The photography department is recognized for its extensive holdings of nineteenth-century work, notably of the American West. Collectively, the museum’s works of early photography reflect both the achievements of the medium’s outstanding practitioners and the shifting environmental attitudes of nineteenth-century Americans. The collection also has strong holdings of European and American modernist photography.
NOW ON VIEW: See artworks from the Photography collection in the cross-departmental exhibition Stampede: Animals in Art.
EXPLORE THE COLLECTION ONLINE: Browse artworks from the Photography collection anytime. Check back often for additions and updates.
The Daniel Wolf Landscape Photography Collection encompasses the work of photographers from Maine to California, and gives special emphasis to Western landscapes by acknowledged masters such as William Bell, W.H. Jackson, Timothy O’Sullivan, Andrew Joseph Russell, Adam Clarke Vroman, and Carleton E. Watkins. Additional nineteenth-century holdings include recent acquisitions of masterworks such as William Henry Fox Talbot’s 1845 A Scene In York and several Henry Bosse cyanotypes from the album, Views on the Mississippi River. Collectively, the museum’s works of early photography reflect both the achievements of the medium’s outstanding practitioners and the shifting environmental attitudes of nineteenth century Americans.
European modernism is an additional strength of the photography collection, and one with significant affinity to artworks and other materials in the museum’s Herbert Bayer Archive. Important photographs by Bayer, Frantisek Drtikol, Jaromir Funke, Gyorgi Kepes, Man Ray, and others express the spirit of modernist vision and show the remarkable command of technique instilled through experiment. Works of American modernism by Berenice Abbott, Laura Gilpin, Edward Weston, and others show how similar approaches to light and form expressed in quite different responses.
Photographs in the collection from the second half of the twentieth century respond to changing perceptions and values, both in the art world and in the world at large. The museum’s substantial collection of Robert Adams photographs addresses environmental dilemmas in the American West through plain-spoken images of human-altered landscapes. Works by Diane Arbus and Larry Clark find dignity, frailty, and pathos in the marginalized. And the museum’s extensive holdings of Garry Winogrand photographs cull generous, humorous, and sometimes startling, stories from the chaos of everyday life in the streets.
Since 1970, photographers have frequently blurred the line between the medium and other artistic disciplines. The department has collected outstanding examples of contemporary photographic work to parallel the DAM’s modern and contemporary art collection. Works by artists such as Chuck Close, Petah Coyne, and Tom Friedman display the rich cross-fertilization that occurs when painters, sculptors and conceptual artists explore new ideas through photography. Other pieces, by David Levinthal, Cindy Sherman, and Lorna Simpson push the conventions of photography to new limits and expand our understanding of what the medium can be, while photographs by international artists, such as Shirin Neshat and Liu Wei exhibit the exchange of ideas that is possible in today’s universally connected world.
See how animals have captivated artists throughout history in the exhibition Stampede: Animals in Art. This cross-departmental exhibition brings together more than 300 objects from the Denver Art Museum’s collection to explore the presence of animals in art throughout centuries and across cultures. More
News & Stories
Learn how the DAM conserved these three kings from the 1700s and see them in Stampede: Animals in Art. More
Looking for fun things to do with holiday visitors? Bring them to the Denver Art Museum! More
Melanie Yazzie will be in the 3-D Studio demonstrating 3-D animal sculpting December 9-10. More
En diciembre habrá muchísimas actividades para toda la familia en el DAM. Podrá estar cerrado el Edificio Norte, pero hay tanto que hacer en el Edificio Hamilton ¡que quizá quieras regresar una y otra vez para divertirte con nosotros! Como siempre, los jóvenes de hasta 18 años entran gratis al DAM. More
There is so much to do, you may want to come back multiple times to join in all the fun! As always, youth 18 and under receive free general admission to the DAM. More
Celebra tu creatividad cada primer sábado del mes con actividades bilingües gratuitas para toda la familia. Visítanos el sábado, 2 de diciembre y participa en las actividades mencionadas a continuación.
Déjate inspirar y crea obras de arte en nuestras salas de arte de 10:30 am–4 pm.
These DAM photography publications are available in the Shop and online.
- Companion to the Strauss Photography Collection at the Denver Art Museum. Eric Paddock. Denver Art Museum, 2014.
- Walking Magpie: On and Off the Leash. Chuck Forsman. Denver and Staunton, VA: Denver Art Museum and George F. Thompson Publishing, 2013.
- Robert Benjamin: Notes from a Quiet Life. Robert Benjamin. Santa Fe and Denver: Radius Books in cooperation with the Denver Art Museum, 2012.
- Prairie. Robert Adams. Denver and San Francisco: Denver Art Museum and Fraenkel Gallery, 2011.
- Eric Paddock, Curator
- Kim Roberts, Curatorial Assistant
- Micah Messenheimer, Curatorial Assistant