History of photography snaps to life at museum

PULLMAN – WSU Museum of Art will display “A Brief History of Photography,” with items from the Joseph & Elaine Monsen Collection, Henry Art Gallery, and the Washington Art Consortium, Sept. 28 – Dec. 15. The exhibition reception will be held at 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 28, in the museum.

The Museum of Art will exhibit a wide array of works from the Monsen Collection as well as a selection of photographs from the Washington Art Consortium’s collection of ground-breaking photography from the 1970s. The exhibit will include images by unknown pioneers of the medium, masters of the 19th and 20th centuries and significant works by contemporary artists through the 1990s.

There will be a free exhibition walk-through with local photographer and recent recipient of a 2007 Washington State Arts Commission Artist Trust Grant, Zach Mazur, Oct. 10 at noon in the Museum of Art. Mazur will be explaining some of the history and relevance of a number of the works in the exhibition.

Stephen Chalmers, WSU Department of Fine Arts assistant professor, will give a presentation regarding the History of Photography exhibition, during Art á la Carté. This brown bag luncheon lecture will be held at 12:10 p.m.  Thursday, Oct. 18, in the Bundy Reading Room in Avery Hall. The event is free and open to the public.

In 1969, Joseph and Elaine Monsen of Seattle began collecting rare and influential photographs. Over the next four decades, their collection would grow to more than 1,500 works and become a comprehensive history, dating from the very beginning of photography in the 1840s to the present day.

In Joseph Monsen’s words, the collection reflects “a history of ideas” in photography, and includes most of the leading practitioners of photographic art. In the late 1970s, the Monsens began what would become an annual series of donations to the Henry Art Gallery at the University of Washington.

The uniqueness and breadth of the collection is underscored by Joseph Monsen, who said, “It is difficult today to create a collection reflecting the history of photography, as both price and scarcity make this task extremely complex. With both contemporary and historical photographs, we were able to acquire early before the market made prices unattainable. The unique thing about this collection is just that: we collected broadly and ahead of the curve for a long period of over 37 years. It has been our great passion and great fun.”

This exhibition is organized by the Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington, Seattle. Funding for this exhibit and programs has been provided by the Washington Art Consortium and the Friends of the Museum of Art.

For a full list of events during the exhibition period, please go to the Museum of Art Web site at http://www.wsu.edu/artmuse/.

The Museum of Art is located on Wilson Road across from Martin Stadium in the Fine Arts Center on the WSU campus. Gallery hours are Monday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., Thursday until 7 p.m., closed Sunday. For more information please contact the museum at 509-335-1910.

Next Story

Recent News

Sweat health monitor measures levels of disease markers

A 3D-printed, wearable health monitor developed by WSU researchers was shown to reliably measure levels of important biochemicals in sweat during physical exercise.

Remembering our history this Juneteenth

WSU System President Kirk Schulz shares a message reminding everyone of the significance and importance of Juneteenth, and the enduring fight for equality that continues today.

Regents approve biennial operating budget request

At a special online meeting on June 17, the WSU Board of Regents approved four action items, including the university’s 2025–27 Biennial Operating Budget Request from the state.

Hot but not bothered

WSU’s new Perennial Grass Breeding and Ecology Farm is developing resilient combinations of grasses that could better withstand hot temperatures.