Philadelphia Museum of Art's Photography Collection
Artist Georgia O'Keeffe inaugurated the Philadelphia Museum of Art's photography collection in 1949 when she gave the museum an important
group of photographs by her late husband, Alfred Stieglitz.
O'Keeffe made donations to a number of museums at that time, when she was organizing Stieglitz's estate. "Her gift included works from every phase
of his career," said Peter Barberie, the museum's Brodsky Curator of Photographs and a juror for the upcoming Photography Portfolio Competition
sponsored by the Women's Committee of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
In 1968, another major gift of Stieglitz's work came from the photographer Dorothy Norman, who founded the Alfred Stieglitz Center that year after
consulting with the museum's director, Dr. Evan Turner. Norman pledged her collection to the museum, which included her own photographs and
works by many other important photographers including Henri Cartier-Bresson, Ansel Adams and Edward Weston. "She also provided money to buy
new photographs, including large groups of work by Robert Frank and Frederick H. Evans", Barberie said.
The collection began to grow, and new Curator Michael Hoffman's vision would have a substantial impact. "Michael Hoffman organized fantastic
exhibitions - large traveling exhibits that would premiere in Philadelphia and then travel around the world," Barberie said. Hoffman often acquired the
entire contents of an exhibition for the collection. "As a result, we have large groups of work by several important artists, including W. Eugene Smith,
Robert Adams, and Graciela Iturbide" he said.
The Philadelphia Museum of Art organized a major retrospective exhibition of Paul Strand's work in 1971, which traveled to many cities for almost a
decade. Because of this, Strand and his widow, Hazel, were very committed to the museum. In 1980 Strand's estate gave the museum the Paul
Strand Retrospective Collection, which includes more than 500 prints spanning the artist's career. "Because of Michael Hoffman's