Pictures of the American West have dominated the canon of 19th-century American landscape photography. Although many photographers worked in the eastern half of the United States, their pictures, with the exception of Civil War images, have seldom been exhibited. The New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) will present East of the Mississippi: Nineteenth-Century American Landscape Photography from October 6, 2017 to January 7, 2018.

In association with NOMA, this landmark exhibition, co-organized by the National Gallery of Art, Washington, is the first to exclusively explore a vivid chapter of America’s photographic history—19th-century American landscape photography made east of the Mississippi river. These of the eastern half of the United States helped shape evolving mythologies of the American wilderness, revealed the impact of the Civil War on the physical landscape, and played an important role in industrialization and environmental preservation.

"Winter on the Common", Josiah Johnson Hawes, 1850s, Collection of William L. Schaeffer

"Crawford Notch and Hotel, White Mountains, New Hampshire", Samuel A. Bemis, 1840-1842, Metropolitan Museum of Art

"Atlantic & Great Western Railway", James Fitzallen Ryder, 1862, National Gallery of Art

"Morris Canal from Green's Bridge, Lehigh Valley Rail Road", William H. Rau, 1895, National Gallery of Art

“We are delighted to present this ground-breaking exhibition featuring some of the earliest photographs of eastern sites, which showcase an extraordinary time in American history” said Susan Taylor, The Montine McDaniel Freeman Director of NOMA. “It was a pleasure to collaborate with our colleagues at the National Gallery of Art to develop this exhibition together.”

East of the Mississippi brings together over 150 works—daguerreotypes, salt prints, albumen prints, stereographic images, and paintings ranging from 1839 to 1899. It is presented in six sections, expressing a diverse set of aesthetic, moral, topographic, and instrumental concerns, and it includes some of the oldest known photographs ever made in the United States, many that have never before been exhibited. Because of their fragility, and sensitivity to light, the exhibition presents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to examine, first hand, many of these important and beautiful records of American history.

The exhibition presents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to examine, first hand, many of these important and beautiful records of American history. New Orleans Museum of Art

The exhibition is organized by the National Gallery of Art, in association with the New Orleans Museum of Art. The exhibition is supported by the Freeman Family Curatorial Fund, the A. Charlotte Mann and Joshua Mann Pailet Endowment Fund, the Azby Museum Fund, and The Helis Foundation. Additional support is provided by Delta Air Lines.

East of the Mississippi is organized by Diane Waggoner, Curator of Nineteenth-Century Photographs, National Gallery of Art, Washington. Its presentation at NOMA is organized by Russell Lord, Freeman Family Curator of Photographs.

The exhibition is accompanied by a scholarly catalog co-published by Yale University Press with essays by Diane Waggoner, Curator of Nineteenth-Century Photographs, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Russell Lord, Freeman Family Curator of Photographs, NOMA, and Jennifer Raab, assistant professor of the history of art, Yale University. Featuring 220 color illustrations, the 288-page hardcover catalog will be available by calling (504) 658-4133 or e-mailing museumshop@noma.org.

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The Arts Council of New Orleans

The Arts Council of New Orleans is a private, non-profit organization designated as the City’s official arts agency. The Arts Council serves as one of eight regional distributing agencies for state arts funds and administers available municipal arts grants and the Percent For Art program for the City of New Orleans. The Arts Council works in partnership with the City of New Orleans, community groups, local, state, and national governmental agencies, and other nonprofit arts organizations to meet the arts and cultural needs of the New Orleans community through a diversity of initiatives and services.


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Preservation Resource Center (PRC) has been preserving, restoring, and revitalizing New Orleans’ historic architecture and neighborhoods since 1974. Throughout its history, PRC has acted as an advocacy agent on a local, regional, and national scale, spreading the word about the city’s rich architectural heritage and the economic importance of preserving this heritage. PRC also takes a hands-on approach to preservation, with a history of successfully restoring over 1,400 properties. The center strengthens and revitalizes New Orleans in a way that is forward-looking and sustainable, yet sensitive to the city’s past and its heritage.


As a nexus for the arts in New Orleans, NOMA is committed to preserving, interpreting, and enriching its collections and renowned sculpture garden; offering innovative experiences for learning and interpretation; and uniting, inspiring, and engaging diverse communities and cultures.

The Historic New Orleans Collection

The Historic New Orleans Collection (THNOC) is a museum, research center, and publisher dedicated to preserving the history and culture of New Orleans and the Gulf South. Its holdings comprise more than one million items from more than three centuries, documenting moments both major and minor. Its four exhibition spaces–the Williams Gallery, the Louisiana History Galleries, the Boyd Cruise Gallery, and the Laura Simon Nelson Galleries for Louisiana Art–faithfully depict the multicultural stories of the region, from permanent displays exploring the evolution of Louisiana to rotating exhibitions showcasing history and fine art.

Southern Food

The Southern Food and Beverage Museum is a nonprofit living history organization dedicated to the discovery, understanding and celebration of the food, drink and the related culture of the South. While based in New Orleans, the Museum examines and celebrates all the cultures that have come together through the centuries to create the South’s unique culinary heritage. The Museum is also home to the collections of the Museum of the American Cocktail, the Galerie d’Absinthe, and a demonstration kitchen.

Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities

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The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities’ mission is to provide all Louisianans with access to and an appreciation of their own rich, shared and diverse historical, literary and cultural heritage through grant-supported outreach programs, family literacy and adult reading initiatives, teacher professional development institutes, publications, film and radio documentaries, museum exhibitions, cultural tourism, public lectures, library projects, and other public humanities programming.



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