Key Acquisition: The Schneider Erdman Printer's Proof Collection


We recently acquired a rare collection of over 380 printer’s proof photographs through a partial gift from artists Gary Schneider and John Erdman. Schneider and Erdman collected the photographs for over three decades through Schneider/Erdman Inc., a photo printing and finishing studio they formed in New York in 1981 to finance their lives as artists.

The printer’s proof is considered the master print—the print the artist approves and that all other prints should aim to match. The proof is the most fully realized in regard to artistic intention, and the printer typically retains it as part of the production process. It just so happens that Schneider/Erdman, Inc. was responsible for printing works by some of the most influential artists of the 1980s and ‘90s, including Richard Avedon, Matthew Barney, Robert Gober, Nan Goldin, and Peter Hujar, among many others.

The Schneider Erdman Printer’s Proof Collection captures a specific moment of great importance in the history of American contemporary art, when photography emerged as the dominant medium of visual cultural discourse. In other words, we’re beyond excited to add it to our growing collection.

Image: Laurie Simmons, Walking Camera I (Jimmy the Camera), 1987, Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum.