Exhibition: ‘Hunted and Gathered: Photographs’ from the Private Collection of Robert Flynn Johnson at Modernism, San Franciso

Exhibition dates: July 9th – August 29th 2009


Many thankx to Modernism for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

Dr Marcus Bunyan



Anonymous. 'The Dancer, Ted Shawn, Boston Dance Theater' 1929


Anonymous photographer
The Dancer, Ted Shawn, Boston Dance Theater
Vintage gelatin silver print
9 5/8 x 7 1/4″


Gérard Decaux. 'Abbe Lane' Rome, c. 1955


Gérard Decaux
Abbe Lane
Rome, c. 1955
Vintage gelatin silver print
10 1/4 x 8 1/2″


Clarence Sinclair Bull (American, 1896-1979) 'Greta Garbo' c. 1935


Clarence Sinclair Bull (American, 1896-1979)
Greta Garbo
c. 1935
Gelatin silver print, printed later
14 x 11″



Clarence Sinclair Bull was born in Sun River, Montana in 1896. His career began when Samuel Goldwyn hired him in the 1920 to photograph publicity stills of the MGM stars. He is most famous for his photographs of Greta Garbo taken during the years of 1926-1941. Bull’s first portrait of Garbo was a costume study for the Flesh and the Devil, in September 1926.

Bull was able to study with the great Western painter, Charles Marion Russell. He also served as an assistant cameraman in 1918. Bull was skilled in the areas of lighting, retouching, and printing. He was most commonly credited as “C.S. Bull.” Bull died on June 8, 1979 in Los Angeles, California, aged 83.

Text from the Wikipedia website


Laure Albin Guillot (French, 1879-1962) 'La Flamme (Woman's Head)' c. 1935


Laure Albin Guillot (French, 1879-1962)
La Flamme (Woman’s Head)
c. 1935
Vintage gelatin silver print
6 3/8 x 4 3/8″


Anonymous photographer. 'Acrobats' c. 1920


Anonymous photographer
c. 1920
Vintage gelatin silver print
8 5/8 x 5 5/8″


Pierre Nobel. 'Still Life' c.1935


Pierre Nobel
Still Life
c. 1935
Vintage gelatin silver print mounted on paper
9 1/4 x 6 3/4″


Charles Jones. 'Plum, Laxton Early Red' c.1910


Charles Jones (English, 1866-1959)
Plum, Laxton Early Red
c. 1910
Vintage gelatin silver print from a glass plate negative
6 x 4 1/4″



Modernism presents a wonderful and intriguing selection of photographs from the private collection of Robert Flynn Johnson. Robert Flynn Johnson is emeritus faculty in the Printmaking department. He is the curator in charge of the Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, a position he has held since 1975.

This exhibition coincides with the publication of his second book on vernacular photography, The Face in the Lens: Anonymous Photographs (University of California Press).

“When I am asked what it takes to become an accomplished collector, it is not the qualities of knowledge, judgment or that elusive term “taste” that comes to mind. Instead, it is the ability to be curious that is the crucial element in the makeup of a true collector – the ability to ask questions, to learn, and to get answers regarding works of art that catch your eye and move your emotions,” Robert Flynn Johnson said.

He added, “For more than thirty-five years I have followed my curiosity in passionately seeking out photographs that have stirred my imagination. Some of them have been by great artistic masters of the medium, while others have been anonymous photographic orphans that have nothing going for them but the image itself. Both types of photographs are included in this exhibition.”

“I have made a varied, and some may say eccentric, selection of images. From a heart-stopping snapshot of acrobats posed in a three-man handstand perched on the ledge of the 108th floor of the Empire State building, to a tender portrait of Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio that captures the instant before their lips meet in their first kiss as a married couple, They these pictures are a true reflection of my collecting philosophy that is attracted to profound, beautiful, humorous, and absurd aspects of life and art.”

“Nevertheless, I hope they these works convey some of the visual surprise and delight to you that I felt when I first saw each and every one of them.”

Oscar Wilde once said that the only person that liked all art equally was an auctioneer! I do not expect viewers to appreciate all the photographs in this exhibition, but through my visual curiosity in collecting them over time, I did, and that is why they are here together today.

Text from Artdaily.org website


Anonymous photogapher (Czechoslovakia). 'Train' c.1930


Anonymous photographer (Czechoslovakia)
c. 1930
Vintage gelatin silver print
9 1/4 x 11 5/8″


Anonymous photographer (United Kingdom). 'Train' c. 1930


Anonymous photographer (United Kingdom)
c. 1930
Vintage gelatin silver print
9 1/2 x 11 1/2″


Sasha. 'Archer Leaping Through the Air' c.1930


Archer Leaping Through the Air
c. 1930
Vintage gelatin silver print
7 3/8 x 9 3/8″


Leopold Hugo. 'Craters of the Moon, Idaho' 1920


Leopold Hugo (American, born Poland 1866-1933)
Craters of the Moon, Idaho
Tinted vintage gelatin silver print
7 3/8 x 9 3/8″


Anonymous. 'Acrobat Piroska at the Latin Quarter (Published in Life Magazine)' c.1945


Anonymous photographer
Acrobat Piroska at the Latin Quarter (Published in ‘Life Magazine’)
c. 1945
Vintage gelatin silver print
9 5/8 x 9″



685 Market St., Suite 290
San Francisco, CA 94105

Opening Hours:
Tuesday – Saturday, 10am – 5:30pm

Modernism website


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2 Responses to “Exhibition: ‘Hunted and Gathered: Photographs’ from the Private Collection of Robert Flynn Johnson at Modernism, San Franciso”

  1. August 11, 2009 at 9:27 am

    Interesting photos–thanks for posting.

  2. 2 guardadocumentos
    August 11, 2009 at 8:52 am

    very nice collection, beautiful photos.

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Dr Marcus Bunyan

Dr Marcus Bunyan is an Australian artist and writer. His art work explores the boundaries of identity and place. He writes Art Blart, a photographic archive and form of cultural memory, which posts mainly photography exhibitions from around the world. He holds a Dr of Philosophy from RMIT University, Melbourne, a Master of Arts (Fine Art Photography) from RMIT University, and a Master of Art Curatorship from the University of Melbourne.

Marcus Bunyan black and white archive: ‘Orphans and small groups’ 1994-96 Part 2

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