Third major gift of Steichen photographs broadens Block Museum teaching collection
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Third major gift of Steichen photographs broadens Block Museum teaching collection
Edward Steichen, Amelia Earhart, Vanity Fair, 1931. Gelatin silver print, Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University.

EVANSTON, ILL.- Northwestern University’s Block Museum of Art has acquired 41 silver gelatin and platinum prints by renowned American artist Edward Steichen from collectors Richard and Jackie Hollander.

The donation broadens the museum’s already significant holding of vintage prints by Steichen. The gift is the third to the museum from the Hollander family, who donated 49 Steichen prints to The Block in 2013 and 44 in 2017.

The extraordinary new group of works includes portraits of historical figures such as Carl Sandburg, Amelia Earhart and Thomas Mann; examples of the artist’s commercial advertising images for brands such as Kodak and Jergens; fashion studies for Vogue and Vanity Fair; and early photographic experiments executed in the late 19th century during the artist’s teenage years.

Regarded as one of the greatest photographers of the 20th century, Steichen (1879–1973) transformed the medium through his innovations in portrait, fashion, theater, horticultural and advertising photography.

“The expansion of the Steichen collection further strengthens The Block’s position as a premier cultural institution,” Northwestern President Morton Schapiro said. “Its ability to enrich the lives of people in the region is critically supported by the ongoing generosity and vision of Rich and Jackie Hollander.”

With a Steichen collection now numbering more than 130 works, The Block is uniquely positioned to showcase the depth and breadth of the artist’s practice, as well as his significant range and innovation in the medium of photography. The prints will be widely used in teaching across Northwestern.

“The Hollanders’ generous gifts have become the foundation of our modern photography collection here at The Block,” noted Lisa Corrin, The Block’s Ellen Philips Katz Director. “Steichen’s works are in continuous circulation and study by students and researchers who make active use of our Eloise W. Martin Study Center.

“We are honored to fulfill the Hollanders’ goals of ensuring greater public access to Steichen’s remarkable art,” Corrin said. “These vibrant works continue to live and breathe through study here at the museum. These works will be placed within the context of a collection that is not only deepening its foundational strengths but actively expanding outward, growing in the diversity of represented artists and global perspectives it represents. New generations of scholars will be able to find ways in which Steichen’s work takes on unexpected meanings when placed within these global dialogues and new resonances with contemporary issues and ideas.”

The Hollander family made its latest gift in memory of Ellyn Lee Hollander, sister of Richard Hollander. Over several years the family has made a number of significant gifts from their collection, offering Steichen’s work to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Whitney Museum of Art, in addition to The Block.

Richard Hollander, the chairman of Aristotle Capital Management, LLC (“Aristotle”), and Jackie Hollander are the parents of two Northwestern University alumni, Jordan ʼ16 MBA and Brooke ʼ17 MS. The Hollanders are believed to have held the largest collection of Steichen photographs in private hands. The photographs, purchased by the Hollanders directly from the estate of the artist, were printed by Steichen himself, giving the works a rare provenance. The Hollanders’ visionary gifts elevate collections that champion access, teaching and learning, ensuring wide national availability of the artists’ work to students, scholars and the public.

Richard and Jackie Hollander commented, “The Hollander family and Aristotle are confident that Northwestern University’s Block Museum of Art will be the perfect stewards of this collection for generations to come.”

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