The J. Paul Getty Museum announced today the donations of two groups of photographs from collectors Leslie and Judith Schreyer and Michael and Jane Wilson. The gifts include works by artists not previously in the Museum’s collection, as well as photographs that enhance the Museum’s existing holdings.
“These generous gifts complement and strengthen our holdings of important photographers from Los Angeles, New York, Europe and Asia,” says Timothy Potts, director of the J. Paul Getty Museum. “Both Les and Judy and Michael and Jane are longtime and enthusiastic supporters of the Museum and our photographs department. Their donations will provide a rich trove of images from which we will be able to organize future exhibitions.”
Adds Virginia Heckert, curator and department head for the Getty Museum’s Department of Photographs, “We are thrilled to receive these new gifts from the Schreyers and the Wilsons. Together this group of donations introduce the work of 15 new photographers into the collection and expand our ability to demonstrate the myriad ways in which photographs document the world of the past and the present.”
The donation from Leslie and Judith Schreyer is their largest gift to the Getty to date, and includes 50 photographs by 39 artists with a wide range of styles and subject matter. Among the best-known photographers in the group are Diane Arbus (American, 1923-1971), Garry Winogrand (American, 1928-1984), and photographers who have belonged to the groundbreaking Magnum agency, such as W. Eugene Smith (American, 1918-1978), Bruce Davidson (American, born 1933), and Josef Koudelka (Czech, born 1938). The donation also includes works by photographers associated with Los Angeles, including Matthew Brandt (American, born 1982), Jo Ann Callis (American, born 1940), Judy Fiskin (American, born 1945) and Graciela Iturbide (Mexican, born 1942), as well as Helen Levitt (American, 1913-2009), Arthur Leipzig (American, 1918-2014), Leon Levinstein (American, 1913-1988), Jerome Liebling (American, 1924-2011), and David Vestal (American, 1924-2013), all of whom were members of the New York Photo League, an area that is underrepresented in the Getty Museum’s collection.
The Schreyers’ donations vary in subject matter and composition, ranging from formal portraits, architectural studies, and landscape photographs to experiments in light and process. Highlights include Imogen Cunningham’s (American, 1883-1976) study of a tulip tree, an abstract study of peeling paint by Aaron Siskind (American, 1903-1991), and a variant image of a seated man taken during Paul Strand’s (American, 1890-1976) 1932 trip to Mexico.
Michael and Jane Wilson, founding members of the Getty Museum Photographs Council, have regularly donated the work of important photographers to the museum’s permanent collection. This most recent gift includes 71 photographs by nine artists that strengthen the museum’s holdings of European, American, and Asian photographers active in the last quarter of the 20th century and first decade of the 21st century. Six of the artists will be new to the museum’s collection: Darren Almond (English, born 1971), Robbert Flick (Dutch, born 1938), Leland Rice (American, born 1940), Paul Shambroom (American, born 1956), Jem Southam (British, born 1950) and Seung Woo Bak (Korean, born 1973), while works by Wang Jingsong (Chinese, born 1963), Jeff Chien-Hsing Liao (Taiwanese, born 1977), and Hans-Christian Schink (German, born 1961) strengthen existing holdings.
The Wilsons’ donation includes selections from several serial bodies of work, most notably elegiac landscapes of the British countryside and Normandy coastline by Jem Southam and hour-long exposures of landscapes in the Northern and Southern hemispheres by Hans-Christian Schink. Others touch upon topical political issues, such as Paul Shambroom’s examination of the dynamics of political power in city council and community meetings across the United States and Seung Woo Back’s commentary on modes of surveillance in North Korea.