Georgetown alumnus Jeffrey S. Perry (C’1982, Parent’2015), a member of the Georgetown University Library Board, has made extraordinary gifts of vintage photographic prints to the Library for use in teaching and research. Beginning in 2010, Mr. Perry gave the first of his annual donations, and the collection now totals over 574 images.
With more than two dozen American and European artists, the collection is primarily 20th-century in scope. The collection includes global aerial landmarks by Marilyn Bridges; avant-garde Germany viewed by Ilse Bing and August Sander; World War II Russia captured at the front by the prominent photojournalist Dmitri Baltermants; and much more. There is in-depth representation of important American street photographers such as Joel Meyerowitz, as well as mid-century American portraits and domestic groups by Doris Ulmann and Michael Disfarmer. This wonderful array of historic photographs provides a rich resource for students in history, art history, museum studies and other fields of study.
As part of my (Katie O'Hara) graduate studies in Art and Museum Studies and Art Collection Curatorial internship, I scanned over two-thirds of the photographs in the Perry Collection and created six themed online exhibitions. When creating them, I wanted to highlight the way the Perry Collection interacts with the rest of the Georgetown art collection. This idea was came when I looked at Jacques Lowe’s Nun in Courtyard (1960) gelatin silver rint that depicts Sister Corita Kent. I knew that we had one of her works hanging up in the library already so I was excited about pairing photography subjects with works in the collection.
This worked well for the related exhibition Art World. In this theme, I wanted to draw the connection between photographers and painters and the rest of the art world. Earlier, I had come across an abstract painting by William Witt in Mr. Perry's collection. It was then that I realized when creating my exhibition, I could pair this abstract art anomaly with one of Witt’s photographs titled The Art Critic, which depicts a dog and two women in a gallery. This illustrated the multi-discipline, inter-related aspect of art making.