Photography’s Last Century: The Ann Tenenbaum and Thomas H. Lee Collection

At The Met Fifth Avenue
March 10–June 28, 2020


Presented by Bill Dobbins

Beginning in the early 1970s, collector art photography started to be become business.  Prints which hardly cost anything 10 years before suddenly became expensive.  This was due in part to the efforts of art curatorSam Wagstaff. who also became famous for his close personal relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe.  The prints with the most value to collectors are generally vintage.  You can make endless copies of photographic prints but not prints dated, say 1960 or 1860.  But the market for collector photos has become so hot that even digital copies of vintage photos in limited editions, especially when created by the original artist can be quite valuable.
Art photography has become an important aspect of photo collections and found its  place in galleries and in museums, like “The Met” – The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
Of course, with most photo images now being created digitally, work originally created on film tends to have a special place in the photo art market.
But the energy of the collector photo market has focused increase interest in historic photographs and photographers and spurred sales of this vintage work. And the more attention this has brought to photographers who may not have been that celebrated in the past.  The collection featured in this post is just one example of the emergence of a growing and thriving  interest in a variety of important art photographers.

Exhibition Objects
Exhibitions are free with Museum admission.

Eden, Colorado

Robert Adams (American, born Orange, New Jersey, 1937)

Date: 1968 Medium: Gelatin silver print

Boulevard de Strasbourg

Eugène Atget (French, Libourne 1857–1927 Paris)

Date: 1926 Medium: Gelatin silver print

Noto, Sicily, September 5, 1947

Richard Avedon (American, New York 1923–2004 San Antonio, Texas)

Date: September 5, 1947, printed 1962Medium: Gelatin silver print

Kissing Series: Susan. Nose Touching Palm Frond (Centered)

John Baldessari (American, National City, California 1931–2020 Los Angeles, California)

Date: 1975 Medium: Three gelatin silver prints


Herbert Bayer (American (born Austria), Haag 1900–1985 Montecito, California)

Date: 1937 Medium: Gelatin silver print

[Rue de Valois, Paris]

Ilse Bing (German, 1899–1998)

Date: 1932 Medium: Gelatin silver print

Dipsacus laciniatus (Cutleaf Teasel)

Karl Blossfeldt (German, 1865–1932)

Date: 1928 Medium: Gelatin silver print

Soho Bedroom

Bill Brandt (British (born Germany), Hamburg 1904–1983 London)

Date: 1932 Medium: Gelatin silver print

[Cobblestone Street, Paris]

Brassaï (French (born Romania), Brașov 1899–1984 Côte d’Azur)

Date: 1931–32 Medium: Gelatin silver print

Guest 12:38 pm 8th November 1996 (MB)

Christopher Bucklow (British, born 1957)

Date: 1996 Medium: Silver dye bleach print

[Book Maquette for Tulsa]

Larry Clark (American, born 1943)

Date: 1971 Medium: Fifty-nine gelatin silver prints

Tamara Toumanova (Daguerreotype-Object)

Joseph Cornell (American, Nyack, New York 1903–1972 Flushing, New York)

Date: October 1941 Medium: Construction with photomechanical reproduction, mirror, rhinestones or sequins, and tinted glass in artist’s frame


Gregory Crewdson (American, born 1962)

Date: 2005 Medium: Chromogenic print

The Woman Driver

Pierre Dubreuil (French, 1872–1944)

Date: 1928 Medium: Bromoil print


William Eggleston (American, born Memphis, Tennessee, 1939)

Date: 1970 Medium: Dye transfer print

[Artist’s Book]

Elliott Erwitt (American, born France, 1928)

Date: ca. 1950 Medium: Thirty gelatin silver prints

Photographer’s Window, Savannah

Walker Evans (American, St. Louis, Missouri 1903–1975 New Haven, Connecticut)

Date: 1936 Medium: Gelatin silver print

Self-Portraits, Juan-les-Pins, France

Walker Evans (American, St. Louis, Missouri 1903–1975 New Haven, Connecticut)

Date: 1927 Medium: Four gelatin silver prints