Issue #177  12/11/2010
Philadelphia Museum of Art Buys Strand Collection Through Aperture

The Philadelphia Museum of Art has acquired, through several gifts and a purchase agreement with the Aperture Foundation, the core collection of photographs by Paul Strand, one of the preeminent photographers of the Twentieth Century. Through the generosity of philanthropists Lynne and Harold Honickman, Marjorie and Jeffrey Honickman, and H.F. "Gerry" and Marguerite Lenfest, the museum has received as partial and promised gifts 1,422 images from the Paul Strand Archive at the Aperture Foundation, as well as 566 master prints from Strand's negatives by the artist Richard Benson.

The museum has also entered into an agreement with the Aperture Foundation to purchase an additional 1,276 photographs. As a whole, this acquisition comprises more than 3,000 prints and lantern slides, including the finest examples of every image in the archive. Together with other photographs by Strand already owned by the museum, this acquisition makes the Philadelphia Museum of Art the world's most important repository for the study of his work.

All of the photographs and lantern slides are now housed at the Philadelphia Museum of Art where they are being studied in preparation for a major retrospective devoted to the artist that is scheduled for 2014.

The portion of the Paul Strand Archive that the museum has made a commitment to purchase from the Aperture Foundation includes many remarkable photographs. Among them are two of Strand's rare gum bichromate prints, which date to the earliest years of his career.

Also included are masterpiece platinum and silver portraits of his first wife, Rebecca Salsbury, and several other key portraits of his circle in the 1910s and 1920s, including his father Jacob, painter John Marin and fellow photographer Kurt Baasch; unique prints, such as a 1922 image of Constantin Brancusi's sculpture "Mlle. Pogany" and a solarized portrait of the architect Henry Churchill, 1922; major examples of his nature and machine abstractions, including the unique "Rock, Georgetown, Maine," 1927, and a rare pair of vintage platinum and silver prints of "Fern, New England," 1928; and superb prints from his early sojourns to the Gaspé Peninsula, the Southwest and Mexico.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway at 26th Street. For information on the museum, call 1-215-763-8100 or go to http://www.philamuseum.org .