John Szarkowski, Mirrors and Windows: American Photography Since 1960 (The Museum of Modern Art, 1978), pp. 146 and 147
Emma Dexter and Thomas Weski, Cruel and Tender: The Real in the Twentieth-Century Photograph (Tate Modern, 2003), pp. 142-7
Keith Davis, An American Century of Photography, from Dry-Plate to Digital, 2nd ed. (Hallmark, 1999), pl. 436
Sarah Greenough et al., On the Art of Fixing a Shadow: One Hundred and fifty Years of Photography (National Gallery of Art and Art Institute of Chicago, 1989), pl. 340
Katherine A. Bussard, So The Story Goes (The Art Institute of Chicago, 2006), p. 14
The 1975 and 1976 portraits were included by John Szarkowski in Longer Views: 40 Photographs by Nick Nixon at The Museum of Modern Art in 1976. This was Nixon’s first solo exhibition and, fittingly, was the debut of images from his then-new project. Szarkowski also included Brown Sisters photographs in his important 1978 exhibition, Mirrors and Windows: American Photography Since 1960. In 1998 MoMA published a monograph devoted to The Brown Sisters; in 2014, in honor of the 40th anniversary of the project, MoMA updated this monograph to include the most recent annual additions. Seen in its current entirety, the 40 images presented here offer a meditation on the passage of time, and on the unique capability of photography to freeze individual instants. Nixon, in collaboration with his subjects, has created a highly detailed and compelling multi-decade portrait through 40 specific moments in time.
This complete-to-date set of The Brown Sisters comes from the collection of Mary Robinson and her late husband, C. David Robinson. After building a significant collection of minimalist art of the 1960s and 1970s, the Robinsons became, in the 1980s, devoted collectors of photography, focusing on great individual images from the medium’s very early years through the 20th century. Their photography collection was acquired by the National Gallery of Art in 1995, where it currently forms a cornerstone of the photography holdings.
The Robinsons began collecting The Brown Sisters in 1985, when they acquired the initial images in the series, and then subsequently purchased each yearly portrait as issued by Nixon. The Robinsons’ set is the largest group of The Brown Sisters ever to appear at auction. It is believed that approximately 21 international institutions – The Museum of Modern Art, New York; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D. C.; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; and La Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris, among them – own complete sets, and that approximately 12 private collectors acquire a print every year.
Please call 1-800-555-5555 to order a print catalog for this sale.
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