The Howard Greenberg Collection, comprising 447 photographs by 191 artists, has been acquired by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Spanning the years 1900 to 1980, the collection includes rare prints of modernist masterpieces and 20th-century classics. The acquisition is funded by a major gift from the Phillip Leonian and Edith Rosenbaum Leonian Charitable Trust.
The Howard Greenberg Collection, amassed over three decades, includes many of the most important artists to work in the field of photography including Berenice Abbott, Diane Arbus, Manuel Álvarez Bravo, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Bruce Davidson, Walker Evans, Margaret Bourke-White, Robert Frank, Consuelo Kanaga, André Kertész, Dorothea Lange, Helen Levitt, Ralph Eugene Meatyard, Gordon Parks, Eugene Smith, Edward Steichen, Weegee, Edward Weston, Garry Winogrand, and numerous others.
One of the most notable aspects of the collection is the rare nature of so many of the prints – whether it is the earliest or first print ever made of the image, the only print ever made, the best existing print, or a uniquely unusual example. Social history and the human experience form an important thread of the collection presented though documentary photography and photojournalism. Major works from between the wars in Europe, among others, also trace the evolution of photography as an art form.
“The acquisition of these extraordinary works enriches a collection of art across time and cultures, at the highest level,” said Matthew Teitelbaum, Ann and Graham Gund Director, MFA, Boston. “Howard is a visionary collector, we will be proud to display these transformative images throughout the Museum’s galleries.”
“I am truly thrilled and delighted to have the MFA as the recipient of my personal collection of photographs,” said Howard Greenberg. “Reflecting the unique access I’ve had to so many treasures of 20th-century photography, the MFA will be a perfect resting place for the collection. Especially gratifying are the MFA’s plans for exhibition, publication and programming around the collection. This will enable me to continue a lifelong mission of education and allowing for a deeper comprehension of photography as art and a special medium.”
An exhibition of works from the Howard Greenberg Collection be on view at the MFA August 11, 2019 – December 16, 2019. An accompanying publication will include essays by Anne Havinga, Estrellita and Yousuf Karsh Chair, Department of Photography, and Kristen Gresh, Estrellita and Yousuf Karsh Curator of Photographs, along with an interview with Howard Greenberg.