Getty Museum Announces Important Gifts of Photographs
The J. Paul Getty Museum announced in March, 1999 three important gifts that contribute significantly to the Museum's collection of photographs. They include two works by Edward Steichen (1879-1973), one of the founders of the Photo-Secessionist Movement and among the most prominent American photographers of the turn of the century; 119 color prints by William Eggleston (b. 1939), the dominant figure of the post-1960s color documentary style; and 198 prints by 32 well-established photographers working in the United States and Latin America, among them Joel Sternfeld (b. 1944), Adam Bartos (b.1953), and Flor Garduño (b. 1957).
The Steichen prints are the gift of Susan and Graham Nash. A musician and songwriter, Graham Nash is also a photographer, publisher, and longstanding collector of photographs. He and his wife have focused their attention on the masters of photography and, through Nash Editions, maintain a serious commitment to living photographers as well.
The Eggleston photographs are gifts of the film producer Caldecot Chubb (most recently the producer of Eve's Bayou) who was William Eggleston's representative and publisher from 1976 to 1980. Mr. Chubb is President of Alphaville, a film production company on the Paramount Pictures lot.
Nancy Goliger Berman and Bruce Berman, who are responsible for the gift of works by 32 photographers, are collectors of Navajo textiles, American quilts, and contemporary photography. Nancy Goliger Berman is Executive Vice President of Creative Advertising at Paramount Pictures and Bruce Berman is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Village Roadshow Pictures, which produces theatrical features in partnership with Warner Bros.
Deborah Gribbon, Deputy Director and Chief Curator of the Getty Museum, said: "For these outstanding donations, the Museum is extremely grateful to the Nashes, Mr. Chubb, and the Bermans, all of them collectors of the first rank from Southern California. Their support of the museum has set a standard and their belief in the vision of the artists whose works we have now acquired is borne out by the superb quality of these impressive gifts."
Weston Naef, the Museum's Curator of Photographs, said: "They add to our existing strengths in Pictorialist holdings and greatly enhance our collection of contemporary photographs, which in recent years has come to include works by Frederick Sommer, Walter Rosenblum, and Milton Rogovin -- all masters of the black and white print. Color photographs require special housing, and the newly donated color works will be stored in a facility uniquely equipped for their long-term preservation. We look forward to exhibiting many of these works in the near future, so that visitors from Los Angeles and beyond can delight in them."
The Nash gift includes Steichen's rare and poignant Wedding Self-Portrait (1904). It was executed in the Pictorialist style just four years after Steichen helped to found the influential Photo-Secessionist movement. It shows the young photographer standing closely at the side of his wife, Clara, and is one of only three known prints from the negative. In addition, Susan and Graham Nash have donated an untitled portrait of Steichen's grandchildren (about 1930). Together, these images provide insights into the most personal aspects of Steichen's style in early and later phases of his career.
Mr. Chubb's Eggleston gift includes four well-known individual photographs, among them Tricycle (1968), Green Tile Shower (around 1971), Halloween Children (1970s), and Red Ceiling (1971). These works helped to establish Eggleston as one of the first major non-commercial photographers to choose color film as his principal medium of personal expression. In addition, Mr. Chubb has given the Museum two of Eggleston's best-known works, which Mr. Chubb published more than 20 years ago: Troubled Waters (1979), a portfolio consisting of 15 dye-transfer color photographs, and one of the five copies of Election Eve (1977), a two-volume artist's book of 100 color photographs made in Georgia and Tennessee during Jimmy Carter's 1976 presidential campaign.
The Berman gift of 198 prints provides a remarkable record of new directions in color documentary photography of the last two decades, by the generation following Eggleston, as well as important examples by well-established photographers working in traditional black-and-white photographic materials. Among the photographers working in color are Jim Dow, Mitch Epstein, Andrew Bush, Alex Harris, and the team of Virginia Beahan and Laura McPhee. The group of black-and-white works includes examples by such masters of the black and white print as William Clift, Robert Adams, Keith Carter, Bob Thall, and Todd Webb.
Another group of photographers living and working in Latin America include Flor Garduño, Cristina Garcia Rodero, Graciela Iterbide, and Mariana Yampolsky. Many of the new gifts will be featured in the upcoming exhibition, William Eggleston and the Color Tradition (October 26, 1999 through January 30, 2000).
About the Department of Photographs
The Department of Photographs was established in 1984 with the purchase of several important collections, including those of André and Marie-Thérèse Jammes, Samuel Wagstaff, Arnold Crane, and Volker Kahmen/George Heusch. Its holdings range from the medium's earliest years in the 1830s in both Europe and America and represent an unbroken thread in the history of photography to the present day. In addition to large group acquisitions and individual purchases, the Department has received many gifts over the years from sources including Jane and Michael Wilson, Susan and Graham Nash, the Rosenblum family, the late Marjorie Vernon and her husband Leonard, and many other individuals. Among the unique strengths of the collection is its comprehensive representation of works by master photographers.
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For further biographical information on selected artists cited in this article please see America's Distinguished Artists, a national registry of historic artists.
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