Ellen Kessler's PGH Photo Fair Collection

On March 20, 2019, the PGH Photo Fair held the second Speaker Series of 2019.  Evan Mirapaul moderated a panel between Nancy Lane, Joe Baio, and Ellen Kessler. Each speaker introduced their collections and personal philosophies around collecting. Kessler, who is based in Pittsburgh, went through a range of photographic works that are included in her largely contemporary focused collection. These works were often purchased during travels, at galleries or fairs, but a significant portion of her collection was purchased here in Pittsburgh at the PGH Photo Fair and also from Pittsburgh gallery from Silver Eye.

Enjoy a few images of her pieces and get a sense for some of our past and returning galleries by clicking through the list below:

Aperture: Daniel Gordon—Lakes and Potatoes, 2016, Pigment Print (thumbnail image)

Deborah Bell Gallery: Marcia Resnick—Sea Changes #5, 1974, Vintage gelatin silver print, Hand painted.

Photo Fair Gallery: Ni Roy — In America, Print

Miyako Yoshinaga Gallery: Yojiro Imasaka—Blue Bayou 8, 2016, Toned gelatin silver print.

Foley Gallery: Martin Klimas—Exploding Vase


Ellen received a BA from Penn State University and an MA from the University of New Mexico with degrees in Communications.

During and after graduate school she worked briefly in television news as a reporter, and weekend sports anchor in Albuquerque, New Mexico before moving to Los Angeles where she worked in marketing and media.

She returned to Pittsburgh to become the Advertising and PR Director for Interstate Hotels Corp.

Ellen has been a volunteer and leader at several local organizations and has served on many local boards including Winchester Thurston School, The Children’s Institute, The Jewish Federation of Pittsburgh and the Jewish Community Center of Pittsburgh.

Today in addition to being the Chair of the Board of the Carnegie Museum of Art and a Trustee of the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, she is also on the board of Steeltown Entertainment Project and the Jewish Healthcare Foundation.

Ellen is married to Jack Kessler an attorney at Buchanan Ingersoll and Rooney. They have two grown children and passionately enjoy collecting contemporary art and photography.