Sitter and Subject in Nineteenth-Century Photography

Ongoing – This exhibition features some 60 nineteenth-century daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, and tintypes. It addresses several facets of the public’s insatiable appetite for portraits of loved ones and strangers alike.

Ongoing
The Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, Florida

In conjunction with the 23rd Daguerreian Society Annual Symposium which was held in St. Petersburg October 27-30, this exhibition features some 60 nineteenth-century daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, and tintypes. It addresses several facets of the public’s insatiable appetite for portraits of loved ones and strangers alike. Flawless artistic and studio portraits will be on view.

Photographer unknown, American Two Portraits of Tradesmen (c. 1880) Tintype Gift of Dr. Robert L. and Chitranee Drapkin from The Ludmila Dandrew and Chitranee Drapkin Collection

Highlights include a rare portrait of James Cutting, the inventor of the ambrotype, by Mathew Brady and a pair of important full-plate daguerreotype portraits by Southworth and Hawes on loan from The Dandrew-Drapkin Collection. One features the statesman Daniel Webster, the other, Alvin Adams, the shipping magnate whose company later became American Express. Other formal portraits of sitters are an elegant likeness of a lady by John Jabez Edwin Mayall and a playful photograph of Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky by Alphonse Plumier. In contrast to these formal portraits, the exhibition also presents images of anonymous subjects, mainly workers and models made by unknown “operators.”

Alphonse Plumier (Belgian, 1819–1877) Modest Mussorgsky and Friend (late 1860s) Daguerreotype Gift of Dr. Robert L. and Chitranee Drapkin from The Ludmila Dandrew and Chitranee Drapkin Collection

This is the second in a series of exhibitions drawn from The Ludmila Dandrew and Chitranee Drapkin Collection. These recent gifts have utterly transformed the MFA’s existing photography collection.