Black Education – Nineteenth Century

This photograph is a model of the more commonly held image of black education in the era of Emancipation and Reconstruction. Taken shortly after the end of the Civil War, the image suggests the leadership of white women and the participation of black children in educational pursuits. Recent scholarship has emphasized the contributions of black teachers (women and men), black soldiers, and black parents in supporting and leading the cause of black education.
Portrait of teacher Laura M. Towne, a founder of the Penn School, with students Dick, Maria and Amoretta. 1866

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Photographs and Prints Division


Seated in Higher Learning

[Four African American women seated on steps of building at Atlanta University, Georgia]
Askew, Thomas E., 1850?-1914, photographer
Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963, collector
Created [1899 or 1900]
Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963. Du Bois albums of photographs of African Americans in Georgia exhibited at the Paris Exposition Universelle in 1900
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA

Recent Photography Sales at Auction

It’s October and a number of photography auctions are taking place across the country and around the world.  Here is the first installment of some noteworthy results in our field of study.

Swann Auction Galleries – October 5, 2017
At the recent auction of African-American Fine Art at Swann Auction Galleries, nine photographs by artists such as Carrie Mae Weems, Lorna Simpson, Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe, Louis Draper, P.H. Polk, Roy DeCarava, and James VanDerZee were offered for sale.  The top three lots included:

  • Four panels from Carrie Mae Weems’ Sea Island Series produced in 1992, Estimate: 30,000-50,000 USD, sold for 45,000 USD with buyer’s premium;
  • Dancers (1956) by Roy DeCarava, silver gelatin photograph, printed in 1981, Estimate: 15,000 – 25,000 USD, sold for 23,750 USD with buyer’s premium; and
  • C-Ration (1991) by Lorna Simpson, silver print (diptych), Estimate 3,000 –  5,000 USD, sold for 8,750 USD with buyer’s premium.
LORNA SIMPSON (1960 – )  C-Ration.

Sotheby’s – October 5, 2017

Noteworthy at the Sotheby’s Photographs auction is Charleston, S.C. by Robert Frank.  Estimated to sell between 300,000 – 500,000 USD, the oversized print, signed, titled and dated in 1955, printed in 1967-68, sold for 348,500 USD including buyer’s premium.

Sotheby’s – September 28, 2017

PostWar and Contemporary Photographs featured works by Kudzanai Chiurai and Yinka Shonibare MBE.

Kudzanai Chiurai



Some Photography/Art Response and Recovery Resources

For collectors of photographs, whether individuals or institutions, there are several good resources on disaster recovery.

Smithsonian’s Cultural Rescue Initiative

American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works

*Field Guide to Emergency Response videos

salvage photos
Water Segment video, AICHA

CERF+ The Artists Safety Net video

As Hurricanes Descend, Top Conservators Set Up an Emergency Hotline—and App—to Rescue Waterlogged Art – Artnews 9/8/17

Clock is ticking to dry out and salvage flood-damaged possessions left in wake of Hurricane Harvey – Houston Chronicle 9/4/17