The Canadian Photography Institute (CPI) of the National Gallery of Canada (NGC) announced today a gift of 635 photographs by American photographer and filmmaker Paul Strand (1890-1976). The gift, made by three Canadian donors, covers the photographer’s entire career and represents all major periods of his work. There are photographs from his early ventures into modernism in New York, and from his numerous trips in the United States, Mexico, Quebec, Europe, and Africa, as well as images from his last body of work – an exploration of the plant life in the gardens of his home in Orgeval, France. CPI now has the most significant holdings of Paul Strand photographs in Canada, owing to this donation.
"This extraordinary gift is a highly representative group of Paul Strand’s work,” said National Gallery of Canada Director and CEO Marc Mayer. “As a shaper of ideas and practices in photography, the historical, and aesthetic significance of Strand’s work will be of tremendous value to the collection. The donation adds to the 97 prints by Strand that were already in CPI’s collection. We are deeply grateful to the donors for their generosity. It is through such remarkable donations that we have built such a magnificent collection over the past 50 years."
According to CPI Senior Curator of Photographs, Ann Thomas: "Paul Strand was one of the twentieth century’s outstanding photographers, mastering a repertoire of styles from Pictorialism to abstraction and documentary. He was an extremely exacting printmaker, testing out different printing methods, papers, and coatings. He brought together qualities of fine craftsmanship with a deep connection to content, which involved the natural world, simple everyday objects, and where and how people lived out their lives in a diverse range of countries and cultures."
The groupings donated to CPI fall under two main categories: Strand’s American years (1916-1949) and post-American years (1949-1976). The American years comprise his early work from 1916-1930, the Southwest (1930 and 1932), the Gaspé (1929 and 1936); Mexico (1933-34), and the Northeast (1943-44). The Post-American period comprises his work resulting from his trips in the Hebrides (1954); France (from 1950); Italy (1952-53), and his quest for social experiments in Romania (1960 and 1967), Morocco (1962); and Ghana (1963-64). This latter grouping also includes photographs taken in Egypt (1959-60 and 1965) and Orgeval, France (1970-73).
"Strand had a very strong influence over a younger generation of photographers,” said Ann Thomas, “including prominent Canadian contemporary photographers Robert Bourdeau, who counts Paul Strand among the most influential figures in shaping his decision to become a photographer, and Bertrand Carrière, who followed in his footsteps in the Gaspé." Both Bourdeau and Carrière are represented in the CPI collection.
About Paul Strand
Born in New York City in 1890, under the name of Nathaniel Paul Stransky, Strand studied under the American documentary photographer, Lewis Hine, at the Ethical Culture School in New York from 1907 to 1909. He made a short-lived attempt at earning a living as a commercial photographer in 1912. He traveled extensively, including to Gaspé, the Southwest and Northeast of the United States, Mexico, the Hebrides, Egypt, Ghana, Morocco, France, Italy, and Romania. He moved to Orgeval, France, in the 1950s and died there in 1976.
NGCmagazine.ca, the National Gallery of Canada’s online magazine, is a frequently updated source of information on the Canadian art world and events at the National Gallery of Canada. Correspondents from across the country provide engaging and exclusive content on historical and contemporary art in Canada. This online magazine also includes interviews with artists. Read the article “Works by one of the most important photographers of the 20th-century gifted to CPI” online now.
About the Canadian Photography Institute
The Canadian Photography Institute of the National Gallery of Canada is a creative and innovative centre dedicated to sharing, collecting, and questioning photography in all its forms. It brings people and communities together at the museum, online, and around publications to see, appreciate, and study photography.
The Canadian Photography Institute, was established in 2015 and officially launched in October 2016. Its collections build upon the National Gallery’s Photographs Collection. The Institute benefits from the unprecedented support of CPI’s Founding Partner Scotiabank, the Archive of Modern Conflict - the Gallery’s partner, and the National Gallery of Canada Foundation. For more information, visit: gallery.ca/cpi
About the National Gallery of Canada
The National Gallery of Canada is home to the most important collections of historical and contemporary Canadian art. The Gallery also maintains Canada’s premier collection of European Art from the 14th to the 21st centuries, as well as important works of American, Asian and Indigenous Art and renowned international collections of prints, drawings and photographs. Created in 1880, the National Gallery of Canada has played a key role in Canadian culture for well over a century. Among its principal missions is to increase access to excellent works of art for all Canadians. For more information, visit gallery.ca and follow us on Twitter @NatGalleryCan, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram.
About the National Gallery of Canada Foundation
The National Gallery of Canada Foundation is dedicated to supporting the National Gallery of Canada in fulfilling its mandate. By fostering strong philanthropic partnerships, the Foundation provides the Gallery with the additional financial support required to lead Canada’s visual arts community locally, nationally and internationally. The blend of public support and private philanthropy empowers the Gallery to preserve and interpret Canada’s visual arts heritage. The Foundation welcomes present and deferred gifts for special projects and endowments. To learn more about the National Gallery of Canada Foundation, visit ngcfoundation.ca and follow us on Twitter @NGC_Foundation
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