Release Date: October 27, 2015
Stephen G. Stein Employee Benefit Trust Promises Exceptional Gift of Key Photographs to National Gallery of Art, Washington
Washington, DC—The National Gallery of Art announced today that the Stephen G. Stein Employee Benefit Trust has promised a major gift of 83 exceptional photographs in honor of the 25th anniversary of the museum's photography collection and program. Distinguished by its large holdings of iconic works by major 20th-century photographers such as Edward Weston, Robert Frank, and Diane Arbus, the promised gift also includes seminal pictures by various artists who were active between 1857 and 2005. Highlights include Henri Cartier-Bresson's Alicante, Spain (1933); Robert Frank's Bar—Gallup, New Mexico (1955), Indianapolis (1956), and Parade—Hoboken, New Jersey (1955); André Kertész's Shadows of the Eiffel Tower (before May 1929); William Eggleston's Outskirts of Morton, Mississippi, Halloween (1971) and Tallahatchie County, Mississippi (c. 1972); and Edward Weston's Nautilus Shell (Cross-section) (1927) and Dunes at Oceano (1936). Additionally, to commemorate the anniversary, Stephen G. Stein has donated 25 photographs from Lewis Baltz's important portfolio, San Quentin Point: Selections (1982–1983).
"The Gallery is extremely grateful for the generosity of Stephen G. Stein and the Stephen G. Stein Employee Benefit Trust for the gift and promised gift of key photographs. These donations greatly augment the Gallery's holdings of mid- to late 20th-century American photographs, providing us with rare, vintage prints of important works," said Earl A. Powell III, director, National Gallery of Art. "The Gallery has received many spectacular gifts in honor of the 25th-anniversary celebration. Stein's pledge, the generous pledge from Robert E. Meyerhoff and Rheda Becker of their collection of 30 contemporary photographs in 2013, as well as the exceptional gift of an endowed acquisition fund for photographs from Alfred H. Moses and Fern M. Schad, significantly enrich the Gallery's permanent collection of photographs."
"In a little over a dozen years, Stephen G. Stein has put together a remarkable collection of photographs," said Sarah Greenough, senior curator and head of the department of photographs. "He has carefully sought out pivotal works by some of the medium's preeminent practitioners. This promised gift from the Stephen G. Stein Employee Benefit Trust will double our holdings of both Diane Arbus and Edward Weston photographs and greatly enhance our collection of works by Robert Adams, Richard Avedon, Lewis Baltz, and William Eggleston. It is an extraordinary addition to Stein's earlier gifts to the museum of funds to acquire photographs by William Henry Fox Talbot and Captain Linnaeus Tripe and his generous bequest intended to benefit the endowment for photography acquisitions."
Lewis Baltz's San Quentin Point (1982–1983)
In the 1970s Baltz began photographing landscapes that were marked by natural decay and human consumption. In 1982 he turned his attention to San Quentin Point, a sliver of land wedged between affluent suburban homes and California's oldest prison. The resulting work—an extraordinary portfolio of 25 gelatin silver prints, San Quentin Point: Selections—reveals the radical transformation to the land due to human, environmental, and technological degradation. This portfolio is a major addition to the Gallery's growing holdings of Baltz's photographs and will be on view in Celebrating Photography at the National Gallery of Art: Recent Gifts (November 1, 2015–March 13, 2016).
Stephen G. Stein Employee Benefit Trust Promised Gift
The promised gift of 83 photographs comprises critical works by some of the most important artists working in the medium. Several of these photographs are on view in Celebrating Photography at the National Gallery of Art: Recent Gifts, including Brassaï's Streetwalker near the Place d'Italie, Paris (c. 1932), Henri Cartier-Bresson's Alicante, Spain (1933), Robert Frank's Indianapolis (1956), Richard Avedon's William Casby, born in slavery, Algiers, Louisiana, March 24, 1963 (1963), and Diane Arbus's Patriotic young man with a flag, N.Y.C. 1967 (1967) and Superstar at home, N.Y.C. 1968 (1968).
The following photographers are included in the promised gift, with the number of photographs given after their names:
Ansel Adams (1902—1984) – 1
Robert Adams (b. 1937) – 8
Diane Arbus (1923–1971) – 8
Eugène Atget (1857–1927) – 5
Richard Avedon (1923–2004) – 1
Lewis Baltz (1945–2014) – 6
Bill Brandt (1904–1983) – 2
Brassaï (1899–1984) – 1
Alexey Brodovitch (1898–1971) – 3
Harry Callahan (1912–1999) – 6
Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908–2004) – 2
Imogen Cunningham (1883–1976) – 2
William Eggleston (b. 1939) – 3
Walker Evans (1903–1975) – 2
Robert Frank (b. 1924) – 9
André Kertész (1894–1985) – 2
Leon Levinstein (1910–1988) – 2
Helen Levitt (1913–2009) – 1
Charles Marville (1813–1879) – 1
Lisette Model (1901–1983) – 1
Charles Nègre (1820–1880) – 1
Mark Ruwedel (b. 1954) – 4
Frederick Sommer (1905–1999) – 2
Josef Sudek (1896–1976) – 1
Edward Weston (1886–1958) – 9
Celebrating 25 Years of Collecting Photographs
To celebrate 25 years of the Gallery's photography program, the museum has shown three major exhibitions in 2015 exemplifying the quality, breadth, and history of its photography holdings. The Memory of Time: Contemporary Photographs at the National Gallery of Art, Acquired with the Alfred H. Moses and Fern M. Schad Fund (May 3–September 13, 2015) explored the complexity of the medium's relationship to time, memory, and history through 76 works by 26 international artists. In Light of the Past: Celebrating 25 Years of Photography at the National Gallery of Art (May 3–July 26, 2015) showcased more than two decades of the Gallery's robust collecting of photographs and demonstrated how the museum can now tell the history of photography from 1839 through the 1970s with its own collection. The third exhibition of recent gifts opens November 1, 2015.
Founded in 1990, the Gallery's collection of nearly 15,000 photographs by more than 600 makers encompasses the history of the medium, from its beginnings in 1839 to the present. It is distinguished by its large holdings of works by many of the medium's most celebrated artists including Eadweard Muybridge, Alfred Stieglitz, Paul Strand, Walker Evans, André Kertész, Ilse Bing, Robert Frank, Harry Callahan, Lee Friedlander, Gordon Parks, Irving Penn, and Robert Adams, among others.
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Stephen G. Stein Employee Benefit Trust
Senior Curator and Head, Department of Photographs
National Gallery of Art, Washington