Phillipe Halsman: Paul Newman Chopping Wood, 1963, gelatin silver print, 14 by 10 1/4 inches. Portland Museum of Art, Maine © Phillipe Halsman, courtesy Magnum Photos.

 

 

 

Maine's Portland Museum of Art (PMA) has received a gift of photographs from the collection of local philanthropists Owen and Anna Wells. The 69 images include works by such important American artists as Ansel Adams, Margaret Bourke-White, Paul Strand, Eliot Porter and William Wegman.

Owen Wells is the vice chair of the Chicago-based human rights organization the Libra Foundation, while Anna, his wife, serves as president of the PMA board of trustees. The couple began their collection in the 1990s, initially focusing on artists with a Maine connection. Later, they broadened their holdings to include work by a number of prominent 20th-century photographers.

Forty-five of the photos will be the subject of the PMA's upcoming exhibition "American Vision: Photographs From the Collection of Owen and Anna Wells" (Dec. 21, 2013-Feb. 23, 2014). The photographs document over eight decades of American history, ranging from the early 1900s to the 1990s. The selections include portraits, shots of daily life and landscapes, taken in such diverse locations as rural New England, the American West and big cities like New York.