Installation view: First Hand: Civil War Era Drawings From The Becker Collection, Boston College, 2013. Photo by Evan LaLonde.

First Hand: Civil War Era Drawings From The Becker Collection, Boston College

Image Gallery Exhibition File Catalog

February 5 - April 20, 2013

The Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Art Gallery, Reed College, is proud to present a body of original, Civil War drawings from the Becker Collection at Boston College. The Becker Collection contains over six hundred previously unexhibited and undocumented drawings by American artist Joseph Becker and his colleagues—nineteenth-century artists who worked as artist-reporters for Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper during the Civil War.

At a time when photography could only capture staged or still moments, the Special Artists risked their lives in order to witness history as it unfoldedaround them. The drawings in the Becker Collection depict many of the Civil War’s defining moments and rituals. Having survived the vagaries of battle, travel, and editorial whim, they are among the era’s most informative artifacts.

As the United States observes the sesquicentennial of the Civil War, these remarkable works of art provide invaluable insight into the contributions that nineteenth-century pictorial artists made to the development of American journalism, and the history of American art.

Drawings from the Becker Collection premiered at the McMullen Museum at Boston College in the exhibition First Hand: Civil War Era Drawings from the Becker Collection, which was organized by the McMullen Museum and underwritten by Boston College and Patrons of the McMullen Museum.

Civil War Drawings from the Becker Collection is curated by Judith Bookbinder and Sheila Gallagher from the Department of Fine Arts at Boston College.

The exhibition is organized for the Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Art Gallery by Stephanie Snyder, John and Anne Hauberg Curator and Director; Colleen Gotze, Registrar and Program Coordinator; Gregory MacNaughton, Education Outreach and Calligraphy Initiative Coordinator; Allison Tepper, Curatorial Assistant; and Cooley Gallery intern Nick Irvin.

The publication is designed by Heather Watkins, Portland, Oregon.

The exhibition is organized for tour by Curatorial Assistance Traveling Exhibitions, Pasadena, California (CATE), a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating opportunities for access, outreach, and education in the visual arts through the origination and circulation of diverse and innovative exhibitions for museums and art organizations worldwide.

Public programming is organized by the Cooley Gallery in collaboration with Crystal Williams, Dean for Institutional Diversity and Associate Professor of Creative Writing, and an interdisciplinary group of Reed College faculty.