The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts adds 2,000 donated photo books to the collection

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) received a gift of over 2,000 photo books this week, expanding its collection of rare books and references and providing new connections to past, present and future exhibitions.

The books were donated to the Richmond Museum by Barry and Gretchen Singer. Barry Singer is one of the nation’s leading photo gallery owners and has a gallery in Petaluma, California specializing in 19th and 20th century photography.

Singer previously considered what to do with his personal collection of photo books and references, finally deciding they would be in good hands with VMFA.

“I knew that the museum would be able to ensure their care and appreciate their importance, and that the books would be fundamental to the VMFA’s other collections and exhibitions,” Singer said.

With this gift, many rare monographs, journals, reference works, first editions, and autographs are now part of the museum’s Margaret R. and Robert M. Freeman Library and Special Collections, which includes more than 150,000 volumes and 200 journal titles.

Many of the books donated relate directly to the museum’s existing and upcoming exhibitions. The donation includes books featuring the work of landscape photographer Ansel Adams, which are featured in the museum’s touring exhibition, Ansel Adams: Compositions in Nature.

Other books feature photographs that influenced the development of the exhibition Man Ray: The Paris Years and the museum’s upcoming exhibition American, Born Hungary, which opens in 2024.

“This collection is a transformative donation and has significantly increased our holdings in the subject areas of American and European photography,” said Alex Nyerges, Director and CEO of VMFA. “These books are already proving invaluable for exhibitions being developed by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and this gift supports the museum’s future photo galleries that are being planned.”

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, located at 200 N. Arthur Ashe Boulevard, is the only art museum in the country that is open 365 days a year and offers free admission. It is open daily from 10am to 5pm and every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday until 9pm.