Photography

William H. Bell

American, born England (1830-1910)

Cañon of Kanab Wash, Colorado River, Looking South

1872

Albumen print

1991.483.17

The Daniel Wolf Landscape Photography Collection: Funds from Mr. and Mrs. George G. Anderman, Nancy L. Benson, Florence R. and Ralph L. Burgess Trust, 1990 Collectors' Choice, J. Rathbone Falck, General Service Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. William D. Hewit, Mr. and Mrs. Edward H. Leede, Pauline A. and George R. Morrison Trust, Frederick and Jan Mayer, Newmont Mining Corporation, O'Shaughnessy Fund, Volunteer Endowment Fund, Ginny Williams, Estelle Wolf, anonymous donors, and the generosity of our visitors, with additional support from the voters who created the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District.

Attributed to William Henry Jackson

American (1843-1942)

Pueblo Laguna, New Mexico

1883

Albumen print

1991.260.110

The Daniel Wolf Landscape Photography Collection: Funds from Mr. and Mrs. George G. Anderman, Nancy L. Benson, Florence R. and Ralph L. Burgess Trust, 1990 Collectors' Choice, J. Rathbone Falck, General Service Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. William D. Hewit, Mr. and Mrs. Edward H. Leede, Pauline A. and George R. Morrison Trust, Frederick and Jan Mayer, Newmont Mining Corporation, O'Shaughnessy Fund, Volunteer Endowment Fund, Ginny Williams, Estelle Wolf, anonymous donors, and the generosity of our visitors, with additional support from the voters who created the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District.

Timothy H. O’Sullivan

American (c. 1840 -1882)

Ancient Ruins in the Cañon de Chelley, New Mexico

1873

Albumen print

1991.483.48

The Daniel Wolf Landscape Photography Collection: Funds from Mr. and Mrs. George G. Anderman, Nancy L. Benson, Florence R. and Ralph L. Burgess Trust, 1990 Collectors' Choice, J. Rathbone Falck, General Service Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. William D. Hewit, Mr. and Mrs. Edward H. Leede, Pauline A. and George R. Morrison Trust, Frederick and Jan Mayer, Newmont Mining Corporation, O'Shaughnessy Fund, Volunteer Endowment Fund, Ginny Williams, Estelle Wolf, anonymous donors, and the generosity of our visitors, with additional support from the voters who created the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District.

Henry Bosse

American, born Germany (1844-1903)

From Bluffs at Pine Bend Looking Downstream from the album Views on the Mississippi River between Minneapolis, Minn and St. Louis, Mo., 1883-1891

1891

Cyanotype

2008.864

Gift arranged by Mr. Darren K. Quintenz of Quintenz & Company

Like many—probably most—early photographers, Henry Bosse was self-taught. He learned the cyanotype process in his capacity as a draftsman for the Army Corps of Engineers, simply because cyanotype was used to make blueprints. He was soon using his camera to document the Corp’s engineering works on the Upper Mississippi River. Many of Bosse’s photographs are straightforward descriptions, but others, like this, are sensitive, picturesque views that convey a gentle and sometimes melancholy sense of Midwestern landscape.

John Horgan, Jr.

American (1858-1926)

Mathew's Place, Lobdel Station, Jas. S. Richardson's Property, Bolivar Co., Miss., Mississippi Valley Route

c. 1891

Albumen print

1991.181

The Daniel Wolf Landscape Photography Collection: Funds from Mr. and Mrs. George G. Anderman, Nancy L. Benson, Florence R. and Ralph L. Burgess Trust, 1990 Collectors' Choice, J. Rathbone Falck, General Service Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. William D. Hewit, Mr. and Mrs. Edward H. Leede, Pauline A. and George R. Morrison Trust, Frederick and Jan Mayer, Newmont Mining Corporation, O'Shaughnessy Fund, Volunteer Endowment Fund, Ginny Williams, Estelle Wolf, anonymous donors, and the generosity of our visitors, with additional support from the voters who created the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District.

Photographer unknown

Untitled (Shelter Island)

1890s

Albumen print

1991.401

The Daniel Wolf Landscape Photography Collection: Funds from Mr. and Mrs. George G. Anderman, Nancy L. Benson, Florence R. and Ralph L. Burgess Trust, 1990 Collectors' Choice, J. Rathbone Falck, General Service Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. William D. Hewit, Mr. and Mrs. Edward H. Leede, Pauline A. and George R. Morrison Trust, Frederick and Jan Mayer, Newmont Mining Corporation, O'Shaughnessy Fund, Volunteer Endowment Fund, Ginny Williams, Estelle Wolf, anonymous donors, and the generosity of our visitors, with additional support from the voters who created the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District.

Edward Jean Steichen

American, born Luxembourg (1879-1973)

Portrait of Clarence White

1905

Photogravure print

1981.176

Gift of the Strauss Collection

Gertrude Käsebier

American (1852-1934)

Portrait of Martine McCulloch

1910

Platinum print

1984.696

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Edward M. Strauss

Frank Eugene

American, worked in Germany (1865-1936)

Adam and Eve

1910

Photogravure print

1998.443

Gift of Charles and Mary Corkin

Chan Chao

American, born Burma (born 1966)

Member of the KNLA, Burma from the series Something Went Wrong

1996

Chromogenic color print

2008.871

Gift of Alan Manley

André Kertész

American, born Hungary (1894-1985)

Circus, Budapest, 19 May 1920 from Hungarian Memories 1914-1924

1920

Gelatin silver print

1987.443

Gift of I.J. Shore

David Levinthal

American (born 1949)

Untitled (Standing Scout with Rifle)

2002

Dye diffusion transfer print

2008.6

Gift in Memory of Ryan Taylor

American photographer David Levinthal is known for his Polaroid photographs of children's toys, action figures, and other miniatures. Levinthal's lilliputian scenography and manipulation of camera angle, depth of field, and focus transform his diminutive models into haunting icons of American popular culture. The use of toys both monumentalizes and questions archetypical heroes and celebrities.

David Levinthal's engagement with the West dates to the early 1980s. He frankly admits that mid-century western B-movies and television series, as well as the plastic cowboys and Indians he played with as a child, have been major influences on his western pictures. He is quick to note that these photographs are "not representative of the West as we now understand it; nonetheless, it is a reality that exists because it's part of our shared iconography."

Jaromír Funke

Czech (1896-1945)

Composition Abstraction

1922

Gelatin silver print

1998.222

Partial gift of David and Sheryl Tippit and funds from the National Endowment for the Arts by exchange.

Floris Michael Neusüss

German (born 1937)

Light-Motion-Time Effect (Lichtlaufzeiteffekt)

1988

Gelatin silver print

1992.207

Funds from the 1992 Alliance for Contemporary Art Auction

Ruth Thorne-Thomsen

American (born 1943)

Thunder Head from the Views from the Shoreline series

1986

Contact printed, toned gelatin silver print

1987.50

Funds from the Acquisition Challenge Grant

Well before the advent of Photoshop and other digital tools, Ruth Thorne-Thomsen created these photos through careful layering of several different images. The results are portraits that give as much attention—or more—to the inner workings of our lives as to the outward appearances of things.

Petah Coyne

American (born 1953)

Untitled 735

1992

Gelatin silver print

2009.374

Gift of Polly and Mark Addison

We tend to picture monks sitting very still and meditating, so it is surprising to see this mob of monks dashing across the photograph in a blur.

Ralph Gibson

American (born 1939)

Woman's Face with Shadow

1974

Gelatin silver print

1982.350.5

Gift of Lilian A. Ostermann

Robert Benjamin

American (born 1947)

Nellie and Her Italian Soda, Boulder

1993

Chromogenic color print

2009.776

Purchased with Photography Department Funds from Cathey and Richard Finlon

“I’m trying to break away on every level from all this angst and heaviness in the world. It’s there, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be the object of your affection. And I think the object of my affection has to be stillness, and friends, and beauty.”

—Robert Benjamin

Patrick Nagatani, collaborated in part with Andrée Tracey

American (born 1945)

Trinitite, Ground Zero, Trinity Site, New Mexico

1988-1989

Chromogenic color print

1992.557

Funds from the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District

When a nuclear bomb goes off in the desert, sand gets sucked up into the mushroom cloud, where it is fused into something like glass by the intense heat. Then it rains back to earth in a storm of fist-sized, radioactive green chunks called trinitite (named for the Trinity Test Site). The floating green rocks and the guy in the HAZMAT suit give this photograph a cartoon-like quality that is at odds with its underlying scariness.

Wang Qingsong

Chinese (born 1966)

Knickknack Peddler

2002

Chromogenic color print

2009.381

Gift of Polly and Mark Addison

Wang Qingsong didn’t pull this tableau out of thin air: the photograph is an homage, modeled after a drawing with the same title that was created by Li Sung in 1210. Qingsong’s mix of traditional and contemporary costumes and props links modern-day consumerism with life 800 years ago and reminds me that however much things seem to change, some core experiences stay very much the same.

Shirin Neshat

American, born Iran (born 1957)

Allegiance with Wakefulness

1994

Gelatin silver print with calligraphy

2009.375

Gift of Polly and Mark Addison

Shirin Neshat says that “in the Women of Allah photographic series, we are confronted with threatening images of women embracing the gun, yet there is something terribly submissive, erotic and sensual about the female bodies.” The gun barrel, which connotes aggression, contrasts with those pale, soft feet, which seem tender and almost vulnerable.

Overview

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.

During the North Building renovation project the Photography galleries are closed. Please view select pieces from the Denver Art Museum’s photography collection in the cross-departmental exhibition Stampede: Animals in Art. Also view New Territory: Landscape Photography Today to see more.

EXPLORE THE COLLECTION ONLINE: Browse artworks from the photography collection anytime. Check back often for additions and updates.

Highlights

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.

Exhibitions at the DAM

  • Matthew Brandt, Lake Isabella CA TC 2, 2014. Three chromogenic prints soaked in Lake Isabella water.
    Exhibition

    New Territory

    Landscape Photography Today
    On View through September 16, 2018

    The exhibition of more than 100 contemporary landscape photographs will gauge how artists stretch the boundaries of traditional landscape photography to reflect the environmental attitudes, perceptions, and values of our time. More

Related Events

  • Penelope Umbrico, Adams with Grunge IntensePeach Pop SplitScreen and LightLeak (IMG_6468), from Range: of Masters of Photography, 2014
    Event: Tours

    New Territory: Landscape Photography Today Public Tours

    Occurs every day through September 16, 2018. Next Occurs on Sunday, July 15, 2018 - 1:30pm2:15pm.

    Join a 45-minute public tour of New Territory, offered daily at 1:30 pm, June 24 through September 16. Included with general admission, reservations not required. More

  • Richard Mosse, Commodius Vicus, 2015
    Event: Lectures & Programs

    Mindful Looking

    Richard Mosse’s Commodius Vicus
    Tuesday, July 17, 2018 - 1:00pm1:45pm.

    Slow down and spend time with one work of art each month. In July, explore Richard Mosse’s infrared photograph, Commodius Vicus, with a museum educator. More

  • Drop-In Writing at the Denver Art Museum
    Event: Lectures & Programs

    Drop-In Writing

    Monthly program on the fourth Tuesday of the month
    Occurs on the fourth Tuesday of every month. Next Occurs on Tuesday, July 24, 2018 - 1:00pm3:00pm.

    Explore your creativity through the written word in our informal writing sessions with staff from the Lighthouse Writers Workshop. More

  • Drop-In Drawing
    Event: Lectures & Programs

    Drop-In Drawing

    Monthly program on the second Tuesday of the month
    Occurs on the second Tuesday of every month. Next Occurs on Tuesday, August 14, 2018 - 1:00pm3:00pm.

    Join artist Anna Kaye in our fun and informal creative art sessions. Bring a drawing or sketching project of your own or get started on something new. More

  • Dark image of night sky with tree tops along the bottom edge and multiple phases of the moon and numerous star tracks.
    Event: Lectures & Programs

    Anderman Photography Lecture: Sharon Harper

    Thursday, August 23, 2018 - 7:00pm8:30pm.

    For Sharon Harper, the camera is a way to translate kinds of connections that we’re not even aware of and the kinds of connections that are very abstract and difficult to talk about. More

  • Matthew Brandt, Lake Isabella CA TC 2, 2014. Three chromogenic prints soaked in Lake Isabella water.
    Exhibition

    New Territory

    Landscape Photography Today
    On View through September 16, 2018

    The exhibition of more than 100 contemporary landscape photographs will gauge how artists stretch the boundaries of traditional landscape photography to reflect the environmental attitudes, perceptions, and values of our time. More

News & Stories

  • 3 people jumping in the air in front of the Hamilton Building
    Blog: Don't Miss

    7 Cool Things to Do This Summer at the DAM

    #ArtofSummer2018

    Looking for a good place to cool off on a hot day? Need a little creative inspiration? The Denver Art Museum has you covered! Following are 7 tips for enjoying summer at the DAM, all of which are included with general admission and free for youth 18 and younger.

    More

  • children touching a textile inspired by artist Jeffrey Gibson
    Blog: Kids & Families

    July 2018 Family Fun at the DAM

    What to See & Do This Month

    Journey through the month of July at the Denver Art Museum with creative activities for all ages. More

  • Meghann Riepenhoff, Littoral Drift #848 (Pleasant Beach Watershed, Bainbridge Island, WA 12.05.17 Lapping Waves with Receding Tide and Splashes), 2017. Cyanotypes. Courtesy Yossi Milo Gallery, New York © Meghann Riepenhoff
    Blog: Behind the Scenes

    Landscape + Photography = A Collaboration

    Read about three artists with photos in New Territory: Landscape Photography Today who work in collaboration with the landscape by incorporating natural materials—from the sky, the earth, and the sea—into their photographic process. More

  • 2 photos: Incahuasi I by Adam Jeppesen and Moon Studies and Star Scratches, No. 9 June 4-30, 2005 by Sharon Harper
    Blog: Behind the Scenes

    New Territory Artists To Speak at Anderman Photography Lecture Series

    In celebration of New Territory: Landscape Photography Today on view at the Denver Art Museum June 24, 2018 through September 16, 2018, the next two lectures in the Anderman Photography Lecture Series will be given by artists participating in the exhibition: Adam Jeppesen and Sharon Harper. More

Publications

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.

Department

Current Staff

  • Eric Paddock, Curator
  • Kim Roberts, Curatorial Assistant

Past Staff

  • Micah Messenheimer, Curatorial Assistant