Release Date: March 1, 2017
Getty Museum and National Gallery of Art Announce Major Gifts of Photographs from the Collection of Daniel Greenberg and Susan Steinhauser
Gifts include works by Dorothea Lange, Mary Ellen Mark, William Eggleston, and Richard Misrach, among others
Washington/Los Angeles–The J. Paul Getty Museum and the National Gallery of Art, Washington, announced today major gifts of photographs from the collection of Daniel Greenberg and Susan Steinhauser. The Getty's gift includes 386 works of art by 17 different photographers, including works by some of the most influential American practitioners of the 20th century, and 23 additional photographs as future gifts. The Gallery's gift includes 143 gelatin silver prints by Dorothea Lange, with 10 additional photographs by Lange promised. These two gifts are the key elements of a broader initiative by Greenberg and Steinhauser that involved donations to a total of 13 leading art institutions.
Greenberg and Steinhauser have been collecting photographs for over 20 years, largely by 20th-century American masters, but also by Latin American and Japanese makers. In keeping with their belief in sharing their collection with the public, they have previously donated very significant bodies of photographs, ceramics, turned wood, and contemporary studio glass to a number of institutions over the years.
"While collecting is a mysterious endeavor, and living with the art is profound, the act of gifting is a joyous and wonderful moment in time," says Daniel Greenberg. "As Susan and I begin a new chapter in our lives, and after decades of acting as temporary stewards for these photographs, we are excited that now is the time that we can share some of the best works we have owned with the public."
"These gifts, which are the largest we have made to date, are part of a larger personal commitment through which we are supporting many leading art museums around the country with gifts primarily from our photography collection," says Susan Steinhauser. "Each photo reminds us of the circumstances under which we searched for, found, experienced and shared it with others. These photographs helped shape our lives and led to many long-lasting friendships. It is our hope that the public will embrace them as enthusiastically as we have."
National Gallery of Art acquisition:
The Greenberg and Steinhauser gift establishes the National Gallery of Art as one of the major repositories of Lange's work in the world, powerfully revealing why she remains one of the country's most acclaimed documentary photographers. An excellent and comprehensive holding of Lange's photographs, this gift represents her entire career from the late 1920s to the early 1960s.
"With only two photographs by Lange previously in the Gallery's collection, Dan and Susan's donation is a truly transformative gift," said Earl A. Powell III, director of the National Gallery of Art, Washington. "The exceptional depth and breadth of this group of photographs will allow the Gallery to beautifully illustrate the full range of Lange's art, from her early studio portraits and her profoundly moving documents of the impact of the Great Depression on the American people, to her later pictures featuring people and cultures she engaged with while traveling around the world."
One of the best known American photographers working in the 1930s, Dorothea Lange was made famous by her 1936 portrait of an impoverished migrant farm worker and her children in Nipomo, California, called Migrant Mother. However, Lange began her career as a studio portraitist working in San Francisco with a mostly upper-class clientele. Between 1929 and 1933, the years bookended by the Stock Market crash and the start of the New Deal, Lange struggled to redefine her professional identity. Yet in 1933 as she looked for subjects outside her studio—from breadlines and homelessness to labor demonstrations and workers' strikes—she found her voice, responding directly to what she saw and helping to define what would become known as social documentary photography.
Lange was a committed photographer whose works have been consistently received as compelling records of the human condition. But her carefully composed pictures, often closely cropped to increase their emotional intensity, also reveal her remarkable talent for marrying eye-catching formal compositions with captivating, socially charged subject matter. Of particular note, this collection contains multiple prints made over several years of some of Lange's most celebrated photographs—such as Death in the Doorway, Migrant Mother, and Migratory Cotton Picker—which will help the Gallery elucidate to students and scholars alike the evolving nature of her practice.
Founded in 1990, the National Gallery of Art's collection of photographs and its program for photography have become one of the most celebrated in the world, with large, in-depth holdings of work by such celebrated photographers as Eadweard Muybridge, Alfred Stieglitz, Walker Evans, Ilse Bing, Robert Frank, Harry Callahan, and Robert Adams, among others, and numerous award-winning exhibitions and publications.
The first donation to the National Gallery by Greenberg and Steinhauser, this gift is a major addition to the Gallery's large holdings of works by such social documentary photographers as Gordon Parks and Jim Goldberg. Several of the pictures donated by Greenberg and Steinhauser will be featured in The New Woman Behind the Camera (2019), as well as other forthcoming exhibitions.
The Getty acquisition:
Highlights of the Getty acquisition include the first works by Ruth Bernhard and Eudora Welty to enter the Museum's collection. Best known for her studies of the female nude, the German-born Bernhard became one of the leading photographers on the West Coast. While Welty is better known as an American novelist, she also had a serious interest in photography, and her work conveys a similar connection with her subjects that can be seen in her books. The donation of 27 works by Imogen Cunningham complements the 66 prints already in the Getty's collection, and sets the stage for a possible monographic exhibition of her work. The donation of Chris Killip's Isle of Man portfolio of 12 prints comes as the Getty prepares for a major exhibition of the artist's work opening May 23, 2017.
"This incredibly generous donation will complement and strengthen the Getty's holdings of several major photographers, and provide a rich trove of images from which to organize future exhibitions," says Timothy Potts, director of the J. Paul Getty Museum. "The gift to the Getty includes both individual prints and portfolios, with the latter giving us the opportunity to represent specific bodies of a photographer's work in depth. We are extremely grateful to Dan and Susan for their generosity and continued support of the Getty's Department of Photographs."
The Getty Museum holds one of the world's preeminent collections of photographs, and Los Angeles has become an important center for the study of the history and art of photography. Greenberg and Steinhauser are founding members of the Getty Museum Photographs Council, of which Greenberg is the current chairman and Steinhauser is a past chair. Since 2000, they have donated over 500 photographs to the Getty, including significant groups of works by Manuel Álvaraz Bravo, Graciela Iturbide, Abelardo Morell, Eliot Porter, and Minor White, all of which inspired exhibitions organized at the Getty Museum in recent years.
The Getty gift includes:
12 works by Berenice Abbott (American, 1898-1991)
29 works by Ruth Bernhard (American, born Germany, 1905-2006)
18 works by Wynn Bullock (1902-1979)
27 works by Imogen Cunningham (American, 1883-1976)
57 works by Bruce Davidson (American, born 1933)
14 works by William Eggleston (American, born 1939)
1 work by Andreas Feininger (American, born France, 1906-1999)
96 works by Mario Giacomelli (Italian, 1925-2000)
5 works by André Kertész (American, born Hungary, 1894-1985)
12 works by Chris Killip (British, born 1946)
1 work by Dorothea Lange (American, 1895-1965)
15 works by Mary Ellen Mark (American, 1941-2015)
26 works by Richard Misrach (American, born 1949)
18 works by Abelardo Morell (American, born Cuba, born 1948)
9 works by Arnold Newman (American, 1918-2006)
8 works by Milton Rogovin (American, 1909-2011)
38 works by Eudora Welty (American, 1909-2011)
In addition to their generous gifts to the Getty and the National Gallery of Art, Greenberg and Steinhauser have recently made gifts to 13 other American art museums, including the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk, Virginia; the Hammer Museum at UCLA; High Museum of Art, Atlanta; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Minneapolis Institute of Art; Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City; New Mexico Museum of Art, Santa Fe; and Peabody-Essex Museum, Salem, MA.
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