American Photography: Recent Acquisitions

Detail: Children Swinging on Trees at the Lake, 1995. Bruce Davidson (born 1933). Museum Purchase, N0002.2000.

Fenimore Art Museum has been actively collecting photographs by contemporary artists since 1998. Each new work enriches the Museum’s photographic collection by adding to the evolution of photographic techniques and subject matter from the dawn of photography to the present day. 


The images in this exhibition are the highlights of the museum’s acquisitions of this new material. From Bruce Davidson, who was praised by John Szarkowski, former Director of the Photography Department at the Museum of Modern Art, to Milo Stewart, Sr., a renowned Cooperstown documentary photographer for 30-plus-years, each artist has contributed his or her unique perspective on the art of photography. The portraits, landscapes, genre scenes, cityscapes and abstract images harmonize with the museum’s painting collections of the same subject matter.


The photography collection at Fenimore Art Museum numbers nearly 125,000 images which range from mid 19th century daguerreotypes and tintypes to 21st century digital prints. The heart of the collection is a group of several thousand glass plate negatives from the Cooperstown photography firm of Smith & Telfer, which was in operation for over 100 years.