The Photograph Study Collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum contains over a half million photographs, negatives and slides documenting American art from colonial to contemporary times. As a research and study collection, it constitutes a unique visual record of American art, sometimes providing the only known image of an artwork that has since been altered, damaged or lost.
Notable collections include:
Peter A. Juley & Son Collection
The Peter A. Juley & Son Collection contains 127,000 black-and-white photographic negatives documenting the work of more than 11,000 American artists. Peter A. Juley (1862-1937) and his son Paul P. Juley (1890-1975) headed the largest and most respected fine arts photography firm in New York from 1906 to 1975. Their clients included major artists, galleries, museums, and private collectors of the period. The firm also acquired negatives from other noted fine arts photographers, such as A. B. Bogart, Walter Russell, and De Witt Ward. Spanning nearly seventy years, the collection constitutes a unique visual record of American art, sometimes providing the only photographic documentation of altered, damaged, or lost works. The collection also includes 4,700 photographic portraits of artists.
Walter Rosenblum Collection
The Walter Rosenblum Collection contains approximately 7,500 black-and-white 4 x 5” negatives taken by noted New York photographer Walter Rosenblum. Rosenblum, born in 1919, joined the Photo League in the 1930s, and studied under Life Magazine photographers Eliot Elisofon and Paul Strand. He worked as a professional photographer on the staff of the Agricultural Adjustment Administration, and during World War II served as a highly decorated combat photographer. After the war he served as president of the Photo League from 1941 to 1948 and later served on the faculty of Brooklyn College, where he was instrumental in developing a Master of Fine Arts program in photography. While pursuing his career as a photographer and teacher, Rosenblum supplemented his income by doing freelance work for major art galleries, collectors and artists in the New York City area between 1945 and 1962.
American Sculpture Photograph Study Collection
The American Sculpture Photograph Study Collection contains 2,600 photographic prints of American sculpture from the 1890s to 1940. The photographs were originally assembled by the Metropolitan Museum of Art for study purposes from various fine arts photographers and publishers. This specialized resource provides in-depth visual documentation of the work of late nineteenth and early twentieth-century sculptors, including Robert Aitken, Daniel Chester French, Anna Hyatt Huntington, Evelyn Beatrice Longman, Paul Manship, and Augustus Saint-Gaudens.
Library of Congress Copyright Deposit Collection
The collection contains 2,335 of photomechanical reproductions documenting the works of approximately 500 American artists, from the 1890s to the 1940s.The images were originally deposited with the Library of Congress as part of the copyright registration process for art works. Received in 1987, the collection documents drawings, graphic prints, paintings, and other works of art by late 19th century and early 20th century American artists. Included in the collection are works by such notable artists as: Edwin Austin Abbey, Washington Allston, Cecilia Beaux, George Bellows, Thomas Hart Benton, Mary Cassatt, William Merritt Chase, Thomas Cole, John Singleton Copley, John Steuart Curry, Thomas Eakins, Childe Hassam, Robert Henri, Winslow Homer, Edward Hopper, Yasuo Kunisyoshi, Maxfield Parrish, Frederic Remington, John Singer Sargent, John Trumbull, Benjamin West, James A. McNeil Whistler, and Grant Wood. Studios and publishers represented include Braun, Clement & Cie; Detroit Publishing Co.; and Evans & Cameron.
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