Smithsonian American Art Museum Larry J West Photos

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The Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM) has acquired a large archive of photographs from the collection of Larry J. West. The images were taken by a number of prominent black photographers of the 19th and 20th centuries, including such figures as James P. Ball, Glenalvin Goodridge, and Augustus Washington.

The acquired works cover daguerreotypes, ambrotypes and tintypes, much of which documents or was linked to the abolitionist movements and the Underground Railroad. “As a historian, I particularly appreciate Larry’s persistent pursuit of works of art and material culture that serve to illuminate an important moment in this nation’s history and will help future historians and visitors to the Smithsonian to understand the early American experience in a more inclusive way, “said Lonnie G. Bunch, secretary of the Smithsonian in a statement on the acquisition.

The collection of 286 photographs offers a rarely seen glimpse into the culture, fashion, and families of many black and white Americans from the 1840s to the early 1920s. SAAM Director Stephanie Stebich adds that these photos ” show how much photography was democratized at the time and how accessible it was to the general public “.

Complementing the images are the objects used to frame them. From various richly crafted frames to elegant headbands and gold-lined pendants and pins.

Other artistic news, Paul Insect exhibits a new work at the Allouche Benias gallery in Athens.


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