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Architectural Photography from the Collection, 1850–2000 traces the representation of architecture over a period of 150 years, presenting significant examples of photographic prints and illustrated books by European and American artists. Drawn primarily from the Museum’s permanent collection, the works on display in the exhibition create journeys through expanses of both geography and history, from the surviving abbeys of medieval Europe to the skyscrapers of modern America.

This exhibition explores the many reasons why photographers were attracted to architectural subjects. Some worked on commission and utilized their mastery of specialized equipment to communicate complex architectural design through sensitivity to perspective and lighting. Others responded to the shapes, tones, and textures of buildings to create their own artistic expressions in the particular visual language of the photograph.

Included in the exhibition are recent gifts of work by such noted photographers as Francis Frith, Maxime Du Camp, Julius Shulman, and Berenice Abbott. A particular highlight is a rare and compelling work by the team of Leavitt Hunt and Nathan Baker, the first Americans to photograph ancient ruins in Egypt.

Architectural Photography from the Collection, 1850–2000 is curated by Eric Lutz, associate curator for prints, drawings, and photographs.


On-Demand Virtual Program

This recorded program was originally presented via Zoom on August 12, 2021.

This presentation by Eric Lutz, associate curator of prints, drawings, and photographs, took an in-depth look at select pieces in the exhibition Architectural Photography from the Collection, 1850–2000. It considered the various ways in which artists such as Walker Evans have responded to the built environment through the photographic medium.