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Masterpiece Theater Redux: “Chefs-d’œuvre photographiques du MoMA : la collection Thomas Walther”, Jeu de Paume, September 14, 2021 to February 13, 2022

Abigail Solomon-Godeau

From the Journal: Rundbrief Fotografie

Published online:

07 Jul 2022



The recent exhibition at the Musée Jeu de Paume in Paris, entitled „Chefs-d’œuvre photographiques du MoMA: la collection Thomas Walther“, the first presented under the new directorship of Quentin Bajac, was well received. A closer examination of the exhibition and its premises, however, beginning with the title’s grandiose term “masterpieces”, raises a number of issues when a private collector’s sales to a major museum are presented in ways that occult the commercial underpinnings of the purchase and sale of private collections. We may also ask if a collector’s personal selection of photographs from a specific time period -- here, 1900 to 1940 – operates to replace history with connoisseurship. Last, such an exhibition seems to suggest a different direction for the museum which under the previous directorship of Marta Gili strove for gender equity in its exhibitions, and a distinctly ecumenical approach to the medium.

Other articles in this issue:

Rundbrief Fotografie Issues

Volume 31 (2024)
Volume 30 (2023)
Volume 29 (2022)

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