The Philadelphia Museum of Art has acquired, through several gifts and a purchase agreement with the Aperture Foundation, the core collection of photographs by Paul Strand, one of the preeminent photographers of the twentieth century.
Through the generosity of philanthropists Lynne and Harold Honickman, Marjorie and Jeffrey Honickman, and H. F. "Gerry" and Marguerite Lenfest, the Museum 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 entered into an agreement with the Foundation to purchase an additional 1,276 photographs.
As a whole, this acquisition comprises more than 3,000 prints and lantern slides, including the finest examples of every image in the Archive. Joining the more than six hundred Strand photographs already in the Museum's collections, this acquisition makes the Philadelphia Museum of Art the world's most important repository for the study of his work. Combined with its existing holdings, this acquisition will give the Museum an unrivaled collection of Strand's pioneering early work and his photographs of the Southwest and Mexico, all recognized as high points of his career.
Added to the recent gifts to the Museum, the acquisition will also enable us to assemble nearly complete sets of vintage prints from all of Strand's later projects, beginning with his New England photographs of the 1940s and running through the final great series he made in the garden of his home in Orgeval, France.
The Paul Strand Collection at the Philadelphia Museum of Art will rank among the finest and most significant group of works by key figures in the history of photography. As the definitive collection of one of the twentieth century's greatest photographers, it will also be a critical component of the Museum's internationally distinguished collections of modernist art, which include the renowned Louise and Walter Arensberg and A. E. Gallatin collections.
Indeed, the Paul Strand Collection will come to be seen as a cornerstone of the Museum's collection, comparable to the extensive holdings of works by Marcel Duchamp and Thomas Eakins.
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