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Georgina Masson:
Author and Eye

Georgina Masson
Villa Interni
Author and Eye
American Academy in Rome

Georgina Masson
Author and Eye
American Academy in Rome

Georgina Masson
Stazione Termini
Author and Eye
American Academy in Rome


Selections from the Photographic Archive of the American Academy in Rome.EXHIBITION DATES
29 April ­ 30 June 2003
Thursday, 4-7pm; Saturday, 3-7pm or by appointment
Call Milena Sales, tel. 011-39-06-5846-470
Admission free  

Rome, March 3, 2003‹Georgina Massonıs byline and photographs are widely recognized through her books Italian Villas and Palaces (1959), Italian Villas and Gardens (1961) and her celebrated The Companion Guide to Rome (1965, frequently reprinted and soon to be available in a revised edition by John Fort) but little is known of the travel writer, photographer and socialite herself.  This exhibit, which opens April 29th and runs through June 2003, provides insight into Massonıs life and the vision of Italy that she generously shared.  Selections for the exhibit were chosen from the American Academy in Romeıs important Archive of more than 60,000 images, 5,000 of which Masson bequeathed to the Academy upon her death.

Marion "Babs" Johnson (1912-1980) came to Rome during World War II to work at her native Englandıs Ministry of Information & Foreign Office.  Ms. Johnson, who adopted the literary pseudonym, "Georgina Masson," was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and traveled throughout Italy often accompanied only by her Rolleiflex camera.  The Eternal City was one of her favorite subjects.  "Rome," she quotes from Silvio Negro in the foreword of her companion guide, "a lifetime is not enough." 

"She was a much-loved personality at the Academy where she spent her time in our library studying art history," said President of the American Academy in Rome, Adele Chatfield-Taylor. "But she was very private and therein lies the contradiction and intrigue. Masson still continues, posthumously, to elude us while her work has become part of Italyıs vernacular."

"Georgina Masson: Author and Eye, for the first time, reveals the breadth of Massonıs work and her extraordinary talent," said Alessandra Capodiferro, curator of this exhibition and of the Academyıs Photographic Archive. "Completely, self-taught, Masson was professional and inventive. She was a documentarian and had unmistakable personal style. Her portraits, still life, landscapes, and interiors are compelling studies."   

The exhibition features thirty-five of Massonıs black and white negatives that have been translated into gallery prints by photographer Mimmo Capone.  A catalogue will accompany the exhibition and feature essays by Ms. Capodiferro as well as Marella Caracciolo, Milton Gendel, Elizabeth Helman-Minchilli and Caroline Vicenti. The catalogue is published by Charta, and edited by Cornelia Lauf.  Generous support for the exhibition has been provided by The Howard Gilman Foundation in memory of The Honorable Marcello Guidi.

Established in 1894 and chartered by an act of Congress in 1905, the American Academy in Rome is situated on Rome’s highest hill within the city’s ancient walls. Each year, through a national juried competition, the Academy offers U.S. citizens up to 30 Rome Prize fellowships in the following disciplines: Architecture, Design, Historic Preservation and Conservation, Landscape Architecture, Literature, Musical Composition, Visual Arts, and in humanistic approaches to Ancient, Medieval, Renaissance and Early Modern, and Modern Italian Studies. The annual application deadline is 1 November. Rome Prize winners are joined by a select group of Residents and international affiliated fellows forming a community of over 100 artists and scholars. For more information please visit

The holdings of the Photographic Archive of the American Academy in Rome provide a visual record of the architecture and topography of ancient Rome and Italy and the Roman Empire, for the purposes of scholarship, research and publication. Images can be viewed online as well as, with permission, at the archives itself where over 60,000 images in total are housed.  The Archive is comprised of valuable and specialized collections of photographs on archeology, art, architecture, landscape architecture and gardens. It also contains special collections relevant and vital to the history of the Academy, from the late nineteenth century to the present. In addition to its own collections, the American Academy also houses the Fototeca Unione founded by Ernest Nash in 1957. For more information visit the Academy’s web site at:

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