Made in America 1900-1950. Photographs from the NGC.

Ottawa - December 7, 2011

Until April 1, 2012

In the first five decades of the 20th century photography came into its own – both as an art form and as a tool to document social and political change. American photographers were exploring both the poetic and transformative expressiveness of the medium, as well as recording the growth and change of the country in its various phases of industrial development. On view until April 1, 2012, Made in America 1900-1950: Photographs from the National Gallery of Canada looks at both approaches, and the divisions between the two, as they are necessarily porous and somewhat arbitrary.

“The Gallery’s collection is so rich in 20th century American photographs that it needs an exhibition in two parts and a catalogue in two volumes. This first presentation focuses on the period between 1900 and 1950,” noted NGC director Marc Mayer. “This comprehensive collection has been amassed in large part through the generosity of brilliant collectors.”

“Each of [the decades] is characterized by tremendous growth, change, and creative thought about the medium and its reception in the United States,” noted curator Ann Thomas in the catalogue, American Photographs 1900-1950.

It was a period of great technical and technological change: such as the introduction of the personal 35mm camera in the early 1920s, following the German model developed by Leica, and Ansel Adams’ and Fred Archer’s creation of the zone system to determine optimal film exposure and development.

About the exhibition
Composed of over 130 photographs, two issues of Camera Work, one issue of Manuscripts, and several period cameras, the exhibition Made in America celebrates the exceptional contribution that American photographers made to the history of art in the 20th century. Made been 1900-1950, these photographs represent an extraordinarily fertile period in the evolution of photography. They include stunning works by Alfred Stieglitz, Edward Steichen, Clarence White, Paul Strand, Walker Evans, Margaret Bourke-White, Dorothea Lange, Berenice Abbott, Ansel Adams, Lisette Model, Weegee, and members of New York’s Photo League.

Made in America is the fourth in a series of exhibitions and catalogues presenting the Gallery’s outstanding collection of international photographs. It follows Modernist Photographs (2007), 19th Century French Photographs (2010), and 19th Century British Photographs (2011).

Following the exhibition at the Gallery, Made in America will be presented at the Art Gallery of Windsor from 3 June to 3 September, 2012.

About the curator
Ann Thomas is curator of photographs at the National Gallery of Canada. She has organized numerous exhibitions and installations in this capacity and is the author of several catalogues and publications such as Lisette Model (1990), No Man’s Land: Lynne Cohen Photographs (2001), and Modernist Photographs from the National Gallery of Canada (2007). She is the curator, author and editor of Beauty of Another Order: Photography in Science (1996) She has also co-authored a number of publications. Among various current projects, she is most excited about this continuing series of exhibitions with accompanying catalogues from the National Gallery’s collection of photographs, and an independent research project on photography and art in the post-electrification era.

The exhibition is accompanied by a 196-page full colour catalogue, written by NGC curator Ann Thomas. American Photographs 1900-1950 from the National Gallery of Canada is also available in French (Photographies americaines 1900-1950. Du Musée des beaux-arts du Canada). It is the fourth catalogue in the series dedicated to NGC’s photographs collection. It is available in soft cover at a cost of $49 at the NGC Bookstore or online at

Film series
The Gallery will host a series of six films about several of the photographers whose work is included in the exhibition, on Saturdays at 3pm in the Lecture Hall, on the following dates: January 21 and 28, February 11 and 25, and March 3 and 10.

Admission and opening hours
Tickets are $9 for adults, $7 for seniors and full-time students, $4 for youths aged 12 to 19 years, and $18 for families (two adults and three children). Admission is free of charge for children under 12 and for Members of the Gallery, and on Thursdays from 5 pm to 8 pm. This includes admission to the NGC Collection. Open Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm and until 8 pm on Thursdays.

About the National Gallery of Canada
The National Gallery of Canada is home to one of the most important collections of historical and contemporary Canadian art, including the extensive collection of the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography. The Gallery also maintains Canada's premier collection of European Art from the 14th to the 21st century, as well as important works of American, Asian and Indigenous Art and renowned international collections of prints, drawings and photographs. Created in 1880, the National Gallery of Canada has played a key role in Canadian culture for well over a century. Among its principal missions is to increase access to excellent works of art for all Canadians. To do so, it maintains the largest touring art exhibition programme in the world. For more information:
Source: Ann Thomas, curator, National Gallery of Canada. American Photographs 1900-1950. From the National Gallery of Canada. National Gallery of Canada, p. 11.

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