The Snite Museum of Art at the University of Notre Dame is home to a noteworthy collection of photographs, perhaps the finest academic collection in the Midwest. Although the 19th century collection is renowned, the 20th century collection is equally significant but lesser known. This exhibition of one hundred carefully selected American and European photographs is the first presentation of this scope at Notre Dame. It will provide a survey of creative photography through the course of the century, an era when such images were known worldwide, providing touchstones of history and culture. Among this survey are iconic works by Alfred Stieglitz and Lewis Wickes Hine at the dawn of the century, as well as photographs by Sally Mann and John Baldessari in is final decades. In the academic setting, the photographs have been chosen to exemplify major developments in visual culture, historical events, and the stylistic and technical evolution of photography. This dynamic century–marked by two world wars, aesthetic and news pictures, and humans on the Moon–is preserved in the collective memory in photographic images.
The installation will unfold in a roughly chronological arrangement over seven galleries. This presentation is meant to guide college students in diverse ways of confronting and understanding works of art. It also provides an introduction to the history of photography. The exhibition will also reveal the scope and caliber of the Museum’s collection to the broader national academic community. For the general public the show will provide a rare opportunity to experience a survey of such breadth and quality.
David Acton, Ph.D., the Milly and Fritz Kaeser Curator of Photographs at the Snite Museum of Art at the University of Notre Dame, and curator of the exhibition, has written a catalog to accompany the exhibition: A History of Photography at the University of Notre Dame, Twentieth Century. It is published by D Giles Limited in association with the Snite Museum of Art, University of Notre Dame.