Art historian, dealer, and BBC television host Philip Mould recently posted a video to his Twitter that reveals a gleaming 17th century painting hiding underneath two centuries of yellowed varnish. The protective finish is applied to protect paintings from wear, but over time will begin to discolor. In the short video Mould gently paints a solvent to remove this layer from the work’s surface, slowly brushing it away in circular strokes.
During World War I (1914-1918), large numbers of women were recruited into jobs vacated by men who had gone to fight in the war. New jobs were also created as part of the war effort, for example in munitions factories. The high demand for weapons resulted in the munitions factories becoming the largest single employer of women during 1918. Though there was initial resistance to hiring women for what was seen as ‘men’s work’, the introduction of conscription in 1916 made the need for women workers urgent. Around this time, the government began coordinating the employment of women through campaigns and recruitment drives.
This led to women working in areas of work that were formerly reserved for men, for example as railway guards and ticket collectors, buses and tram conductors, postal workers, police, firefighters and as bank ‘tellers’ and clerks. Some women also worked heavy or precision machinery in engineering, led cart horses on farms, and worked in the civil service and factories.
Itinerant photographer William Bullard left behind a trove of over 5,400 glass negatives at the time of his death in 1918. Among these negatives are over 230 portraits of African Americans and Native Americans mostly from the Beaver Brook community in Worcester, Massachusetts. Rediscovering an American Community of Color features eighty of these unprinted and heretofore unpublished photographs that otherwise may have been lost to history. Bullard identified over 80% of his sitters in his logbook, making this collection especially rare among extant photographic collections of people of color taken before World War I and enables this exhibition to tell specific stories about individuals and recreate a more accurate historical context. Moreover, Bullard’s portraits examine the role of photography as the vehicle for a “new Black identity” during the nascent years of the New Negro movement. Offering a photographic narrative of migration and resettlement in the aftermath of Emancipation and Reconstruction, Bullard’s portraits address larger themes involving race in American history, many of which remain relevant today, notably, the story of people of color claiming their rightful place in society as well as the fundamentally American story of migration, immigration, and the creation of a community in new surroundings.
The famous theme of the 1939 New York World's Fair was "The World of Tomorrow.” One part of that world, another theme showcased throughout the fair, was “electrification”— the growing use of electricity to light and power not only factories and businesses, but also homes and public spaces. Photographer Peter Campbell captured many scenes from the fair in full color, both during the day and at night—when bright and colorful lighting washed over the pavilions, fountains, and sculptures throughout the fairgrounds. Be sure to also see earlier photo coverage here of the 1939 New York World's Fair.
In 1843 painter David Octavius Hill joined engineer Robert Adamson to form Scotland’s first photographic studio. During their brief partnership that ended with Adamson’s untimely death, Hill & Adamson produced “the first substantial body of self-consciously artistic work using the newly invented medium of photography.”