About the Photographer
Beaumont Newhall was a leading art historian, curator, and, in his later years, photographer. In 1937, Newhall organized the first comprehensive exhibition of eight hundred photographic works at the Museum of Modern Art, where he would soon after be appointed director of the newly formed photography department. That exhibition and its accompanying catalog were pivotal in securing photography’s place within the arts. Supported by a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship, Newhall expanded the original catalog into a book, The History of Photography, 1839 to the Present. The first textbook on the subject, Newhall’s history has undergone numerous revisions and editions and today remains a standard in the field. From 1948 to 1971, he was curator and director of the International Museum of Photography at George Eastman House. Later in life, Newhall would devote himself to his own photography, formalist and tightly composed black and white images of people and architecture. While he was interested in making photographs--even setting up his own darkroom in the men’s lavatory at MOMA when he was first hired as a librarian in 1935--Newhall did not have his own exhibition until he was seventy-years-old. He favored the formalism of art photography and was a strong advocate for the Modernist tradition, preferences which are reflected in his own work.