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"An American Century of Photography: From Dry-plate to Digital, The Hallmark Photographic Collection"
2001-03-10 until 2001-04-22
Delaware Art Museum
Wilmington, DE, USA United States of America

Landmark photos such as Babe Ruth's farewell appearance at Yankee Stadium, the raising of the U.S. flag at Iwo Jima, the explosion of the Hindenberg and celebrities such as Duke Ellington, Meryl Streep, Carl Sandburg and Georgia O’Keeffe are some of the world-famous images included in the Delaware Art Museum’s exhibition An American Century of Photography: From Dry-plate to Digital: The Hallmark Photographic Collection, open through April 22, 2001. An overview of American photography from the mid-1880s to the present, the exhibition is drawn entirely from the Hallmark Photographic Collection, one of the most renowned holdings of its kind in the world.

This survey of over 150 works tracks the history of the medium during the most vital age of American photography, from the invention of the hand-held camera through the age of digitally manipulated photos. It includes rare images, vintage prints and landmark photos of some of the most famous people, places and events of the 20th and late 19th centuries.

An American Century of Photography captures defining moments in U.S. history as well as the evolution of photographic technology. Poignant photos show the arrival of immigrants at Ellis Island in the late 1800s, soldiers in World War II and the Korean War. Images capture America’s cultural past and vanishing ways of life from a Native American encampment at the turn of the 19th century and Asian Americans in San Francisco in 1896 to early 20th century views of Chicago and New York and Depression-era views of Oklahoma, Alabama and Philadelphia.

The surprising innovation and skill of photography’s pioneers are shown in images such as a microscopic photo revealing the detailed crystalline pattern of a snowflake. An ultra-high speed image of milk splashes revealing individual drops ordinarily invisible to the naked eye demonstrates the dramatic effect of the invention of the strobe light. Early color prints relying on a finicky three-color process remind us of the dramatic advances in color photography. Late 20th century images include photos transformed by computer manipulation to create works conveying wit, whimsy and social commentary, highlighting the relationship between modern art and photography.

The exhibition presents a who’s who of world-renowned photographers including Ansel Adams, Alfred Stieglitz, Edward Steichen, Paul Strand, Edward Weston, Ben Shahn, Man Ray, Harold Edgerton, Annie Leibovitz, Andy Warhol, Richard Avedon and William Wegman. It also includes works by lesser known innovators and unexpected photographers such as Frank Lloyd Wright.

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