Couple donates Steichen photos to Northwestern University’s Block Museum
"George Washington Bridge," 1931, is a vintage gelatin silver print by photographer Edward Steichen. Richard and Jackie Hollander have donated 142 Steichen prints to three museums, including the Block Museum at Northwestern Universtiy. | Provided
Updated: February 20, 2013 8:22AM
EVANSTON — Three American art museums, including the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University, have received 142 vintage photographs by the great photographer Edward Steichen.
The photographs, donated by Richard and Jackie Hollander, will also enter the collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.
“Presenting this gift to these three outstanding institutions across the United States represents our commitment to ensuring that these works have the greatest accessibility to the public across the nation, from coast to coast,” said Richard Hollander, the chairman of Aristotle Capital Management, LLC. “Our hope is that this gift will provide an opportunity for students, art enthusiasts, and the general public to gain increased appreciation for Edward Steichen and to be inspired by his work.”
Universally regarded as one of the greatest photographers of the 20th century, Edward Steichen (1879-1973) transformed the medium through his innovations in portrait, fashion, theater, horticultural and advertising photography.
The Hollanders are believed to have held the largest collection of Steichen photographs in private hands. The photographs were purchased by the Hollanders directly from the estate of the artist and were printed by Steichen himself, giving the works a rare provenance.
In 1923, Steichen was hired as the first chief of photography for Vogue and Vanity Fair, a position he held until 1937. With America’s entry into World War II, Steichen volunteered for service and became head of the U.S. naval photographic division and commander of all Navy combat photography. After the war, in 1947, Steichen became the director of photography at The Museum of Modern Art.
“Of his many achievements, Steichen was a pioneering figure who created a vocabulary of visual conventions that came to define ‘celebrity,’ ‘style,’ ‘leader,’ and ‘genius,’” said Lisa Corrin, the Ellen Philips Katz Director of the Block Museum. “This gift of 49 photographs will provide an excellent tool for critical discussions with students across fields of study about how such conventions continue to operate today.”
The gift to the Block has been made in honor of Northwestern President Morton Schapiro and his wife Mimi Schapiro. An exhibition of the photographs is planned at the Block this fall.