Beaumont Newhall - 8/1/2017

No discussion about the history of 20th-century art in New Mexico would be complete without mentioning the legacy of the University of New Mexico's photography program. UNM has attracted some of the biggest names in 20th-century photography to New Mexico.

One of their many prestigious faculty members was photographer, curator and art historian, Beaumont Newhall. Newhall joined the UNM art history department in 1971 after he had made a name in the field as Curator of Photography at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and Director of the George Eastman Museum.

Newhall moved to Santa Fe in 1975 and stayed here until his death in 1993. During that time, he became involved with the museum in multiple capacities. Newhall came here several times as a guest curator and lecturer, and his own photographs became part of our exhibitions and collection.

In 1984, the Museum was one of several venues for the Smithsonian's traveling exhibition, Beaumont Newhall: A Retrospective. During the run of the show, prominent scholars in photographic history presented original research on Newhall's contributions and influences in the field for a groundbreaking symposium held here and at UNM.

In 1989, Newhall curated a traveling exhibition about Edward Weston's photography. The museum hosted both the exhibition as well as a lecture by Newhall about Weston. In 1992, Newhall curated the exhibition, Proto-Modern Photography at the Museum. Finally, when Newhall passed away, we put together an exhibition in his honor, Beaumont Newhall: Colleagues and Friends.

Today, the Museum holds several of Beaumont Newhall's photographs in our excellent art collection. Newhall's personal library, currently at the Santa Fe University of Art and Design, will greatly complement the art and institutional archives we already own. Even better, his library will remain in Santa Fe and be available to the public at our library.

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