Ransoming Mathew Brady

by John Ransom Phillips


—This study includes more than 50 oil paintings, 200 watercolors, and 40 late nineteenth-century photographs In a series of oils, watercolors, and prose rich with historical allusion, John Ransom Phillips portrays the complexity of nineteenth-century pho tographer Mathew Brady. The photographs Brady made have long served to illustrate an era in American history, most notably his portraits of Abraham Lincoln and the images from the Civil War battlefields he captured. Pairing these photographs with his own work, Philips explores the career of this artist who wanted to make history and who had the genius to look beyond his New York portrait studio to the Civil War battlefields. Paradoxically, Brady sent assistants to photograph his most famous scenes, the battlefields at Gettysburg, Vicksburg, and Antietam, instructing them to re-arrange the dead to create images that would capture the public's interest.

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