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Brief History of Photography Collection

The museum’s distinguished collection of photography—which you support as a member of Focus—makes Philadelphia an internationally renowned center for the study and appreciation of the art form.

Artist and collector Dorothy Norman founded the Alfred Stieglitz Center at the museum in 1968 with gifts from her collection and funds for further acquisitions. Since then, photography has been an increasingly important aspect of our collection and exhibitions program. Her foundational gift built on the 1949 gift from Georgia O’Keeffe of sixty-nine works by Alfred Stieglitz. In the seven decades since, our holdings have grown dramatically and now include work by Ansel Adams, Diane Arbus, Roy DeCarava, Robert Frank, Cindy Sherman, Wolfgang Tillmans, Carrie Mae Weems, and many other artists.

In 2001, the museum obtained a magnificent cache of 2,500 photographs amassed by collector and gallerist Julien Levy. More than 130 artists are represented, among them Eugène Atget, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Joseph Cornell, Man Ray, Lee Miller, and László Moholy-Nagy.

Another cornerstone of the collection is the archive of American photographer and filmmaker Paul Strand. With nearly 4,000 works of art by Strand, we have become the world’s largest and most comprehensive repository of his oeuvre.

Your Focus membership dues contribute to the growth of the collection and represent an enduring investment in photography at the museum.


For more information, please contact Development by phone at 215-684-7750 or by e-mail at .