Indepth Arts News: |
"Photographs: A Decade of Collecting"
2001-06-05 until 2001-09-02
Metropolitan Museum of Art
New York, NY,
Masterpieces of early French photography and American photographs since
1960 – two high points in the history of the 160-year-old medium – will be
on display at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in an exhibition saluting the
first decade of collecting by the Museum's Department of Photographs.
Photographs: A Decade of Collecting will open on June 5, 2001.
Collecting great works of art is the Metropolitan Museum's most important
mission, noted Director Philippe de Montebello. The enrichment of our
photography holdings during the short period of a decade, through gifts and
through purchases made possible by the generosity of many supporters, is a
point of pride for the Metropolitan, and, we hope, a source of visual and
intellectual delight for the public.
Early French photographs included in the exhibition will be Gustave Le
Gray’s light-dappled Oak and Rocks, Forest of Fontainebleau (1849-56)
and serene twilight seascape Mediterranean with Mount Agde (1856-59);
Nadar's portraits of the fiery left-wing politician, Eugène Pelletan
(1855-59), and the affable composer, Gioacchino Rossini (1856);
landscapes by Edouard Baldus, including the softly atmospheric Entrance to
the Port of Boulogne (1855); views of medieval architecture in Normandy
by Edmond Bacot including Saint Maclou, Rouen (1852-54); and nude
studies by Julien Vallou de Villeneuve from around 1853, which served as
models for painter Gustave Courbet. Exceptional works by lesser-known
artists, including a cluttered farmyard scene in strong chiaroscuro by the
virtually unknown V. Dijon, will also be on view.
Modern American works included in the exhibition are black-and-white
photographs of the 1960s by Robert Frank, Diane Arbus, Lee Friedlander,
and Garry Winogrand; a large Polaroid self-portrait by Andy Warhol
(1979); photographs linked to earthworks and conceptual art by Vito
Acconci, Dennis Oppenheim, Chris Burden, and others; photographs from the
1980s by Cindy Sherman, Richard Prince, and Sherrie Levine that offer a
critique of modern media culture; and works by emerging artists of the
The Metropolitan Museum began acquiring photographs within its
Department of Prints (later known as the Department of Prints and
Photographs) in 1929. The Department of Photographs was established as an
independent curatorial department within the Museum in January, 1992,
under the leadership of Maria Morris Hambourg, Curator in Charge, and
curator of the American section of Photographs: A Decade of
Malcolm Daniel, Associate Curator and Administrator in the Department of
Photographs, and curator of the French portion of the exhibition, said, These
two aspects of the department's recent collecting are like bookends
supporting a collection that already had great strength in the Photo-Secession
(1902-1917) and in avant-garde photography between the two world wars.
At one end is French photography of the 1850s and early 1860s – one of the
most glorious moments in the medium's entire history – and, at the other
end, a period of enormous creativity and a healthy integration of photography
in the broader art world since 1960.