Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas


Photography Between the Wars: A Survey of American and European Photography 1920-1940
  • Photography Between the Wars: A Survey of American and European Photography 1920-1940
  • 04-Mar-2006 - 30-Jul-2006
  • North Balcony, Spencer Museum of Art, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas

The Spencer currently holds in its permanent collection 520 photographs dated between 1920 and 1940. Photography Between the Wars traces this vital two-decade span, which witnessed the birth of the photo-magazine, the popularization of documentary photography, and the utilization of the camera for scientific investigation.

The exhibition was organized by Brett Knappe of the department of photography in conjunction with a class he is teaching this spring. Knappe notes that in the history of photography, the interwar period presents the contemporary viewer with a provocative era in which photographers explored a multitude of approaches to the medium. Simultaneously, aesthetically minded photographers were creating artistic photographs that re-envisioned many of the traditional genres of art, including landscapes, still-lifes, portraits, and nudes, while other photographers, steeped in political or social doctrines, revealed new ways of seeing the world with the camera. This multiplicity of diverse directions greatly expanded the photographic medium and ushered in an era in which photography became a ubiquitous part of modern life.

Among the photographers whose work is represented in this exhibition are: James Edward Abbe, Ansel Adams, Manuel Alvarez Bravo, Margaret Bourke-White, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Walker Evans, Man Ray, Barbara Morgan, Alexander Rodchenko, August Sander, Aaron Siskind, Edward Steichen, Weegee and Edward Weston.