About the Collection
The birth of a comprehensive photography program at the Smithsonian American Art Museumcomprising acquistion, exhibitions, and publicationsdates to the 1983 transfer of 1,884 works of promising contemporary American photographers from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Through steady purchases and gifts, including the addition of the Isaacs Collectionmade possible through the Luisita L. and Franz H. Denghausen Endowmentthe collection has grown to more than 3,300 images. The museum has concentrations of works by such American masters as Irving Penn, Ansel Adams, Diane Arbus, Aaron Siskind, Helen Levitt, and Harry Callahan, and by artists who belonged to the New York Photo League during the late 1930s and 1940s.
A group of 300 contemporary landscapes by 50 photographers from accross the United States was added in 1987, and featured
in the nationally touring exhibition, Between
Home and Heaven: Contemporary American Landscape Photography. Other
important photography shows mounted by the museum include Irving Penn Master
Images (1990), The Photography of Invention: American Pictures of the
1980s (1989), and Perpetual Motif: The Art of Man Ray (1988).
Back to: Secrets
Online Exhibitions | Helios | American Art Home