“Pictures of the American West have dominated the canon of 19th-century American landscape photography. Although many photographers worked in the eastern half of the United States, their pictures, with the exception of Civil War images, have seldom been exhibited. In association with NOMA, this landmark exhibition, co-organized by the National Gallery of Art, Washington, is the first to exclusively explore a vivid chapter of America’s photographic history—19th-century American landscape photography made east of the Mississippi river. These of the eastern half of the United States 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.
East of the Mississippi brings together over 150 works—daguerreotypes, salt prints, albumen prints, stereographic images, and paintings ranging from 1839 to 1899. It is presented in six sections, expressing a diverse set of aesthetic, moral, topographic, and instrumental concerns, and it includes some of the oldest known photographs ever made in the United States, many that have never before been exhibited. Because of their fragility, and sensitivity to light, the exhibition presents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to examine, first hand, many of these important and beautiful records of American history.” — NOMA
Hugh Lee Pattinson, American Falls, 1840, daguerreotype overall: 6 ½ x 8 ½ (16.51 x 21.59), Robinson Library, Newcastle University, England
Samuel A. Bemis, Crawford Notch and Hotel, White Mountains, New Hampshire, 1840-1842, Daguerreotype, image: 5 ¾ x 7 7/8 (14.6 x 20), The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gilman Collection, Gift of The Howard Gilman Foundation, 2005
Josiah Johnson Hawes, Winter on the Common, 1850s, salted paper print, overall: 18.5 x 23.6 cm (7 5/16 x 9 5/16 in), Collection of William L. Schaeffer
John Moran, The Wissahickon Creek near Philadelphia, c. 1863, albumen print, 10 3/8 x 13 (26.3 x 33), National Gallery of Art, Washington, Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation through Robert and Joyce Menschel
John Moran, Blackberry Bushes, 1862, albumen print, overall: 7 5/8 x 5 7/8 (19.4 x 15), Collection of William L. Schaeffer
James Fitzallen Ryder, Atlantic & Great Western Railway, 1862, albumen print sheet: 10 1/16 x 12 15/16 (25.5 x 32.8), National Gallery of Art, Washington, Gift of Mary and Dan Solomon and Patrons’ Permanent Fund
Isaac H. Bonsall, Chattanooga, Tennessee, from Lookout Mountain, 1863-1865, albumen print unframed: 10 3/8 x 13 ¼ (26.4 x 33.66), Collection of Paul Sack
William H. Rau, Morris Canal from Green’s Bridge, Lehigh Valley Rail Road, c. 1895, albumen print, 17 1/16 x 20 ½ (43.3 x 52), National Gallery of Art, Washington Pepita Milmore Fund
Henry Peter Bosse, Construction of Rock and Brush Dam, L.W., 1891, cyanotype, sheet: 14 ½ x 17 ¼ (36.83 x 43.82), National Gallery of A
Seneca Ray Stoddard, Marion River at Bassett’s Camp, c. 1870 albumen print, image: 4 5/16 x 3 3/8 (11 x 8.5), National Gallery of Art, Washington, Robert Menschel and the Vital Projects Fund
William H. Rau, Delaware River at Manunka Chunk, Pennsylvania Rail Road, c. 1893, albumen print overall: 54.93 x 63.82 cm (21 5/8 x 25 1/8 in) American Premier Underwriters, Inc.
George Barker, Niagara Falls, 1886 albumen print framed: 33 1/2 x 27 1/2 x 1 5/8 (85.09 x 69.85 x 4.13), The Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri, Gift of Hallmark Cards, Inc.
Thomas H. Johnson, Waymart, c. 1863-1865, albumen print, overall: 18 x 22 (45.72 x 55.88), National Gallery of Art, Washington, Alfred H. Moses and Fern M. Schad Fund
The exhibition is organized by Diane Waggoner, Curator of Nineteenth-Century Photographs, National Gallery of Art, Washington. Its presentation at NOMA is organized by Russell Lord, Freeman Family Curator of Photographs.
Images courtesy New Orleans Museum of Art.