Forever “Egypt!”: Works from the Collection of Harold Allen



Ryerson and Burnham Libraries (Weekdays only)

This installation explores the Egyptomania craze of the early to mid-20th century, featuring Egypt-themed objects and designs collected by photographer and art historian Harold Allen (1912–1998), whose work focuses on Egyptian Revival architecture. Egyptomania refers to fanaticism for objects fashioned in a stereotypical ancient Egyptian style, and the United States experienced several periods of Egyptomania in the early to mid-20th century—most notably around the unearthing of King Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922. Allen’s collection, which is housed in the Ryerson and Burnham Archives, includes many documentary photographs that he took in what he called a “frustrating attempt to do the impossible”: to photograph all of the Egyptian-style buildings ever built or planned in the United States. This exhibition of works from Allen’s collection presents these architectural documentation photographs alongside magazines and other print and mass-manufactured material, and exceptional examples of Egyptian-themed Wedgwood, ceramics, and memorabilia.


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