The Samuel H. Kress Collection: Lantern Slides

Artstor is collaborating with The Samuel H. Kress Foundation to share approximately 800 images depicting paintings from the distributed Kress Collection. These images were digitized from lantern slides, original photographs of paintings from the Kress Collection made by photographers commissioned by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, during the period in which the Foundation was distributing the Kress Collection to museums across the United States in the 1950s and 1960s. These lantern slides were subsequently donated by the Foundation to the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, which digitized and cataloged the collection in 2009. At the Foundation's request, the lantern slides were then donated to the Department of Image Collections, National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, which serves as the official repository for photographic documentation of the entire Kress Collection. The Kress Collection is richly documented in Artstor. The Samuel H. Kress Collection features new digital photography of virtually the entire Kress paintings collection — approximately 1,100 paintings from 40 institutions, including nearly 400 paintings from the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC — as well as many works in other media. In addition, the Foto Reali Archive includes historical photographs of more than 700 paintings from the Kress Collection, rendered before they were acquired by Samuel H. Kress.

The Department of Image Collections at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC is a study and research center for images of western art and architecture. In 2004, two visual resources departments, the Slide Collection (founded in 1941) and the Photograph Collection (founded in 1943) were merged to form a single department. Together, the combined collections now comprise almost 10 million photographs, slides, negatives, and microform images. The Photograph Collection alone contains more than 9.6 million images, documenting European and American art and architecture. Three archives from the Photograph Collection have been digitized and are now available in Artstor: the Samuel H. Kress Collection: Lantern Slides, the Foto Reali Archive, and the Clarence Ward Archive.