Columbia Museum of Art Shows Photographic Masterworks from the George Eastman House Collection

August 12, 2007

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Seeing Ourselves: Masterpieces of American Photography from the George Eastman House Collection opens at the Columbia Museum of Art on September 14, 2007, and runs through January 6, 2008. This major exhibition of 155 masterworks illustrates the significance and power of photography in American life over the last 150 years. Coming from the nation’s oldest and most comprehensive photography collection – the George Eastman House in Rochester, New York – the exhibition represents more than a century of excellence through historical and contemporary photographic masterpieces.

The show is divided into five subjects – each section addressing key photographic works documenting the American cultural experience: American Masterpieces with icons such as The Steerage by Alfred Stieglitz, Nautilus by Edward Weston and Yosemite Valley, Summer by Ansel Adams, among others. American Facesrepresents celebrity and achievement with images of iconic people like Robert F. Kennedy, Babe Ruth, Igor Stravinsky and Robert Mapplethorpe, among others. Photographers who have captured these American faces include Mathew Brady, Richard Avedon, Alfred Stieglitz, Dorothea Lange, Edward Steichen, Mary Ellen Mark and Gordon Parks. America at War starts with Lincoln at the Battle of Antietam and continues to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall. America the Beautiful exemplifies the beauty and power of nature and an expanding America with gorgeous images that include works by Ansel Adams and Marilyn Bridges. American Families includes a variety of examples such as Tenement Penthouse by Weegee, Italian Family, Ellis Island by Lewis Hine and East Harlem by Helen Levitt.

Seeing Ourselves is part of the National Endowment for the Art’s American Masterpieces: Three Centuries of Artistic Genius initiative – a multi-year grant program designed to connect Americans, especially school children, with the best of their artistic patrimony. The Columbia presentation is sponsored by Fujifilm with additional support by Richland County; Vein Specialists of the South, LLC; South Carolina Parks, Recreation & Tourism; Alice Kasakoff and John Adams; Sonoco; Susan Thorpe and John Baynes; and Jenny and Jamie Walker.

About George Eastman House: George Eastman House is the world’s oldest photography museum, founded in 1947 on the estate of Kodak founder George Eastman, the father of popular photography. The museum has unparalleled collections of 400,000 photographs from 14,000 photographers dating from the beginnings of the medium; 16,000 items of camera technology; 26,000 motion picture titles and 5 million publicity stills and posters; and one of the world’s most comprehensive library of photographic books, manuscripts and journals. In modern archives adjacent to the National Historic Landmark home, the museum offers world-leading graduate and post-graduate programs in photograph and film preservation and conservation.

About the National Endowment for the Arts: The National Endowment for the Arts is a public agency dedicated to supporting excellence in the arts and bringing the arts to all Americans. Established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government, the Endowment is the nation’s largest annual funder of the arts, bringing great art to all 50 states, including rural areas, inner cities and military bases.

Seeing Ourselves: Masterpieces of American Photography from the George Eastman House Collection was organized by George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film and was made possible through a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts as part of the American Masterpieces program.

General Museum Information: The Columbia Museum of Art is South Carolina’s premier international art museum with extraordinary collections of European, Asian and American fine and decorative art from antiquity to the present. Founded in 1950, the Museum opened its new building — a sleek and airy, light-filled space with 25 galleries — on Main Street in 1998. The collection includes masterpieces of the Italian Renaissance and Baroque from the Samuel H. Kress Collection, works by significant furniture and silver makers, as well as modern and contemporary art. Of particular interest are Sandro Botticelli’s Nativity, Claude Monet’s The Seine at Giverny and art glass by Louis Comfort Tiffany. The Museum also offers special changing exhibitions from renowned museums plus educational programs that include group and public tours, lectures, films and concert series. In addition, the Museum has three affiliate groups – the Contemporaries for young professionals interested in volunteering and supporting the Museum’s mission, About Face for those wanting to hone their artistic skills through the use of live models and the Columbia Design League for professional and amateurs alike that are attracted to design and its many applications. The Museum is the recipient of a National Art Education Association award for its contributions to arts education and an Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Award for the Arts for its outstanding contributions to the arts in South Carolina. Generous support to the Museum is provided by the City of Columbia and Richland County.

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