Rau Photos on Ebay

A Philadelphia auction is offering several original photographs by William Rau. Its not hard to find examples of Rau’s work on stereoview cards or in books. Rau may be best known however as a photographer for the Pennsylvania Railroad. Rau captured the industrial encroachment of the natural landscape as well as the Scalp Level painters captured the absence of it.

Rau was hired in 1890 by the Pennsylvania Railroad and in 1899 by the Lehigh Valley Railroad, for which he produced a series of views from Perth Amboy, New Jersey, to Buffalo and Niagara Falls. He also recorded the Johnstown flood and the 1904 Baltimore fire. It reminds me of the commissioned work by George Innes in the National Gallery. Rau was no run of the mill company photographer, however. The artistic value of his work rivals many landscapes painted by well-known Pennsylvania painters.

Some of Rau’s extrordinary landscape photography can be seen at LACMA in LA, the Cleveland Museum of Art, MOMA and a large collection is on view at the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art in Loretto (a short and scenic drive from Pittsburgh).

About Art After X

With the death of President Kennedy in 1963, America changed. As hard as it is to minimize that sentiment, the effect of Dallas was even greater. The same year saw the merging of the Dallas Museum for Contemporary Arts, which had been central to the art scene, and the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts. Douglas MacAgy, then the director of DMCA, not only opposed the merger, but also declined to directorship of the combined museum. The regionalist movement which had been strong for decades, was giving way to more of an interest in what was going on nationally, and internationally. Like it or not, Dallas was on the national stage. When the Kennedy’s arrived in Fort Worth, local collectors had decorated a hotel room with internationally-renowned works. While the president and his wife learned a great deal about the ability of Texans to collect major art, there was little they could glean about the local scene in this era-defining city. With this in mind, we have begun a project to look not back at the art scene in Dallas, but foreword from 1963. We are interviewing gallery owners, curators and others involved in the art scene then, but this will be a story told mostly through interviews with artists active in the city from that point into the 1980s. The result will be a book with a video component. We hope you will join us in our journey. The hashtag for the project is #artafterx and the url artafterx.com will point to the latest updates on this weblog.

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