The Amon Carter Museum of American Art is home to over 45,000 photographs by more than 450 photographers spanning the history of the medium in the United States. The collection began within months of the museum’s 1961 opening when photographer Dorothea Lange gifted three portraits of artist Charles M. Russell to complement the museum’s founding collection of paintings and sculpture by Russell and Frederic Remington. Since then the holdings have grown to reflect photography’s central role in documenting America’s nineteenth-century culture and history and the medium’s development as a significant and influential art form in the twentieth century to the present.
The collection is notably rich in nineteenth-century landscapes of the American West, with works by William Henry Jackson, Timothy O’Sullivan, Carleton Watkins, and others. Equally well represented are portraits of Native Americans, including more than 1,400 photographs originally assembled for the Bureau of American Ethnology, Edward S. Curtis’s monumental twenty-volume project The North American Indian, and Laura Gilpin’s extensive photographic documentation of the Navajo nation. Collections of negatives and prints assembled by such figures as E. A. Brininstool, Mary Everhard, Fred and Jo Mazzulla, and Helen Post reflect regional histories of settlement and economic development across the American West, serving as valuable resources for scholars of photography and American studies.
The collection reflects photography’s development as an art form in the United States from the late nineteenth century forward. In addition to gelatin silver and platinum prints by such early masters as Gertrude Käsebier, Edward Steichen, and Clarence White, the museum owns a full set of Alfred Stieglitz’s seminal publication Camera Work. The collection tells the tale of photography’s twentieth-century artistry through works by many of the medium’s iconic figures including Berenice Abbott, Ansel Adams, Barbara Crane, Margaret Bourke-White, Walker Evans, Robert Frank, Lewis Hine, and Edward Weston. The archives of Carlotta Corpron, Nell Dorr, Laura Gilpin, Eliot Porter, Erwin E. Smith, and Karl Struss supplement those holdings, adding important insight into their working processes by augmenting these artists’ exhibition prints with their study prints, negatives, manuscripts, and correspondence.
Throughout its history, the Amon Carter has supported the work of contemporary photographers. In 1979 the museum commissioned Richard Avedon to create his acclaimed series In the American West, and the collection now holds the complete set of prints from that project. A collaboration in 2013 brought Chicago-based photographer Terry Evans to Forth Worth to document the city’s Trinity River. In recent years the museum has largely focused on acquiring and displaying photographs by contemporary artists including Dawoud Bey, Sharon Core, Katy Grannan, Todd Hido, Alex Prager, Mark Ruwedel, and Larry Sultan. We welcome you to explore the collection online and in person to discover the rich history of photography at the Amon Carter.