The first significant group of photographs to enter the Gallery’s collection were two extraordinary sets of images by Man Ray. A group of fifteen “Rayographs” came to the Gallery in 1941 from Marcel Duchamp and Katherine S. Dreier as part of the Société Anonyme collection of modern art, followed in 1953 by an additional group of photographic prints and Rayographs in a bequest from Dreier’s estate. The Gallery began to actively collect photographs in 1971, with the acquisition of twenty-five prints by Walker Evans, who taught at the Yale School of Art from 1964 to 1974, and today the collection holds over 700 of Evans’s prints and Polaroids.

The collection holds sets of master prints by Robert Adams, Donald Blumberg, and Lee Friedlander, along with significant holdings of work by Lucien Aigner and Inge Morath. The collection also includes strong examples from the tradition of street photography, including works by Robert Frank, Lewis Hine, Helen Levitt, and Garry Winogrand, and notable images of war and social upheaval by Larry Burrows, Dorothea Lange, Charles Moore, and W. Eugene Smith.

Display case in foreground features open books and photos. On the walls in the background are framed photographs, including a large grid of photos.

View of the photography installation Systematic Thinking

Committed to collecting the work of significant figures working today, the Gallery has acquired key works by Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin, Zhang Huan, An-My Lê, Christian Marclay, Judith Joy Ross, Mark Ruwedel, James Welling, and others. The Gallery proudly features photographs by some of the medium’s most influential educators—including Richard Benson, Carl Chiarenza, Emmet Gowin, Nathan Lyons, and Tod Papageorge—as well as examples by prominent graduates from the Yale School of Art.

The collection is available to students and scholars through exhibitions and by appointment. Please email at least two weeks in advance to view original photographs. All appointment requests must be made in writing.

A woman stands in front of a large framed photograph on a white wall. The woman is speaking to an audience.

Photographer An-My Lê discusses her works on view in the 2017 exhibition Before the Event/After the Fact: Contemporary Perspectives on War

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