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Aug 25, 2010. - Sep 11, 2011.

Portraying a Nation

American Portrait Photography, 1850-2010

Gordon Parks photo called American Gothic

Gordon Parks, American Gothic, 1942, gelatin silver print. Click image to enlarge.

Affordably priced, easy to produce, and available to virtually everyone, portrait photography ranks among the most democratic of art forms. Since the invention of the daguerreotype in 1839, Americans of all economic and ethnic backgrounds have used photography to record their images for family, friends, the community, and the nation. In so doing, they have created a vast portrait array that together reveals the ever-changing face of America itself.

This exhibition, drawn from the Chrysler’s extensive photography collection, presents more than 100 portraits by American photographers. Some of the photographers' names are famous and their images well-known—Mathew Brady, Irving Penn, Gordon Parks, Bob Lerner, Ernest Withers, Mary Ellen Mark, Robert Mapplethorpe, Sal Lopes, Chuck Close—but a key to this exhibition is all the frames taken by ordinary people that depict ordinary events. Photography offers the chance to reveal the extraordinary in the day-to-day, and here is the art form at its most rewarding.

Outstanding work by Jeffrey Wolin

Jeffrey Wolin, Walter Thalheimer, Born 1925, Ochringen, Germany, 1993, toned gelatin silver print with marker. Click image to enlarge.

Thomas Daniel photo called Shipbuilder, Norfolk, Virginia

Thomas Daniel, Shipbuilder, Norfolk, Virginia, 1983, gelatin silver print. Click image to enlarge.