press release

A rotating selection of pivotal, iconic works from The Metropolitan Museum of Art's recent landmark acquisition of the Gilman Paper Company Collection are on view this summer in The Howard Gilman Gallery and, in three installments through April 2006, in the Robert Wood Johnson, Jr. Gallery.

In the Gilman Gallery: June 28–September 6, 2005

Thirty-five nineteenth-century French masterworks by Gustave Le Gray, Nadar, and Charles Marville, among others, are on view in the Gilman Gallery. The earliest works reveal the remarkable beauty and technical mastery that French photographers—many of them trained as painters—achieved a mere decade after the invention of the medium. Landscapes suffused with deep swathes of evocative shadow, psychologically revealing portraits, elegantly seductive studies of the nude, and Romantic representations of France's ancient and medieval past demonstrate early photography's links to the painting and print traditions, as well as the ways in which the unique character and capacity of photography set its productions apart from all art that had come before. Together these works trace the rapid development of photography from the humble and intimate creations of gentlemen amateurs to ambitious artistic expressions of Second Empire grandeur.

Among the Gilman Gallery installation highlights are Gustave Le Gray's light-dappled Forest of Fontainebleau (ca. 1856) and dramatic seascape Mediterranean Sea at Sète (1856–59); Nadar's lively portrait of Alexandre Dumas (1802–1870); photographs by Edouard Baldus, including his proto-Impressionist Group at the Chateau de la Faloise of 1857; views of medieval architecture by Le Gray and Henri Le Secq, including the latter's Wooden Staircase at Chartres (1852); and a suite of photographs made in Egypt by Félix Teynard, John Beasley Greene, Maxime Du Camp, and Ernst Benecke.

The exhibition concludes with a selection of works demonstrating photography's broad reach by the end of the nineteenth-century, encompassing an astronomer's record of the stars, police mug shots, and architects' construction views.

In the Robert Wood Johnson, Jr. Gallery: August 16–December 18, 2005

A new selection of approximately twenty photographs from the Gilman Collection will be on view in the Robert Wood Johnson, Jr. Gallery from August 16 to December 18. The installation will be divided into three parts, each of which is indicative of a particular strength of the collection. The first section will feature nineteenth-century British photographs, including a portrait (ca. 1853) by photographer John Dillwyn Llewelyn of his daughter peering into a microscope. The image is emblematic of early photography's position at the intersection of science and art. The second section will focus on the theme of slavery and abolitionism in nineteenth-century America and will include Slave Pen, Alexandria, Virginia (ca. 1863) by the Union soldier and photographer Andrew Joseph Russell and the moving group portrait Emancipated Slaves (1863) by Myron H. Kimball. The final section will present twentieth-century French photographs such as Henri Cartier-Bresson's Valencia, Spain (1933), which reveals the influence of both Cubism and Surrealism on the legendary street photographer, who died in August 2004.

A further selection of masterpieces from the Gilman Collection will be on view in the Johnson Gallery through mid-April 2006.

About the Gilman Paper Company Collection

Until its acquisition by the Metropolitan in March 2005, the Gilman Paper Company Collection was widely regarded as the world's finest collection of photographs in private hands. With exceptional examples of nineteenth-century French, British, and American photographs, as well as stunning examples from the turn-of-the-century and modernist periods, the Gilman Collection has played a central role in establishing photography's historical canon and has long set the standard for connoisseurship in the field. The Metropolitan acquired the collection through purchase, complemented by a generous gift from The Howard Gilman Foundation. It contains more than 8,500 photographs, dating primarily from the first century of the medium, 1839–1939.

Selected Gilman Works in Other Exhibitions

Selected works from the Gilman Collection are also on view in two current and upcoming special exhibitions: "All the Mighty World: The Photographs of Roger Fenton, 1852–1860," on view in the Robert Lehman Wing until August 21, 2005; and, later this year, "The Perfect Medium: Photography and the Occult" in the Harriette and Noel Levine Gallery and The Howard Gilman Gallery, September 27 through December 31, 2005.

Master Photographs from the Gilman Collection
A Landmark Acquisition

Künstler: Onesipe Aguado, Eugène Atget, Edouard Baldus, John Beasley Greene, Ernst Benecke, August Rosalie Bisson, Anton Giulio Bragaglia, Julia Margaret Cameron, Maxime Du Camp, Lewis Carroll, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Marie Charles Isidore Choiselat, Louis de Clercq, Charles Clifford, John Dillwyn Llewelyn, Walker Evans, Roger Fenton, John H. Fitzgibbon, Gustave Le Gray, Myron H. Kimball, William Marsh, Charles Marville, Félix Nadar, Timothy H. O´Sullivan, Man Ray, Louis-Remy Robert, Andrew Joseph Russell, Henri Le Secq, George Seeley, Charles Sheeler, Edward Steichen, Paul Strand, William Henry Fox Talbot, Felix Teynard, Adrien Tournachon, Carleton Watkins ...