In the first five decades of the 20th century photography came into its own both as an art form and as a tool to document social and political change. American photographers were exploring both the poetic and transformative expressiveness of the medium, as well as recording the growth and change of the country in its various phases of industrial development. On view until April 1, 2012, Made in America 1900-1950: Photographs from the National Gallery of Canada
looks at both approaches, and the divisions between the two, as they are necessarily porous and somewhat arbitrary.
The Gallerys collection is so rich in 20th century American photographs that it needs an exhibition in two parts and a catalogue in two volumes. This first presentation focuses on the period between 1900 and 1950, noted NGC director Marc Mayer. This comprehensive collection has been amassed in large part through the generosity of brilliant collectors.
Each of [the decades] is characterized by tremendous growth, change, and creative thought about the medium and its reception in the United States, noted curator Ann Thomas in the catalogue, American Photographs 1900-1950.
It was a period of great technical and technological change: such as the introduction of the personal 35mm camera in the early 1920s, following the German model developed by Leica, and Ansel Adams and Fred Archers creation of the zone system to determine optimal film exposure and development.
Composed of over 130 photographs, two issues of Camera Work, one issue of Manuscripts, and several period cameras, the exhibition Made in America celebrates the exceptional contribution that American photographers made to the history of art in the 20th century. Made been 1900-1950, these photographs represent an extraordinarily fertile period in the evolution of photography. They include stunning works by Alfred Stieglitz, Edward Steichen, Clarence White, Paul Strand, Walker Evans, Margaret Bourke-White, Dorothea Lange, Berenice Abbott, Ansel Adams, Lisette Model, Weegee, and members of New Yorks Photo League.
Made in America is the fourth in a series of exhibitions and catalogues presenting the Gallerys outstanding collection of international photographs. It follows Modernist Photographs (2007), 19th Century French Photographs (2010), and 19th Century British Photographs (2011).