“The Gernsheim Collection,” co-published by the Harry Ransom Center and the University of Texas Press, has been awarded an Alfred H. Barr Jr. Award, which honors a distinguished catalog in the history of art published during the past year.
Edited by Ransom Center Senior Research Curator Roy Flukinger, “The Gernsheim Collection” coincided with the Ransom Center’s 2010 exhibition “Discovering the Language of Photography: The Gernsheim Collection,” which explored the history of photography through the Center’s foundational photography collection.
“The Barr Award is a great honor for the university, as well as for the Ransom Center,” said Flukinger. “The Ransom Center has a longstanding commitment to scholarship and learning, and it is rewarding to have this recognition by the College Art Association.”
The Gernsheim collection is one of the most important collections of photography in the world. Amassed by the renowned husband-and-wife team of Helmut and Alison Gernsheim between 1945 and 1963, it contains an unparalleled range of images, beginning with the world’s earliest-known photograph from nature, made by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce in 1826.
The Gernsheim collection includes 35,000 major and representative photographs from the 19th and 20th centuries; a research library of 3,600 books, journals and published articles; about 250 autographed letters and manuscripts; and more than 200 pieces of early photographic equipment.
Its encyclopedic scope makes the Gernsheim collection one of the world’s premier resources for the study and appreciation of the development of photography.
The book includes more than 125 full-page plates from the collection accompanied by extensive annotations in which Flukinger describes each image’s place in the evolution of photography and within the collection. The catalog also traces the Gernsheims’ passion for collecting and their career as pioneering historians of photography, showing how their efforts significantly contributed to the acceptance of photography as a fine art and as a field worthy of intellectual study. The book also includes a preface by former Ransom Center Curator of Photography David Coleman, a foreword by George Eastman House Curator of Photographs Alison Nordström and an afterword by former Victoria and Albert Museum Curator Mark Haworth-Booth. The book is part of the Harry Ransom Center Photography Series with UT Press.
High-resolution press images from the book are available.