The Museum of Modern Art Acquires 162 Works of Photography from the Collection of Robert B. Menschel

Posted on May 19, 2016

The Museum of Modern Art announces that longtime trustee Robert B. Menschel has made a promised gift of 162 images to the Museum from his celebrated collection of photographs, ranging from early to contemporary works. Made by 69 different photographers, this assemblage covers more than 150 years of photography—from an 1843 view of Paris by William Henry Fox Talbot, the English father of photography, to a 2002 Carrie Mae Weems staged portrait. They also complement nearly 350 photographs that have entered MoMA’s collection through Mr. Menschel’s support over the last 40 years. To honor Menschel’s invaluable contributions to the Museum, this fall MoMA will present an exhibition, The Shape of Things, drawing entirely from the more than 500 photographic works acquired through his support, and an accompanying publication.

The newly acquired photographs are focused primarily around the modern period, from late Pictorialism to the 1960s, with a particularly strong presence of three American photographers, who are each represented with 19 or more prints: Alvin Langdon Coburn, Harry Callahan, and Aaron Siskind. Coburn is represented by a series of 22 photogravures of London, made between 1904 and 1910; there are 19 prints by Callahan, including images made in Italy and Peru in 1968 and 1974, which strengthen an important area in in the Museum’s holdings of his work; and there are 21 works by Siskind, many of which were part of his photographic dialogue with painterly abstraction, and especially with Abstract Expressionism.

 

The Museum of Modern Art Acquires 162 Works of Photography from the Collection of Robert B. Menschel


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