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Family Portrait

June 8–November 10, 2013

Family Portrait examines the many ways photographers picture family, from amateurs who document their own households, to progressive reformers who make views of domestic life to encourage social change, to artists who explore the deeply personal and often private nature of familial relationships. It includes photographs that span the history of the medium, beginning with an early daguerreotype portrait of sisters by the Philadelphia studio of William and Frederick Langenheim through a contemporary portrait of a wealthy couple and their children by Tina Barney.

The centerpiece of Family Portrait is a selection of pages from the mid-1850s family album of British amateur photographers Lucy and Charlotte Bridgeman. A promised gift in memory of Anne d'Harnoncourt, the Bridgeman album has never before been shown publicly and is a highlight of the museum's nineteenth-century photographic holdings.

The exhibition includes several Pictorialist interpretations of home life by figures such as Gertrude Käsebier, Alice Austin, and Robert S. Redfield; documentary photographs by Lewis Hine, Margaret Bourke-White, and Arthur Rothstein; and photographs by artists whose own family members served as subjects, including Harry Callahan, Robert Frank, Emmet Gowin, Sally Mann, and Nicholas Nixon. Other featured selections include iconic works by Diane Arbus, Henri Cartier-Bresson, William Klein, and Paul Strand.

Visitors are invited to take their own family portraits and share them on Instagram using #pmafamily. Search #pmafamily to see them all, or check out our favorites on Facebook and Twitter.

This exhibition is part of Art Splash, a suite of five family-friendly exhibitions, interactive art and play zones, and daily family programs.

Main Building


This exhibition received generous support from Lois G. and Julian A. Brodsky.


Amanda Bock, Horace W. Goldsmith Curatorial Fellow in Photography; andPeter Barberie, The Brodsky Curator of Photographs, Alfred Stieglitz Center

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