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Photographers of Genius at the Getty



Spring Premiere Presentation:
Photographers of Genius at the Getty
March 16–July 25, 2004


J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center
Exhibitions Pavilion


This special exhibition celebrates the 20th anniversary of the Getty's photographs collection with a showcase of work from groundbreaking visionaries who profoundly influenced their contemporaries and succeeding generations of artists. Focusing on 38 major photographers whose work is held in depth by the Getty, the exhibition traces the earliest years of the new medium in Europe to images of America made in the 1960s, revealing the tremendous impact of photography on the evolution of art.

Featured Photographers:   (in alphabetical order)

Manuel Alvarez Bravo
Diane Arbus
Eugène Atget
Anna Atkins
Hippolyte Bayard
Henry P. Bosse
Julia Margaret Cameron
Henri Cartier-Bresson
Thomas Eakins
Walker Evans
Roger Fenton
Joseph-Philibert Girault de Prangey
Hill &38; Adamson
Lewis Hine
Gertrude Käsebier
André Kertész
Dorothea Lange
The Langenheim brothers
Gustave Le Gray
Man Ray

László Moholy-Nagy
Eadweard J. Muybridge
Nadar (Gaspard Félix Tournachon)
Timothy H. O'Sullivan
Albert Renger-Patzsch
Alexander Rodchenko
August Sander
Charles Sheeler
Camille Silvy
Frederick Sommer
Alfred Stieglitz
Paul Strand
Josef Sudek
Doris Ulmann
Carleton Watkins
Weegee (Arthur Fellig)
Edward Weston

Photographs Collection:

Created in 1984, the photographs collection is one of the newest and strongest at the J. Paul Getty Museum, featuring about 35,000 individual prints, 1,500 daguerreotypes and other cased objects, 30,000 stereographs and cartes-de-visite, and 475 albums containing almost 40,000 mounted photographs. The collection has placed the Getty on the map as a leading center of connoisseurship and study in the history of photography, from its experimental beginnings in England and France of the early 1840s to the social documentary tradition of the 20th century.

Web Site:

A specially created Web site for this exhibition will be accessible on beginning March 9. It provides information on many of the 38 photographers featured, with links to special pages that highlight the artist's contribution to the field of photography. In some cases, special videos will be available to provide further insight into the selected artist's work. Visitors can take a closer look at some of the works on view using a special zoom-in feature, and also find details about special events planned in conjunction with the exhibition.

Exhibition Catalogue:

A richly illustrated book will accompany the exhibition. Photographers of Genius at the Getty, published by the J. Paul Getty Museum, includes 116 illustrations with interpretive text by Weston Naef, curator of both the exhibition and the Museum's photographs collection. In addition, the book functions as a reference guide for the Getty Museum's photographs collection, with a complete list of exhibitions and publications produced by the Getty relevant to the 38 artists represented in this book and exhibition, and a comprehensive list of photographers held in depth in the Museum's collection. The book will be available in April 2004 in hardcover for $60.00 and in paperback for $35.00 in the Getty Museum Bookstore, online at, or by calling 800-223-3431 or 310-440-7059.

Related Exhibition:

Recent Acquisitions: Eugène Atget, Brett Weston, William Garnett, Milton Rogovin
February 3&8211;May 30, 2004
This exhibition features recently acquired work from four major figures of 20th-century photography. Included are Atget's haunting garden views and Parisian street scenes; modernist cityscapes by Weston; abstract landscapes by Garnett; and Rogovin's documentation of storefront churches and worldwide survey of miners. While providing insight into the working methods of these influential artists, the exhibition simultaneously highlights the diverse ways in which their work entered the Getty's photographs collection.


The Photography Series:

Thursday, March 25, 2004, 7:00 p.m.
Weston Naef, curator of photographs, J. Paul Getty Museum
Naef, who has been the museum's curator of photographs since the inception of the department 20 years ago and is chief curator for Photographers of Genius at the Getty, will discuss genius and the art of photography. In this lecture, he will discuss the inspiration behind the exhibition and how the images and photographers on display were selected for inclusion.

Thursday, April 22, 2004, 7:00 p.m.
Mark Haworth-Booth, curator of photographs, Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Haworth-Booth will discuss the first "Golden Age" of photography. Images from this period in the history of photography can be seen in the exhibition Photographers of Genius at the Getty and include works by Gustave Le Gray, Nadar (Gaspard Félix Tournachon), and Camille Silvy.

Thursday, May 6, 2004, 7:00 p.m.
Sandra Phillips, curator of photography, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
Phillips discusses photographs from the 1930s to the 1960s. In the exhibition Photographers of Genius at the Getty, this period is represented by images by Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, Weegee, and Diane Arbus, to name a few.

Note: On the evenings of each of these three lectures, the exhibition Photographers of Genius at the Getty will remain open to visitors until 9:00 p.m.

Special Events:

Family Festival
Saturday, March 27, 2004, 10:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.
Museum Courtyard
Experience the thrill of capturing light on paper and stopping time—just as the first pioneers of photography did in the 19th century—in special zoetrope and cyanotype workshops. Hear the music of the American South and the Scottish highlands as well as sea chanteys in this exploration of 150 years of imagery and history. Produced by Community Arts Resources, this event is free.

Film Festival: Portraits + Visions: Photography into Film
Friday, April 23, 2004, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, April 24, 2004, 4:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, April 25, 2004, noon
Harold M. Williams Auditorium
This four-part film series brings to life the subjects and settings from the exhibition Photographers of Genius at the Getty. Contrasting biographical documentaries including Lewis Hine, Doris Ulmann, and Manuel Alvarez Bravo with rarely seen films by photographers such as László Moholy-Nagy and Weegee, the series mirrors the history of photography and reveals the cinematic eye of its innovators. This event is free (parking is $5.00). Seating reservations are required (limit four seats per person). Call 310-440-7300 or visit to make reservations, beginning March 25, 2004 (after 9:00 a.m. Pacific time).

Panel Discussion: The Chase and the Capture
Sunday, May 2, 2004, 4:00 p.m.
Harold M. Williams Auditorium
Musician, photographer, and collector Graham Nash, collector Carla Emil, and Getty Curator of Photographs Weston Naef will discuss approaches to collecting photographs. This discussion will be moderated by Getty Visiting Lecturer Barbara Isenberg. Call 310-440-7300 or visit to make reservations, beginning April 23, 2004 (after at 9:00 a.m. Pacific time).

Point-of-View Talks:

Point-of-View Talks feature artists and leaders in the arts community offering their perspective on works of art at the J. Paul Getty Museum. Talks are held at 6:00 and 7:30 p.m. in the Museum galleries. Sign up at the Museum Information Desk beginning at 4:30 p.m. on the day of the event. For Photographers of Genius at the Getty, the following talk is planned:

Friday, April 30, 2004
Selma Holo, director of the University of Southern California Fisher Gallery and Graduate Museum Studies Program, will offer her perspective on the exhibition.

Friday, May 14, 2004
Linda Connor, a photographer and teacher who photographs ancient and sacred places around the world, will lead a discussion of the exhibition.

Exhibition Tours:

One-hour exhibition overviews, led by gallery teachers and curators, are offered Tuesdays through Sundays at 1:30 p.m. beginning March 23. Tours meet under the stairs in the Museum Entrance Hall.

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John Giurini
Getty Communications Dept.