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Exhibitions/ Photography's Last Century: The Ann Tenenbaum and Thomas H. Lee Collection

Photography's Last Century: The Ann Tenenbaum and Thomas H. Lee Collection

At The Met Fifth Avenue
March 10–November 30, 2020

Exhibition Catalogue

Presenting nearly 100 masterworks made over the last 100 years, this new volume reveals defining moments in the history of photography.

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Exhibition Overview

This exhibition will celebrate the remarkable ascendancy of photography in the last century, and Ann Tenenbaum and Thomas H. Lee's magnificent promised gift of over sixty extraordinary photographs in honor of The Met's 150th anniversary in 2020. The exhibition will include masterpieces by the medium's greatest practitioners, including works by Paul Strand, Dora Maar, Man Ray, and László Moholy-Nagy; Edward Weston, Walker Evans, and Joseph Cornell; Diane Arbus, Andy Warhol, Sigmar Polke, and Cindy Sherman.

The collection is particularly notable for its breadth and depth of works by women artists, its sustained interest in the nude, and its focus on artists' beginnings. Strand's 1916 view from the viaduct confirms his break with the Pictorialist past and establishes the artist's way forward as a cutting-edge modernist; Walker Evans's shadow self-portraits from 1927 mark the first inkling of a young writer's commitment to visual culture; and Cindy Sherman's intimate nine-part portrait series from 1976 predates her renowned series of "film stills" and confirms her striking ambition and stunning mastery of the medium at the age of twenty-two.

Accompanied by a catalogue.

Featured Media


The exhibition is made possible by Joyce Frank Menschel and the Alfred Stieglitz Society.

The catalogue is made possible in part by the Samuel I. Newhouse Foundation, Inc.

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in

Exhibition Music

Listen to an improvisational musical component written and produced for the exhibition by Icelandic composer Davíð Þór Jónsson.


Cindy Sherman's "Untitled #490"; A series of 9 black-and-white close-up self portraits of the artist dramatizing the experience of an orgasm

This episode of MetCollects offers an intimate look at a selection from the Ann Tenenbaum and Thomas H. Lee collection, of early works from now-established artists such as Cindy Sherman, Walker Evans, Mickalene Thomas, and more.

Exhibition Objects

Cindy Sherman (American, b. 1954). Untitled Film Still #48, 1979. Gelatin silver print, 8 x 10 in. (20.3 x 25.4 cm). Promised gift of Ann Tenenbaum and Thomas H. Lee. Courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures, New York