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Hood Museum of Art
Dartmouth College
Hanover, NH 03755
603.646.2808
hood.museum@dartmouth.edu

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Recent Acquisitions 14

Daniel Beltrá, Spanish, 20th century
Alter Do Chao, Para (Brasil), from the Amazon Drought Series, October 2005
Digital print on paper
30 x 40 in.
Purchased through the Adelbert Ames Jr. 1919 Fund; Selected by Dartmouth College students who participated in the Hood Museum of Art Winter 2009 Seminar Museum Collecting 101: James Cart, Class of 2010, Michael Chen, Class of 2011, Bryan Chong, Class of 2009, Grace Dowd, Class of 2011, Georgina Emerson, Class of 2009, Amber Gott, Class of 2009, Anirudh Jangalapalli, Class of 2009, Elizabeth Klinger, Class of 2010, Alice Kogan, Class of 2009, Alyssa Lindsay, Class of 2012, Ryan Marnell, Class of 2010, Zachary Mason, Class of 2010, Kelly McGlinchey, Class of 2012, Sanja Miklin, Class of 2012, Caitlin Pierce, Class of 2009, Eleanor Stoltzfus, Class of 2010; 2009.30

Dartmouth Students Choose Work for the Hood Museum of Art’s Collection

For six weeks during winter 2009, sixteen Dartmouth undergraduate students representing thirteen different majors participated in Museum Collecting 101. This program allows students to consider and participate in the museum’s acquisitions process, explore the purpose of a teaching museum, and experience firsthand the decisions a curator at an academic museum must make. Staff identified contemporary photojournalism as an area of the permanent collection that needed further attention. Discussing how specific works of art are used to fulfill the Hood’s teaching purpose, a variety of potential photographs were reviewed based on criteria for acquisition (particularly Dartmouth curricular connections) that were generated by the students. This behind-the-scenes experience culminated with the participants having the rare opportunity to select a work of art for purchase by the Hood.

Museum Collecting 101 Program

This work depicts a cattle ranch in the town of Agua Boa, in the Mato Grosso region of Brazil. It was photographed on August 8, 2008, for a Greenpeace project. The Rio Agua Boa is, by Amazonian standards, a small feeder river that empties into the much larger Rio Branco, which in turn joins the River Negro. The Rio Negro joins the Rio Solimoes at Manaus to form the Amazon proper. Situated almost two hundred miles North of Manaus in deep jungle, this river region is almost entirely uninhabited, yet here we see it transformed into a cattle ranch that stretches as far as the eye can see. The photograph was selected in large part due to the numerous curricular connections identified by the students in the Hood’s non-curricular course, Museum Collecting 101. Beyond an environmental studies focus, these works are relevant to discussions on Latin American society, culture, history, and government, economics, globalism, geography, and sociology. They create a wonderful dialogue with works already in the Hood Museum of Art’s permanent collection including photographs by Subhankar Banerjee, Alex MacLean, Edward Burtynsky, and Sebastião Salgado.

After careful consideration and a few heated discussions, the students chose to acquire a work by Daniel Beltrá. Subsequently, Alter Do Chao, Para (Brasil) (2009.30) became the first work by the artist to enter a museum collection. In explaining their decision, Museum Collecting 101 students underscored the aesthetic value of Beltrá’s photographs as well as significance they hold as powerful political statements on a defining issue of the students’ generation. Thrilled with the honor of his selection, Beltrá gifted this second image, Agua Boa, Mato Grosso (Brasil).

Daniel Beltrá, a Spanish photographer based in Seattle, has documented several expeditions by Greenpeace to the Brazilian Amazon, the Arctic, the Southern Oceans, and the Patagonian Ice Fields. The artist brings the sensibility and craft of a photojournalist to the subjects of the environment and global climate change, creating images in the hope of spurring greater respect and conservation of the natural world. Beltrá is a fellow of the prestigious International League of Conservation Photographers and has won numerous awards, including the inaugural Prince’s Rainforests Project Award, established by Sony World Photographer Awards with HRH The Prince of Wales and Sony, and an Award of Excellence in the 2009 Pictures of the Year International competition.

Since 2001, Beltrá has photographed the changing Amazon forest, documenting both the worst drought in living memory (evident in Alter Do Chao, Para (Brasil)) and one of the river’s most extensive floods. Both his Amazon Drought and New Amazon Landscape series inspire a more detailed appreciation of this primeval forest and the plants, animals, and peoples that depend upon it. By continuing to record the threats to the Amazon’s inhabitants, Beltrá presents a powerful argument for their protection.

 

Unknown, American or British
Eight Woodburytype cabinet cards
Flies Above, Chief of the Cut-off Band of Sioux, about 1880s
Blue Horse, Chief of the Shoshones, about 1880s
Moccasin Top, Chief of the Brule Sioux, about 1880s
Little Chief, Chief of the Ogalallas, about 1880s
Red Shirt, The Fighting Chief of the Sioux Nation, about 1880s
The Indian Chiefs of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West, about 1880s
Miss Lillian Smith, The Celebrated Californian Rifle Shot, about 1880s
Buck Taylor, King of the Cow-boys, about 1880s
Each: 6 x 4 in.
Purchased through the Mrs. Harvey P. Hood W’18 Fund; 2009.31.1-8

These were originally objects of ethnographic interest for display in the parlors of curious white Americans, and they directly reflect the biases of both the photographer and the culture at large during the time. These rather straightforward and stylistically simple portraits fail to reveal the complex identities and contexts of their sitters: Native Americans purportedly willing, and paid, to participate in an exhibition that perpetuated stereotypes of the “savage Indian.” Many of the sitters are dressed in a manner inconsistent with their tribal affiliations or in dress that is inconsistent with the situation (i.e. ceremonial dress during a battle scene). As such, they provide a rich forum for discussion on issues of race, identity, and stereotypes in the nineteenth century. Furthermore, as woodburytypes the cabinet cards offer an interesting variation on traditional photographic processes, providing an opportunity for use in teaching the medium. Woodburytype was a photomechanical process that was used only for a few decades at the end of the nineteenth century, and was a precursor of the more widely recognized collotype, still used today for continuous-tone photo processing.

 

Unknown, American or British
Taton Kaiyotonka, Sitting Bull, 1882
Albumen photograph cabinet card
6 x 4 in.
Purchased through the Mrs. Harvey P. Hood W’18 Fund; 2009.31.9

 

Unknown, American, Kiowa, Comanche, Oklahoma
Peyote box, about 1940-50
Painted and tooled leather box
16 x 4 x 4 in.
Purchased through the Acquisition and Preservation of Native American Art Fund and the Hood Museum of Art Acquisitions Fund; 2009.32

 

Masumi Hori II, Japanese, 1857-1911
Portrait of a Geisha Seated Before a Table, 1894
Ambrotype in original Kiri-wood case
4 1/2 x 3 1/2 in.
Purchased through the Elizabeth and David C. Lowenstein ’67 Fund; 2009.33

Last Updated: 12/21/09