Exhibitions > Timothy H. O'Sullivan: The King Survey Photographs
Timothy H. O'Sullivan: The King Survey Photographs
Saturday, October 22, 2011–Sunday, January 15, 2012
Timothy H. O’Sullivan (1840–1882) was one of the most important American photographers of the nineteenth century. While employed by Mathew B. Brady and Alexander Gardner, O’Sullivan made iconic images of the American Civil War. After the war, O’Sullivan served as the official photographer for three U.S. government survey expeditions: the Geological Exploration of the Fortieth Parallel (or “King Survey”) of 1867–69 and 1872; the Darien (Isthmus of Panama) Expedition of 1870; and the Geological Surveys West of the 100th Meridian (or “Wheeler Survey”) of 1871 and 1873–74. His images of the West are of great historical and artistic significance: working alongside geologists, naturalists, and surveyors, O’Sullivan produced some of the earliest and most influential photographs of the American frontier.
O’Sullivan’s work in the King Survey—which covered an 800-mile-long swath of land, roughly straddling the path of the transcontinental rail route, from southern Wyoming to the California line—is of particular importance to his career and to the history of American photography. His photographs of barren landscapes, notable or curious geological formations, and mining operations represent a raw, powerful vision of this little-understood territory increasingly occupied by white Americans. In addition, these images have remained challenging touchstones in photographic history—a perfect, if enigmatic, union of documentary and artistic intentions, fact and interpretation. While a few of these images have been widely reproduced, original prints are remarkably rare. Timothy H. O’Sullivan: The King Survey Photographs includes photographs contextualized with contemporaneous survey reports and topographical and geological atlases that show visual depictions of the land across media.
This exhibition has been organized by the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. In Chicago, this exhibition is made possible by the Smart Family Foundation.
This exhibition has been organized by the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.
Generous support for the presentation at the Art Institute of Chicago is provided by the Smart Family Foundation.
Timothy H. O'Sullivan. Pyramid Lake, c. 1867–69. The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri. Gift of Hallmark Cards, Inc.
20 hours 48 min ago The Art Institute of Chicago FRIDAY—Kick off the holidays in Chicago with a time-honored tradition as we don our beloved lions with traditional evergreen wreaths. Warm up with free hot chocolate, enjoy live music and family activities in the museum, and visit our Neapolitan crèche and the Holiday Thorne Rooms.
WREATHING OF THE LIONS—http://bit.ly/1ATN0Qy
1 day 13 hours ago The Art Institute of Chicago We are thrilled to welcome internationally recognized Chinese art scholar Tao Wang as the Pritzker Chair of the Department of Asian Art and Curator of Chinese Art, as the department aggressively seeks to expand the reach and raise the profile of our Asian collections and programs.
“I am thrilled to join such a storied institution,” said Wang. “This is an exciting time in the field of Asian art, and I look forward to using my knowledge and connections to enhance the Art Institute’s already distinguished collection of Asian art, as well as to promote its research in this area.”