Collecting photographs has been a Haverford tradition since 1870. Today, a Class One circulating photographic research library augments a 5,000-print photography collection representing more than 500 photographers spanning the medium’s history. The College’s Special Collections also contains related materials consisting of manuscripts, letters and first editions by prominent figures in the history of photography, such as Daguerre, Talbot, Alfred Stieglitz, Francis Frith and Maxfield Parrish (Haverford Class of 1892).
Since 1995, Michael Fogel, Haverford Class of 1958, and his son, Rafael Fogel, Class of 1992, have been providing funds for the acquisition of fine art photographs to add to the College’s collection. The result of this sustained giving is a group of 49 works by 38 photographers spanning the history of the medium from its maturation in the 19th century to the present day. When seen together, these purchases constitute a collection within a collection that mirrors a wide range of photographic genres from travel, to portraiture, to conceptual and post-modern work.
The Fogel funds have been used to acquire works that have enriched Haverford’s encyclopedic collection by allowing it to grow in new directions and to augment its considerable core strengths.
For example, the College had long owned a 100-print set of the motion studies of Eadweard Muybridge, who had first established his reputation as a landscape photographer of the American West. But it was not until the 2009 purchase, funded by the Fogels, of an 1872 Muybridge photograph of a Yosemite landscape that the photographer’s earlier work was available for comparison with the later work in the collection.
In addition, the acquisition of Italian neorealist photography by artists such as Mario De Biasi provides an essential cultural context for works in the collection by Robert Frank and Henri Cartier-Bresson. The photograms of Dadaist, Christian Schad, presage Man Ray and Lee Miller by a decade and offer vivid examples of work created from found and readymade materials. The work of modern masters like Paul Strand and Elliott Erwitt demonstrate the humanistic and visual complexity of mid-20th century photography and its complementary straight photographic aesthetic. The work of contemporary photographers William Wegman, Zeke Berman and Judith Taylor raise challenging questions about the ontology of perception in photographs.
The Fogel Collection also contains photographs by a diverse array of Haverford alumni, including Genevieve B. Katherman ’92 and Andrew Borowiec ’78, a John Simon Guggenheim Foundation fellow in photography.
Forty of the compelling images from the Fogel Collection will be on display in this exhibition, representing the best that is photography, as well as the generous support of alumni Michael and Rafael Fogel.