The National Gallery of Art has announced that the Stephen G. Stein Employee Benefit Trust has promised a major gift of 83 exceptional photographs in honor of the 25th anniversary of the museum's photography collection and program. Distinguished by its large holdings of iconic works by major 20th-century photographers such as Edward Weston, Robert Frank, and Diane Arbus, the promised gift also includes seminal pictures by various artists who were active between 1857 and 2005. Highlights include Henri Cartier-Bresson's Alicante, Spain (1933); Robert Frank's Bar—Gallup, New Mexico (1955), Indianapolis (1956), and Parade—Hoboken, New Jersey (1955); André Kertész's Shadows of the Eiffel Tower (before May 1929); William Eggleston's Outskirts of Morton, Mississippi, Halloween (1971) and Tallahatchie County, Mississippi (c. 1972); and Edward Weston's Nautilus Shell (Cross-section) (1927) and Dunes at Oceano (1936). Additionally, to commemorate the anniversary, Stephen G. Stein has donated 25 photographs from Lewis Baltz's important portfolio, San Quentin Point: Selections (1982–1983).
"The Gallery is extremely grateful for the generosity of Stephen G. Stein and the Stephen G. Stein Employee Benefit Trust for the gift and promised gift of key photographs. These donations greatly augment the Gallery's holdings of mid- to late 20th-century American photographs, providing us with rare, vintage prints of important works," said Earl A. Powell III, director, National Gallery of Art. "The Gallery has received many spectacular gifts in honor of the 25th-anniversary celebration. Stein's pledge, the generous pledge from Robert E. Meyerhoff and Rheda Becker of their collection of 30 contemporary photographs in 2013, as well as the exceptional gift of an endowed acquisition fund for photographs from Alfred H. Moses and Fern M. Schad, significantly enrich the Gallery's permanent collection of photographs."
"In a little over a dozen years, Stephen G. Stein has put together a remarkable collection of photographs," said Sarah Greenough, senior curator and head of the department of photographs. "He has carefully sought out pivotal works by some of the medium's preeminent practitioners. This promised gift from the Stephen G. Stein Employee Benefit Trust will double our holdings of both Diane Arbus and Edward Weston photographs and greatly enhance our collection of works by Robert Adams, Richard Avedon, Lewis Baltz, and William Eggleston."
"It is an extraordinary addition to Stein's earlier gifts to the museum of funds to acquire photographs by William Henry Fox Talbot and Captain Linnaeus Tripe and his generous bequest intended to benefit the endowment for photography acquisitions."