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George E. Stone photographs of architecture, fine arts and decorative arts, 1916-1992

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Finding aid for the George E. Stone Photographs of Architecture, Fine Arts and Decorative Arts, 1916-1992

Scope and Content of Collection

The George E. Stone photographs of architecture, fine arts and decorative arts are comprised of images of works of art and architecture in England and Italy made by this photographer and educator on a year-long trip to Europe in 1930 and 1931. The archive also includes a small number of photographs from other projects, as well as related documentation of Stone's career.

The collection, as received by the Getty Research Institute, consisted of over 1300 nitrate negatives; ten enlarged and mounted, gelatin silver photographic prints; a set of file cards indexing Stone's photographs typologically; a set of photographic stocksheets; and a scrapbook. Subsequently, a set of copy negatives and a set of black-and-white contact prints were produced from the nitrate negatives, in order to preserve and facilitate access to Stone's images. These Getty-produced materials now form the bulk of the archive.

Overall, the photographs made by Stone on his European trip record a diverse array of artwork with a broad chronological range, reaching from the prehistoric period to the late nineteenth century. Within this span, there is a focus on certain periods and media: English architecture; Italian architecture; Classical antiquities; and Italian Renaissance sculpture and paintings, decorative and minor arts, with an emphasis on the work of Michelangelo. Because the purpose of Stone's trip was to obtain images for his photographic stockhouse, Visual Education Services, the photographs are for the most part standard art historical choices, supplemented with places and objects of historical or literary significance. In addition to the European photographs, the archive contains a small number of other photographs, including images Stone made at an exhibit of modern American sculpture held in San Francisco in 1929 and copies of Edizioni Brogi photographs. Perhaps because his background was scientific rather than art historical and his photography often displayed different conventions of framing and lighting, Stone's photographs reveal new aspects of familiar artworks.

The archive also preserves some of Stone's documentation of his photographic collection and his career. A card catalog records Stone's art photographs, including some not represented in this collection. Multiple versions of these index cards with identification of the object, the negative number and a brief description are sorted by chronological and cultural categories. A similar cultural/chronological categorization of Stone's images is found in the photographic stocksheets in the archive. The scrapbook records Stone's broader career through letters, clippings, photographs and ephemera, with a strong emphasis on his roles as a filmmaker and educator. Items preserved in the scrapbook relating to the photographs in this collection include museum permits, letters of introduction, and catalogs listing his available work.


Arranged by type of material: photographic work, photograph documentation, and a scrapbook.

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