Explore CollectionsHarry Callahan and the Institute of Design

Harry Callahan and the Institute of Design

Harry Callahan (American, 1912–1999), Eleanor, Chicago, 1947, printed later, gelatin silver print, purchase with funds from the H. B. and Doris Massey Charitable Trust, Dr. Robert L. and Lucinda W. Bunnen, Collections Council Acquisition Fund, Jackson Fine Art, Powell, Goldstein, Frazer and Murphy, Jane and Clay Jackson, Beverly and John Baker, Roni and Sid Funk, Gloria and Paul Sternberg, and Jeffery L. Wigbels, 1997.7.

Founded in Chicago in 1937 by the multidisciplinary artist László Moholy-Nagy, the Institute of Design was one of the most groundbreaking and influential art schools in the United States. Photography was key to the school’s pedagogy, and the curriculum encouraged experimentation and iteration, both in the studio and out in the world, as means to aesthetic innovation. The faculty comprised many of the luminaries of twentieth-century photography including Harry Callahan and Aaron Siskind, and many of their students, notably Kenneth Josephson, Ray Metzker, and Barbara Crane, became important photographers and teachers themselves.