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Julia Margaret Cameron and Miroslav Tichý

Magasin III

The work of both Julia Margaret Cameron (1815–1879) and Miroslav Tichý could be described as sui generis—to say that their art is “of its own kind” is to wryly acknowledge that it once sat outside the boundaries of serious art. Cameron and Tichý’s common story, separated by a century, is that of most artists: They expect recognition, but it’s not in the cards.

They didn’t fail for lack of trying. Cameron exhibited and marketed her photographs through the venerable art dealer Paul Colnaghi in London; in her lifetime, eighty of her prints went to the Victoria and Albert Museum. Tichý attended the art academy in Prague, and exhibited in Brno in the 1950s. But ambition didn’t count; Tichý’s ornery disposition meant he wouldn’t or couldn’t grasp the political realities for modern artists in Czechoslovakia during the cold war; Cameron never bowed to the nineteenth-century idea of

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