Philadelphia Museum of Art Acquires 3,000 Paul Strand Photos

Paul Strand’s “Blind Woman” (negative 1916, print c. 1920s), “Mlle. Pogany, New York (Brancusi)” (1922), and “Man Carving Chair II, Mr. Bolster, Vermont” (1943) are among the more than 3,000 works acquired by the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

It’s turning out to be a very good week for the photography holdings of major museums. Right on the heels of the Art Institute of Chicago’s announcement that it will receive more than 15,000 items from the collection of Richard Nickel comes word that the Philadelphia Museum of Art has acquired the core collection of photographs by Paul Strand (1890–1976). The museum announced today that it has received—as partial and promised gifts—1,422 images from the Paul Strand Archive at the Aperture Foundation, as well as 566 master prints from Strand’s negatives by the artist Richard Benson. The museum has also agreed to purchase an additional 1,276 photographs from the Aperture Foundation. By our calculations, that makes 3,264 works by Strand, who studied with Lewis Hine and palled around with Alfred Stieglitz in New York before hitting the road to document regional life (and the occasional fern) in communities from Quebec to Ghana. “The Paul Strand Collection at the Philadelphia Museum of Art will rank among the finest and most significant groups of works by key figures in the history of photography held by any museum in this country” said Timothy Rub, the museum’s George D. Widener director and CEO, in a statement announcing the acquisition. Planning is underway for a major Strand retrospective at the museum in 2014.