JOHNSON MUSEUM PHOTO COLLECTION

The Class of 1962 Photography Fund at the Herbert F. Johnson Art Museum (Photo Fund) stands out as a class gift project that will not only endure, but has already secured our legacy.

With a modest gift from the CGF of $500, the Photo Fund was created in 1977 as a vehicle for purchasing fine-art images for a class photography collection at the Museum. Those council members probably never dreamed of how distinguished our collection would eventually become as a result of an initial acquisition of three notable photographs. Since then, the breath and repute of our collection has been remarkable. Currently comprised of 30 outstanding historic and contemporary photographs by distinguished and acclaimed photographers, including Edward Steichen, Lotte Jacobi, Andreas Feininger, Bruce Davidson, and Gordon Parks. CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE JOHNSON MUSEUM CLASS PHOTO COLLECTION.

In recognition of its importance, in 2015 the Museum published The Class of 1962 Fund for Photography at the Johnson Museum of Art, a brochure highlighting our Class photography collection and its benefit to the museum (see Johnson Brochure). An image from our collection by acclaimed photographer Frederick Sommer was included in A Handbook of the Collections, a 352-page overview of all the Museum’s collections, published by the Museum in 2018.

With a total investment of almost $60,000, the monetary value of the collection has grown exponentially. A few years ago, Swann Auction Galleries, an international auction house known for its sales of acclaimed photographs, advertised the sale of a collotype by 19th C photographer Eadweard Muybridge in The New Yorker magazine. Estimated value: $30,00-45,000! A collotype by Eadweard Muybridge was one of those three photographs the Fund purchased in 1978!

New images are carefully and thoughtfully selected and discussed with an eye towards what will enhance our collection and the Museum’s needs as a whole. Going forward, all new purchases will be in honor of our upcoming reunions. At out 55th Reunion, the featured speakers Stephanie Wiles, former Johnson Museum Director, and Nancy Green, the senior curator at the Museum who has been instrumental in helping us to build our collection, presented two newly purchased images by Albert Renger-Patzch and Minor White, among others, and discussed the value and importance of our collection to the university. Photos by acclaimed British photographer John Davies and Hungarian avant-garde photographer Ada Foto have already been added to our collection in honor of our 60th.

At some future date, the CGF and other class treasury accounts will have to be put out of business. As of now, the Class Council has signaled its intention to name this exceptional Photography Fund as the recipient of these funds. Here’s to the Class of 1962 for a job well done. Bravo!

The Cornell Class of 1962 Photo Collection

Click for slide show of full-size enlargements.