Michael E. Hoffman Collection
In response to the untimely death in November 2001 of Michael E. Hoffman, executive director of the Aperture Foundation, Mary Ellen Mark, Melissa Harris and Lynne Honickman brought together a collection of nearly ninety photographs by many of the most exciting talents in the field of photography. This extraordinary group of pictures was assembled in honor of legendary curator and publisher Michael E. Hoffman (1942-2001) and generously donated to the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
About Michael E. Hoffman
Michael E. Hoffman was Adjunct Curator of photography at the Philadelphia Museum of Art from 1968 to 1998, and is known for his work at the helm of the non-profit Aperture Foundation, where he was executive director from 1965 to 2001.
Because of his lifelong passion for photography and a commitment to working closely with living artists, Michael Hoffman had a significant impact on the careers of innumerable photographers, exhibiting their work in Aperture magazine. During his tenure in Philadelphia, he organized major traveling retrospectives of the work of Robert Adams, William Christenberry, Graciela Iturbide, Mary Ellen Mark, and Minor White, all of whom are now considered masters of the field. Each of these artists and the Estate of Minor White has selected a photograph for the collection in tribute to Hoffman.
This powerful and tremendously varied group of images in the collection, features photographs by such international figures as Henri Cartier-Bresson, Flor Garduno, Eikoh Hosoe, Raghu Rai, and Javier Vallhonrat. Masters of American photography such as Robert Adams, Ray Metzker, Bruce Davidson, and Ralph Gibson are represented, along with posthumous prints from the estates of Robert Capa, Robert Maplethorpe, and Minor White. Among the many contemporary artists who have donated work are Lynn Davis, Donna Ferrato, Kahn & Selesnick, Sally Mann, and Richard Misrach. Many of the pictures chosen for the collection were favorites of Hoffman's or were selected by the artist with his tastes and interests in mind. Several of the artists were moved to add personal inscriptions to their prints to honor Michael. The unique collection stands as a testament to Michael Hoffman's achievements in photography.
The photographs were shown together for the first time in a summer 2004 exhibition in the Berman and Stieglitz Galleries, at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The Aperture Foundation published a catalogue of the collection.