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Photography from the Twentieth Century: The Art Museum Collection, Part I

Jan. 28 – May 5, 2012

As an artistic medium, photography is still relatively young compared to the long history of painting, drawing, and printmaking.  Photography from the Twentieth Century: the Art Museum Collection examines the creative vision of the photographer as artist and photography’s place in the development of an American genre.  Separated into two exhibitions, Part I in 2012 focuses on pictorial and portrait traditions – the basis for the development of early photography.  The Pictorialism movement subscribed to the idea that photography could claim the same artistic expression as paintings or other accepted fine arts, and is often comparable to an impressionistic-type style.  Although Pictorialism reached its height in the early 20th century, artists today continue to explore and revisit the tradition.  Portraiture in photography has been popular since the invention of the camera and was viewed as more affordable and accessible than portrait painting.  However, as photography techniques developed, portraits were taken from formal studios to settings across the world, giving artists more creative freedom and leading to the development of new styles of portraiture. Part II, on exhibit in Spring 2013, will draw upon these traditions and focus on the innovations of the development of photography as an art form and the contemporary photographers’ dialogue on the study of place. 

  • Funded in part by the National Advisory Board of the UW Art Museum



Left: Jay Jaffee (American, 1921-1999), Untitled (Looking Up a Tower), not dated, gelatin silver print, 12-1/16 x 7-13/16 inches, Gift of Dr. James A. Dewberry, Jr., University of Wyoming Art Museum Collection, 1983.66.4

Top right: Shelby Lee Adams (American, b. 1950), Leddie & Children, 1990, gelatin silver print, 14-3/4 x 18-3/4 inches, University of Wyoming Art Museum Collection, 1991.20.2

Bottom right: Laura Gilpin (American, 1891-1979), Summer Shelter, Cove Area, 1934, gelatin silver print, 15-3/8 x 19-3/16 inches, Friends of the UW Art Museum Purchase, University of Wyoming Art Museum Collection, 1979.31

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