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The Addison : An Incomplete History of Photography – 1860s to 1960s


With the purchase of a photograph by Margaret Bourke-White in 1934, the Addison became one of the first museums in the United States to actively collect photography. In the almost 90 years since, the museum has acquired over 9,000 photographs. The selections displayed in this exhibition highlight some key moments in the development of the medium and in American history from the 1860s to the 1960s. The imagery includes Civil War battlefields, the American West, turn-of-the-century and Depression-era living conditions, geometric abstractions, and Civil Rights protests. Though photographic technology evolved over the course of the century, photographs served throughout the period as powerful agents of social change and vehicles of self-expression.


About the Addison Gallery of American Art

Devoted exclusively to American art, the Addison, which opened in 1931, holds one of the most important collections of American art in the country. Its collection includes more than 23,000 works by artists such as John Singleton Copley, Thomas Eakins, Winslow Homer, George Bellows, Georgia O’Keeffe, Jackson Pollock, Lorna Simpson, Kara Walker, and Mark Bradford, as well as photographers Eadweard Muybridge, Walker Evans, Robert Frank, Cindy Sherman, Dawoud Bey, and many others. The Addison Gallery, located in a stand-alone building on the campus of Phillips Academy—a residential school of grades 9 through 12 in Andover, Massachusetts—offers a continually rotating series of exhibitions and programs, all of which are free and open to the public.


An Incomplete History of Photography: 1860s to 1960s

October 17, 2020 – February 21, 2021

The Addison Gallery of American Art

Phillips Academy

180 Main Street

Andover, MA 01810-4161


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