Photo of the Week: National Parks in Postcards

With all the attention on national parks this week, I thought it would be interesting to show some images of the national parks from the Carter's collection. And because the national parks are such a big draw not just for fine art photographers, but tourists as well, this week's photographs are all vintage postcards.

Frank Jay Haynes, Daisy Geyser, Yellowstone National Park, tricolor halftone, ca. 1910s

Asahel Curtis, "See Washington First." The Switzerland of America, Crossing a Glacier, Mount Rainier. , tricolor halftone with applied color, 1913

Brown & Bigelow, Iceberg Lake, Glacier National Park, Montana, tricolor halftone, ca. 1915

Fred Harvey Corporation, The Lookout, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, photolithograph, ca. 1920

Photo of the Week: Now On View

National Museum Day is this Saturday, September 26. We're celebrating here at the Carter by participating in the 3rd annual Day in the District. Seven institutions in the Fort Worth Cultural District - the Carter, Kimbell, Modern, Cowgirl, Community Arts Center, Log Cabin Village, and Botanic Garden - will be open all day Saturday with free admission and special programs (of course, admission to the Carter is ALWAYS free!).

This Photo of the Week features works that are currently on display in our exhibitions <a href=">Circle of Friends: Portraits of Artists and Masterworks of American Photography: Moments in Time. If you come out for Day in the District, be sure to make your way to the photography galleries to see these works in person.

Margaret Watkins, Self-portrait, gaslight chloride print, 1919, © Mr. Joseph Mulholland

Watkins was a student of pictorialist photographer Clarence H. White, along with other notables like Margaret Bourke-White, Paul Outerbridge, Max Weber, Dorothea Lange, and Laura Gilpin.

Karl Struss, Bebe Daniels, gelatin silver print, 1919, © 1983 Amon Carter Museum

Part of the permanent photography collection, the Carter's Karl Struss archive includes over 1500 photographs taken on the sets of silent movies by this photographer and Academy-award winning cinematographer. <a href=">Bebe Daniels, originally from Dallas, was an extremely prolific actress who appeared in over 230 movies throughout her long career.

Joel Sternfeld, March 4, 2007, The East Meadows, Northampton, Massachusetts, dye coupler print, 2007, © 2007 Joel Sternfeld, Purchase with the assistance of the Stieglitz Circle of the Amon Carter Museum

This is an important new addition to the Carter's photography collection that has only been here a few months. It depicts a particular field in Massachusetts painted in the 19th century by Hudson River School painter Thomas Cole. If you look at the photo very closely - as in, standing right in front of it - you can see the building where Cole painted this landscape over 170 years ago.

Evening for Educators in the Cultural District

Educators are always welcome at the Carter, but Thursday night will provide a unique oppotunity. It's the annual Evening for Educators in the Cultural District. All of the museums will be free of charge to educators, and their respective education staff will be available to talk about programs and resources available for teachers and students for the coming school year. Bring your teacher friends and spend an evening with us!

Wallace Stegner on KERA tonight

American writer and historian <a href=">Wallace Stegner will be the subject of a documentary airing tonight on our local PBS station. So what has that got to do with the Carter? Stegner's writings are the inspiration behind our current exhibition of works drawn from the permanent collection, Views and Visions: Prints of the American West.

Wallace Stegner: A Profile of the Author (1909-1993) airs tonight at 9pm on KERA, channel 13.

The Reading Room

My office window opens to the the library reading room here at the museum, a space that many would agree is one of the stellar places to be in the museum. My understanding is that Philip Johnson, when designing the museum's expansion which opened in 2001, took special interest in getting this room just right. I think he succeeded. The room is paneled in book-matched Burmese teak, meaning that each veneer panel is a mirror of itself, essentially resulting in walls that are covered with the opened pages of books. The space offers soft, enveloping lighting from its arched ceiling with a complement of accent lighting at its edges. It is expansive without being overwhelming. It offers a quite and reflective environment for sustained contemplation. It is a room that is, in short, inspirational, as any effective reading room should be.

Today I pay tribute to this wonderful space by sharing these pictures taken this afternoon. I hope you'll come by and enjoy the space in person.




Carter's O'Keeffe Now at the Whitney

The Carter's earliest oil painting by Georgia O'Keeffe, Series I--No. I has traveled to the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York for the exhibition, Georgia O'Keeffe: Abstraction. You can see the Carter's painting on the Whitney's website and reproduced on the cover of the exhibition catalog.

Series I--No. I will be at the Whitney until January 2010, when the exhibition travels to the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C. and then on to the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe. New York Times review of the Whitney leg of the tour (with slide show) here.

Photo of the Week: Museums, Part I

Like everyone else, professional photographers like to take pictures in museums. Whatever your feelings on the matter, it can make for some interesting photographs. Since I found quite a few in the Carter's collection, this is going to be a two-part Photo of the Week with images spanning the 20th century.

This week: museums from 1900-1950

Karl Struss, [Albright Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York, gallery interior showing "International Exhibition of Pictorial Photography"], 1910, platinum print, ©1983 Amon Carter Museum

For comparison, check out a recent installation shot at what is now called the Albright-Knox Art Gallery.

Dorothy Norman, Exterior MOMA--Stieglitz Exhibit, 1947, gelatin silver print, ©1998 Center for Creative Photography, The University of Arizona Foundation.

Posthumous Stieglitz photography retrospective at MOMA.

Elliott Erwitt, Diana/New York, 1949, gelatin silver print, © 1949 Elliott Erwitt

Erwitt is known for his visual wit - notice how Diana seems to aim her arrow at the guard in the next gallery. You can see some different views of this sculpture here or come see the Carter's own Diana on view in the main gallery!

Stay tuned next week for more recent museum interiors, including some very familiar faces.

"Views & Visions" Installation

The Carter's newest exhibition, Views and Visions: Prints of the American West, 1820–1970 opens this coming Saturday and features over 100 prints and book illustrations from the permanent collection.

Shows drawn from the permanent collection generally require more behind-the-scenes work from Carter staff; unlike traveling exhibitions where the artworks often arrive framed and ready for installation, works from the Carter's collection must be matted, framed, labeled, and so on. It's a complicated process that takes months - and most museum staff in some capacity - to do properly.

Speaking of which, here is a peek behind the scenes of the Carter staff getting ready for the big Views and Visions opening later this week.

Preparators Greg, Steve, and Les getting ready to install the last artworks in the show

An action shot of preparators Steve and Les working very quickly to attach backings and hangers to the last two prints.

Photo of the Week: Music to My Ears

Jazz By the Boulevard kicks off tonight right next door to the Carter, so this installment of Photo of the Week draws images of artist-musicians from the Laura Gilpin archive in the Carter's photography collection.

Laura Gilpin, The Prelude, New York (Edith Rubel Trio), platinum print, 1917; © 1979 Amon Carter Museum

Gilpin's close friend, sculptor Brenda Putnam (1890-1975), is seated at the piano.

Laura Gilpin, Randall Davey, gelatin silver print, 1947; Bequest of the artist, © 1979 Amon Carter Museum.

Randall Davey (1887-1964) was an American painter who exhibited in the pivotal 1913 Armory Show. A student of Robert Henri and friends with John Sloan, he was also a self-taught cellist. Davey relocated to Santa Fe, where Gilpin took this portrait in 1947.

Photo of the Week: Fact vs. Fiction

Have you noticed the recent articles in the New York Times about staged photographs, specifically the veracity of Robert Capa's famous Falling Soldier photo? As this NYT blog post and anyone who deals with historical photographs can tell you, photographers 'enhancing' their subject matter is nothing new.
The Carter has several 19th century photographs where the action is most certainly staged:

Alexander Gardner, Home of a Rebel Sharpshooter, Gettysburg, albumen silver print, 1863
This is the same photograph described in the second NYT link. Gardner made the mistake of taking two photographs of the same soldier in different locations.

William Notman, Asleep at the Cabana, albumen silver print, ca. 1865
This 'outdoor' scene was set up inside the photographer’s studio!
Edited to add: This photo is on view in the Carter's photography galleries until January 2010 as part of the exhibition Masterworks of American Photography: Moments in Time.

Unknown artist, [Soldiers in staged fight], ambrotype with applied color, ca. 1863
This medium’s slow exposure speed tells us this fight is staged – "action" shots were impossible with the technology of the time.