The Capital Group Foundation Photography Collection at Stanford University consists of more than one thousand twentieth-century photographs, highlighting the diverse range of seven masters of photography—Ansel Adams (1902–1984), Edward Sherriff Curtis (1868–1952), John Gutmann (b. Germany, 1905–1998), Helen Levitt (1913–2009), Wright Morris (1910–1998), Gordon Parks (1912–2006), and Edward Weston (1886–1958). This collection was gifted to the Cantor Arts Center in 2019 by The Capital Group Foundation, which, in building this distinctive collection, often collaborated directly with the artist to identify a representative selection of their work. This gift is the culmination of a partnership between The Capital Group Foundation and the Cantor Arts Center rooted in a mutual dedication to exploring American photography. For more than twenty-five years, The Capital Group Foundation and the Cantor collaborated in building, preserving, exhibiting, and teaching from this collection.
The lives and careers of the seven artists in The Capital Group Foundation Photography Collection at Stanford University span the twentieth century, and the images speak to the tremendous social, political, and economic changes that have shaped the United States. The photographs explore the nation from coast to coast, recording landscapes, people, and moments from everyday life, from expressions of joy to social discord and trauma. Even the pictures captured abroad ultimately offer insights on the twentieth-century American experience and how these photographers defined themselves as artists.
This transformative gift is showcased in a series of three exhibitions:
West x Southwest: Edward Weston and Ansel Adams, September 26, 2019–January 6, 2020
Outside Looking In: John Gutmann, Helen Levitt, and Wright Morris, January 22–April 26, 2020
A Loaded Camera: Gordon Parks, forthcoming
Maggie Dethloff, PhD, Assistant Curator of Photography and New Media