East of the Mississippi: Nineteenth-Century American Landscape Photography
October 6, 2017 – January 7, 2018
Lecture with Nick Spitzer: Friday, Dec 1, 7pm
Lecture with Scully & Osterman: Friday, Dec 8, 7pm
Gallery Talk with Mary Niall Mitchell: Friday, Dec 15, 6pm
Gallery Talk with John H. Lawrence: Friday, Dec 22, 6pm
Organized by the National Gallery of Art, Washington, in association with NOMA, East of the Mississippi: Nineteenth-Century American Landscape Photography is the first to explore a vivid chapter of America’s photographic history—the origins of landscape photography in the United States.
When photography arrived in the United States, it landed first in the east, establishing itself in major cities there and then spreading out towards the Mississippi River, before it became an accomplice in the exploration of the American West. This project is the first to articulate a complete history of landscape photography in the nineteenth-century American East, bringing together some of the rarest and most extraordinary photographs, from the earliest known daguerreotypes made in the United States to masterful paper prints made at the close of the nineteenth century. Due to the rarity and fragility of these works, this is the first and perhaps only time that many of these objects will be publicly exhibited, offering visitors the rare opportunity to engage directly with objects from the origins of photography in this country. The exhibition reveals that eastern American landscape photographers were engaged with national preoccupations in important ways; they helped shape evolving mythologies of the American wilderness, revealed the impact of the Civil War on the physical landscape, and played an important role in industrialization and environmental preservation.
Curated by Diane Waggoner, Curator of Nineteenth-Century Photographs, National Gallery of Art, Washington, and organized for NOMA by Russell Lord, Freeman Family Curator of Photographs, East of the Mississippi brings together some 175 works—daguerreotypes, salt prints, albumen prints, stereographic images, and paintings—ranging from 1839, the year that photography was introduced to the world, to 1899. It is presented in six sections, expressing a diverse set of aesthetic, moral, topographic, and instrumental concerns.
Friday, December 1, 7 pm: Lecture: “Navigating Rivers and Music East of the Mississippi” with American Routes host Nick Spitzer and Captain Clarke C. “Doc” Hawley
Friday, December 8, 7 pm: Lecture: “Improving Nature: Image Manipulation in Nineteenth-Century Photography” with France Scully Osterman, guest scholar, and Mark Osterman, photographic process historian, George Eastman Museum
Friday, December 15, 6 pm: Gallery Talk with Mary Niall Mitchell, Co-Director, Midlo Center for New Orleans Studies, Ethel and Herman L. Midlo Endowed Chair, and Joseph Tregle Professor of Early American History at the University of New Orleans
Friday, December 22, 6 pm: Gallery Talk on photographer Jay Dearborn Edwards with John H. Lawrence, Director of Museum Programs at The Historic New Orleans Collection
James F. Ryder
Atlantic & Great Western Railway, 1862
Albumen print, 7 3/8 x 9 3/4 inches
National Gallery of Art, Washington, Gift of Mary and Dan Solomon and Patrons’ Permanent Fund