italy's cultural heritage.