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New Orleans Museum of Art Gifted More Than 1,300 Works from Tina Freeman Collection

The New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) announced today that it has been promised a gift of more than 1,300 photographs by artists such as Dorothea Lange, Sally Mann, Irving Penn, and Alfred Stieglitz. The institution called the donation from the Tina Freeman collection as the “largest and most significant single gift of photographs in the institution’s history.”

Over the past four decades, Freeman, a photographer and former curator of photographs at NOMA (1977–1982), has acquired works by more than 350 photographers, including Hill & Adamson, Eugene Atget, Richard Avedon, Margaret Bourke-White, Doris Ullman, and Edward Weston, among others, and dating from the 1840s to today.

“For years, Tina Freeman has had a profound impact on photography at NOMA,” said director Susan Taylor. “Her remarkably generous gift is a reflection of her knowledge and passion for photography and the great photographers that define the medium. It is a milestone moment in the history of NOMA.” The donation also marks the occasion of the centennial of NOMA’s first photography exhibition as well as the tricentennial of the city of New Orleans.

The museum noted that the collection is particularly strong in work by women photographers, many of whom are not currently in NOMA’s collection. The bequest includes the museum’s first photographs by Frances Benjamin Johnston, an important photojournalist in the first half of the twentieth century who is best known for her work in the American South. A selection of twenty-three works from Freeman’s gift are already featured in the exhibition “Past Present Future: Building Photography at the New Orleans Museum of Art,” on view September 7, 2018 through March 17, 2019 and NOMA plans to produce a catalogue of the full collection in the coming years.

“Tina Freeman began collecting in the early 1970s, at a time when many museums were not yet paying attention to photography,” said Russell Lord, the current curator of photographs at NOMA. “As a result of her prescient decision, her collection includes many priceless masterworks no longer available to museums and collectors today.”