The AGO's commitment to photography recently received new emphasis. Gifts to the collection have built upon mainstream modernist traditions while exploring alternative traditions of vernacular, or amateur, photography. Through this development in our collection in these two distinct ways, visitors are able to creatively explore the ways photographic imagery has become increasingly important in our lives. An anonymous gift of nearly 1,000 vintage photographs by renowned Czech photographer Josef Sudek – plus the incomparable archive of nearly 20,000 social documentary photographs commissioned by the Klinsky Press Agency between the First and Second World Wars – allows visitors to experience the evolution of photographic style in a way never before possible at the AGO.
Recent gifts of photographic albums from the First World War, social history photographic postcards, and a growing collection of everyday objects that use photography to tell personal stories, make a powerful argument for how we increasingly use photographs to communicate ideas in contemporary life. In the transformed AGO, the space for exhibitions from our permanent collection of photography will more than triple.
Unknown photographer: Associated Press, London, England, Supporting the team: Well-dressed English lads yelling support for their team, 1930s, gelatine silver print, 15.2 x 20.4 cm. The Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto. Art Gallery of Ontario, Anonymous Gift, 2005, ©2007 Art Gallery of Ontario.
Alfred Eisenstaedt (German, 1898-1995), Examination of a German dancer in the Third Reich: A tough examination for the dancer. Far left of the table sits Karl Schonherr, President of the German Association of Choir Singers and Dancers, 1934 gelatin silver print, 23.5 x 16.5 cm. The Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto. Anonymous Gift, 2002, © AGO Reproduction Restricted.
Josef Sudek (Czech, 1896-1976). Still Life: Egg, Glass, 1950. Gelatin silver contact print. 9.2 x 9.2 cm. The Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto. Anonymous Gift, 2000, © 2007 Art Gallery of Ontario.