Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas


Daguerreotype to Digital: Photographs from the Collection
  • Daguerreotype to Digital: Photographs from the Collection
  • 22-Jan-2005 - 31-Jul-2005
  • North Balcony and Study Gallery, Spencer Museum of Art, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas

This exhibition surveys the history of photography from the 1840s to the present, featuring more than 50 highlights from the Spencer's collection of 4000 photographs. The exhibition is a resource for the spring semester history of photography survey class taught by Pultz, who is also associate professor of art history at KU, and allows students to see directly, and not through reproduction, representative samples of important photographs from throughout the medium's history. During the semester, students will come in small groups to the gallery several times with Pultz to examine closely and discuss the original works of art and afterwards write short papers on the visits. The exhibition includes many photographs that the Spencer has acquired since Pultz came to KU in 1993, as well as long-time favorites of the collection. Included are examples of early photographic techniques from the 1840s and 1850s, including daguerreotype, tintype, and ambrotype portraits, as well as a calotype print of a French church from around 1855, made from a paper negative. Other nineteenth-century photographs, by Matthew Brady, Timothy H. O'Sullivan, Eadweard Muybridge, and Carleton Watkins, document the American Civil War and the expansion into the American West that followed. Highlights from the twentieth-century include works by Man Ray, August Sander, Charles Sheeler, Edward Steichen, Paul Strand, Walker Evans, André Kertész, Bill Brandt, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Edward Weston, Margaret Bourke-White, Irving Penn, and Diane Arbus.

"This exhibition demonstrates the incredible quality and breadth of the Spencer's photography collection," says Pultz. "It also helps us to identify the gaps in the collection and see where we should be adding to it."

Daguerreotype to Digital: Photographs from the Collection is organized by John Pultz, curator of photography, assisted by Brett Knappe, the 2004-05 graduate intern in photography, who is pursuing a PhD in art history at KU with a specialization in the history of photography.