On July 20, 1969, half a billion viewers around the world watched as the Apollo 11 mission beamed back to earth the first television footage of American astronauts on the moon. This groundbreaking moment dramatically influenced the history of images and expanded the bounds of human perception. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York presents visual representations of the moon from the dawn of photography through the present in the exhibition Apollo’s Muse: The Moon in the Age of Photography. On view through September 22, the show features more than 170 photographs together with a selection of related drawings, prints, paintings, films, video art, astronomical instruments, and cameras used by Apollo astronauts.
Apollo’s Muse traces the progress of astronomical photography and attempts to produce ever-sharper images of the moon, particularly during the 130-year period between the invention of photography in 1839 and the moon landing in 1969. Exhibition highlights include two newly discovered lunar daguerreotypes from the 1840s, believed to be the earliest existing photographs of the moon, and works by such pioneers of lunar photography as Warren De La Rue (1815–1889), Lewis Morris Rutherfurd (1816–1892), and John Adams Whipple (1822–1891).
John Adams Whipple, (American, 1822–1891); James Wallace Black, (American, 1825–1896); The Moon, 1857–60; Salted paper print from glass negative; 8 7⁄16 x 6 5⁄16 in. (21.4 x 16 cm) The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Robert O. Dougan Collection, Gift of Warner Communications Inc., 1981
William Anders, (American, b. 1933); NASA Apollo 8; Earthrise, 1968; Color laser print; 20 ½ x 20 ¼ in. (52 × 51.5 cm) Gift of Jules Bergman, 1984, Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs, The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations
John Adams Whipple, (American, 1822–1891); View of the Moon, 1852; Daguerreotype; 3 ⅞ x 3 in. (9.8 x 7.6 cm). Considered to be one of the oldest existing photographs of the moon John G. Wolbach Library, Harvard College Observatory, Cambridge, Mass. (OB-8)
Harrison Schmitt, (American, b. 1935); NASA Apollo 17; Blue Marble, 1972; Color laser print; 11 x 10 1⁄16 in. (28 x 25.5 cm) Gift of Jules Bergman, 1984, Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs, The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations
Edward J. Steichen, (American, b. Luxembourg, 1879–1973); The Pond — Moonrise, 1904; Platinum print with applied color; 15 ⅝ x 19 in. (39.7 x 48.2 cm) The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Alfred Stieglitz Collection, 1933
Transparency of the Moon from Negatives Made at the Lick Observatory, Mount Hamilton, California, ca. 1896; Gelatin silver transparency on glass; Overall: 18 11⁄16 x 15 ¾ in. (47.5 x 40 cm) Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs, The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations
Neil Armstrong (American, 1930–2012) NASA Apollo 11; Buzz Aldrin Walking on the Surface of the Moon near a Leg of the Lunar Module, 1969, printed later; Dye transfer print 16 ⅛ x 16 ⅜ in. (41 x 41.6 cm); The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Purchase, Alfred Stieglitz Society Gifts, 2017