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PUBLISHER
The Museum of Modern Art, New York

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Clth, 9.5 x 12 in. / 400 pgs / 473 color.

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Catalog: FALL 2014 p. 11   

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ISBN 9780870709418 TRADE
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New York
The Museum of Modern Art, 11/18/14-04/26/15

MoMA's outstanding examples of European avant-garde photography of the 20s and 30s from the Walther collection

  

THE MUSEUM OF MODERN ART, NEW YORK

Object:Photo. Modern Photographs: The Thomas Walther Collection 1909-1949

Edited with text by Mitra Abbaspour, Lee Ann Daffner, Maria Morris Hambourg. Text by Quentin Bajac, Jim Coddington, Constance McCabe, Matthew Witkovsky, et al.

"Adiantum pedatum" (1898) by Karl Blossfeldt is reproduced from <I>Object:Photo. Modern Photographs 1909-1949</I>.
OBJECT:PHOTO contains brilliant photographs from the first half of the twentieth century--the most dynamic and radical period in the development of modern photography--but it explores them using a new approach: instead of privileging the content of the images, it shifts the dialogue to the photographic object--the actual, physical thing created by a particular artist using particular techniques at a precise time, surviving into the present with a unique history. This perspective provides new insight into the singular nature of each work and the density of references that each contains while also acknowledging the cultural importance of photography from the interwar period--as well as the rarity of its best examples. Recognition of this importance informed The Museum of Modern Art’s acquisition, in 2001, of the 341 modernist photographs that now constitute the Thomas Walther Collection, each presented in this volume in special 5 color reproductions and accompanied by an unprecedented degree of detailed information, constituting new standards for the field. OBJECT:PHOTO represents the culmination of four years of research by the Museum’s Departments of Photography and Conservation and by more than two dozen visiting scholars, demonstrating in its varied voices their remarkable collaborations with the works and with each other. Essays by historians, curators and conservators consider such topics as the political and cultural pressures shaping the formation of the photographic avant-garde in Europe, the reception of modernist photography at the time and in subsequent revivals of interest in it, the intellectual backgrounds that were then generating new histories of photography, the standards and rationale for material analysis of photographs and the physical qualities of the photographs in the Walther collection as evidence of the development of photographic materials during the period. Thematic object-based case studies demonstrate new multidimensional approaches to the photograph as a cultural and artistic object in its own right.

Mitra Abbaspour is an art historian and curator, formerly Associate Curator in the Department of Photography at the Museum of Modern Art.

Lee Ann Daffner is Conservator of Photographs at The Museum of Modern Art.

Maria Morris Hambourg is the founding curator of the Department of Photographs at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Quentin Bajac is The Joel and Anne Ehrenkranz Chief Curator of Photography at The Museum of Modern Art.

Jim Coddington has served as The Agnes Gund Chief Conservator at The Museum of Modern Art since 2002.

Constance McCabe is Head of the Photograph Conservation Department at The National Gallery of Art.

Matthew S. Witovsky is the Richard and Ellen Sandor Chair and Curator, Department of Photography, at The Art Institute of Chicago.

"Adiantum pedatum" (1898) by Karl Blossfeldt is reproduced from Object:Photo. Modern Photographs 1909-1949.

PRAISE AND REVIEWS

American Photo

Stauffer Tema

Departing from the conventions of pictorialism, these photographs emphasized sharp focus, straightforward documentation of modern life, and attention to formal qualities through the recognition of the camera as a machanical and techonological tool.

These pieces became a focus of a collaboration obetween a group of international photography scholars and MoMA's departments of Photography and Conservation, and four years later their work has culminated in an expansive exhibition presented in the Edward Steichen Photography Galleries. It's accompanied by a hardcover publication, Object Photo: 1909-1949.

American Photo

The Editors

In photography, modern work is a moving target. During the first half of the 20th century, photogra?phers experimented with radical new approaches to representation and abstraction to shape modern?ist imagery. Departing from the conventions of pictorialism, these photographs emphasized sharp focus, straightforward documenta?tion of modern life, and attention to formal qualities through the recognition of the camera as a mechanical and technological tool. In 2001 MoMA acquired more than 300 photographs of this era from the prolific photography collector Thomas Walther, who was born in Berlin and is based in New York City. These pieces became the focus of a collaboration between a group of international photography scholars and MoMA’s departments of Photography and Conservation, and four years later their work has culminated in an expansive exhibition presented in the Edward Steichen Photog?raphy Galleries. It’s accompanied by a hardcover publication, Object Photo: 1909–1949.

Object:Photo. Modern Photographs: The Thomas Walther Collection 1909-1949

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FROM THE BOOK

Photographers in The Thomas Walther Collection 1909-1949

Berenice Abbott, American, 1898–1991

Manuel Alvarez Bravo, Mexican, 1902–2002

Gertrud Arndt, German, 1903–2000

Aurel Bauh, French, born Romania. 1900–1964

Herbert Bayer, American, born Austria. 1900–1985

Irene Bayer‑Hecht, American, 1898–1991

Lotte (Charlotte) Beese, German, 1903–1988

Aenne Biermann, German, 1898–1933

Blanc et Demilly, French, active 1924–1962

Georges Blanc, French

Karl Blossfeldt, German, 1865–1932

Jacques‑André Boiffard, French, 1902–1961

Margaret Bourke‑White, American, 1904–1971

Anton Giulio Bragaglia, Italian, 1890–1960

Constantin Brancusi, French, born Romania. 1876–1957

Bill Brandt, British, born Germany. 1904–1983

Marianne Breslauer, German, 1909–2001

Anne W. Brigman, American, born Hawaii. 1869–1950

Gertrude LeRoy Brown, American, c. 1870–1934

Anton Bruehl, American, born Australia. 1900–1982

Francis Bruguičre, American, 1879–1945

Clarence Sinclair Bull, American, 1896–1979

Max Burchartz, German, 1887–1961

Claude Cahun (Lucy Schwob), French, 1894–1954 [with Marcel Moore (Suzanne Malherbe), French, 1892–1972]

Henri Cartier‑Bresson, French, 1908–2004

Paul Citroen, Dutch, born Germany. 1896–1983

Alvin Langdon Coburn, American, 1882–1966

Edmund Collein, German, 1906–1992

Erich Comeriner, German, born Austria. 1907–1978

Marjorie Content, American, 1895–1984

Horacio Coppola, Argentine, 1906–2012

Ralston Crawford, American, born Canada. 1906–1978

Robert Demachy, French, 1859–1936

César Domela‑Nieuwenhuis, Dutch, 1900–1992

Walker Evans, American, 1903–1975

Lore Feininger, German,1901–1991

Lyonel Feininger, American, 1871–1956

Hans Finsler, Swiss, 1891–1972

Semyon Fridlyand, Russian, 1905–1964

Jaromír Funke, Czech, 1896–1945

Karl Grill, Austrian, 1889–1966

John Gutmann, American, born Germany. 1905–1998

Hablik‑Lindemann Workshop, German

Alexander Hackenschmied, Czech, 1907–2004

Johan Hagemeyer, American, born Holland. 1884–1962

Paul Edmund Hahn, German, 1897–1960

Jaroslava Hatláková, Czech, 1904–1989

Raoul Hausmann, Austrian, 1886–1971

John P. Heins, American, 1896–1969

Florence Henri, American, 1893–1982

J. Jay Hirz, American

Irene Hoffmann, German, 1903–1971

Bernard Shea Horne, American, 1867–1933

George Hoyningen‑Huene, American, born Russia. 1900–1968

Lotte Jacobi, American, born Germany. 1896–1990

Peter A. Juley, American, born Germany. 1862–1937

Roman Karmen, Russian, 1906–1978

György Kepes, American, born Hungary. 1906–2001

István Kerny, Hungarian, 1879–1963

André Kertész, American, born Hungary. 1894–1985

Edmund Kesting, German, 1892–1970

Imre Kinszki, Hungarian, 1901–1945

Gustav Klutsis, Latvian, 1895–1938

Fred Korth, American, born Germany. 1902–1983

August Kreyenkamp, German, 1875–1950

Germaine Krull, French, 1897–1985

Harry Lachman, American, 1886–1975

Walter R. Latimer Sr., American, 1880–1924

Jirí Lehovec, Czech, 1909–1995

Helmar Lerski, Swiss, 1871–1956

Otto Lindig, German, 1895–1966

El Lissitzky, Russian, 1890–1941

Herbert List, German, 1903–1972

Heinz Loew, German, 1903–1981

Eli Lotar, French, 1905–1969

George Platt Lynes, American, 1907–1955

Felix H. Man, British, born Germany. 1893–1985

Man Ray, American, 1890–1976

Werner Mantz, German, 1901–1983

Hannes Meyer, Swiss, 1889–1954

Lee Miller, American, 1907–1977

Lisette Model, American, born Austria. 1901–1983

Tina Modotti, Italian, 1896–1942

Lucia Moholy, British, 1894–1989

László Moholy‑Nagy, American, born Hungary. 1895–1946

Jean Moral, French, 1906–1999

Georg Muche, German, 1895–1987

Martin Munkácsi, American, born Hungary. 1896–1963

Adolf Navara, Czech, 1926–1982

Oskar Nerlinger, German, 1893–1969

Johan Niegeman, German, 1902–1977

Jean Painlevé, French, 1902–1989

Gyula Pap, Hungarian, 1899–1983

Paul Parker, American

Roger Parry, French, 1905–1977

József Pécsi, Hungarian, 1889–1956

Max Penson, Russian, 1893–1959

Walter A. Peterhans, American, born Germany. 1897–1960

Robert Petschow, German, 1888–1945

Edward W. Quigley, American, 1898–1977

Albert Renger‑Patzsch, German, 1897–1966

Hans Richter, American, born Germany. 1888–1976

Leni Riefenstahl, German, 1902–2003

Frieda Gertrud Riess, German, 1890–1957

Aleksandr Rodchenko, Russian, 1891–1956

Franz Roh, German, 1890–1965

Werner Rohde, German, 1906–1990

Hajo Rose, German, 1910–1989

Jaroslav Rössler, Czech, 1902–1990

Theodore Roszak, American, born Poland. 1907–1981

Albert Rudomine, French, born Ukraine. 1892–1975

Willi Ruge, German, 1882–1961

Erich Salomon, German, 1886–1944

August Sander, German, 1876–1964

George H. Seeley, American, 1880–1955

Friedrich Seidenstücker, German, 1882–1966

Peter Sekaer, American, born Denmark. 1901–1950

Charles Sheeler, American, 1883–1965

Osamu Shiihara, Japanese, 1905–1974

Arthur Siegel, American, 1913–1978

Edward Steichen, American, born Luxembourg. 1879–1973

Kate Steinitz, American, born Germany. 1889–1975

Alfred Stieglitz, American, 1864–1946

Cami Stone, Belgian, 1892–1975

Sasha Stone, Russian, 1895–1940

Paul Strand, American, 1890–1976

Jindřich Štyrský, Czech, 1899–1942

Maurice Tabard, French, 1897–1984

Franciszka Themerson, British, born Poland. 1907–1988

Stefan Themerson, British, born Poland. 1910–1988

Raoul Ubac, Belgian, 1911–1985

Umbo (Otto Umbehr), German, 1902–1980

Carl Van Vechten, American, 1880–1964

Luigi Veronesi, Italian, 1908–1998

Dziga Vertov, Russian, 1895–1954

Frantisek Vobecký, Czech, 1902–1991

Andreas Walser, Swiss, 1908–1930

Weegee (Arthur Fellig), American, born Austria. 1899–1968

Edward Weston, American, 1886–1958

Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz, Polish, 1885–1939

Wanda Wulz, Italian, 1903–1984

Iwao Yamawaki, Japanese, 1898–1987

Yva (Elsa Simon), German, 1900–1942

Willy Zielke, German, 1902–1989

Georgii Zimin, Russian, 1900–1985

FROM THE ARTBOOK BLOG

CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 1/1/2015

Material Forms in Nature: Object:Photo

Material Forms in Nature: Object:Photo

"What today has come to be regarded as among the finest bodies of work in early-twentieth-century photography began as a teaching experiment," Hanako Murata writes in Object:Photo, MoMA's astonishing new collection of Modern photographs from the Thomas Walther Collection. "Karl Blossfeldt, a new lecturer at the institute of the royal arts and crafts museum Berlin, was looking for a way to showcase examples of the forms and patterns he discovered in the natural world that he believed should inspire his students' own work. An excellent sculptor, he first created a large, finely modeled dragonfly's wing, but this was dismissed as trivial by the school's director. Blossfeldt came up with an idea of making greatly enlarged photographs of the insect instead. 'This enlargement then proved to be most useful to me in my studies, and thus I hit upon the use of enlarged photographs of small plant forms to assist as yet unskilled students in their work,' Blossfeldt recalled in 1929. 'It is due to this incident and this photograph that I am now publishing my plant photographs thirty years later.'" Blossfeldt's "Acanthus mollis" (1898–1928) is reproduced from Object:Photo. continue to blog


FROM THE ARTBOOK BLOG

CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 12/31/2014

A Cause for Celebration: Object:Photo

A Cause for Celebration: Object:Photo

In her essay on the emergence and rediscovery of European avant-garde photography in The Museum of Modern Art's essential Object:Photo, presenting Modern photographs from the Thomas Walther Collection (1909-1949), Maria Morris Hambourg writes that the collection "represents not just one man's passionate attempt to recuperate what was lost but a group effort that combined the insights of many collectors, scholars, dealers and experts. While lacunae will always persist, thrilling new discoveries continue to be made, filling in pieces of the mosaic. No soothsayer imagined that an "Anderson collection" existed, that it would surface in 1995, or that it would be correctly identified as a major part of the assemblage of Kurt Kirchbach, the most important privet collector in prewar Germany. Or take the case of El Lissitsky, who died in 1941 in Stalin's Russia and whose revolutionary work in photography had been of very brief duration. As rare as paintings by Vermeer, Lissitzky's original photographs are as coveted by those in this field. Certainly Priska Pasquer in her Cologne gallery never dreamed that a dozen of them, languishing for decades behind the Iron Curtain at an East German publishing house, would miraculously drop into her lap like Danae's shower of gold one fine day in 1966. These and countless other small and large miracles of survival and recovery are salvaging the memory of the European photographic avant-garde. However incomplete, our picture of the past continues to coalesce, and in view of the photographs in this collection and the research inspired by them, the process of rewriting the history is ongoing and vigorous—a cause for gratitude and, certainly, for celebration." El Lissitzky's 1926 "Runner in the City (Experiment for a Fresco for a Sports-Club)" is reproduced from Object:Photo. continue to blog


FROM THE ARTBOOK BLOG

CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 12/30/2014

Object:Photo

Object:Photo

In his Foreword to The Museum of Modern Art's monumental Object:Photo, presenting Modern photographs from the Thomas Walther Collection (1909-1949), MoMA Director Glenn D. Lowry writes, "This book showcases one of the most important acquisitions in the Museum's history, a collection of rare photographs made between the two world wars. The significance of the Walther collection lies not only in the exceptional quality of the photographs but also in their importance: these images lie at the foundation of today's photo-based world, a world of small-camera and journalistic omnipresence, dynamic and flexible graphics, and the dominance of photographic codes and representations of information. For the collection includes outstanding examples of European avant-garde photography of the 20s and 30s, work synonymous with artistic freedom—freedom from the conventions of painting and laborious stand-camera practice, freedom to flip, inert, and recombine images, freedom to concoct new processing and printing techniques and to photograph anything from any point of view. The resulting expansion of the expressive potential of photography was so vast that the aggregate of these explorations was termed the New Vision, and was paralleled by as great an expansion of the medium's reach: through illustrated magazines and newspapers, newsreels and cinema, and several pivotal books, these photographs became ubiquitous vehicles of culture, of information and entertainment, indeed of modernity itself. We today are the direct inheritors of that moment and accomplishment." Featured image, "Anna Oderfeld, Zakopane" (1911-12), is by Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz. continue to blog


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