Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

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Fall 2001 Newsletter

Capstone to David Douglas Duncan Archive Arrives

David Douglas Duncan, Pablo Picasso in his bathtub at La Californie. Our first meeting. 8 February 1956.

David Douglas Duncan, "Pablo Picasso in
his bathtub at La Californie. Our first
meeting. 8 February 1956."

David Douglas Duncan, Legends on the Imzad. Desert siren Tambarek. 1953.

David Douglas Duncan, "Legends on the
Imzad. Desert siren Tambarek." 1953.

Douglas Duncan, Faceless, Henri Cartier-Bresson, The Garden Caf³, Picasso Museum, May 2000.

David Douglas Duncan, "Faceless," Henri
Cartier-Bresson, The Garden Café, Picasso
Museum, May 2000.

The Ransom Center's immense archive of photojournalist David Douglas Duncan has been enriched and completed with an additional gift of imagery, books and papers. The recent shipment, which arrived in early September, follows three earlier lots which came from the noted photographer in 1996-1998.

Duncan, who rose to fame as one of LIFE's greatest early staff photographers, became one of the twentieth century's pre-eminent photojournalists, covering everything from the Korean and Viet Nam wars to major newsmakers and celebrities of the latter half of the century. Throughout these years he has also distinguished himself through writing and publishing nearly two dozen books featuring the vast range of his photography.

The current gift contains original negatives, prints, and color transparencies from many of his most significant bodies of work, including Duncan's exclusive documentation from the 1950s of the treasures of the Kremlin and the entire record of his eighteen-year-long friendship with the artist Pablo Picasso. Also of major significance are the numerous maquettes and files relating to many books—both published and unpublished—which have engaged his attention and commitment over the past few decades. Other unique and important bodies of work include early imagery of Cayman Island turtlemen, late-1940s coverage of Saudi Arabia and ARAMCO, and a 1950-51 story on the rise of postwar Japanese culture and society. Finally, of noteworthy interest are unique pieces such as the original typewriter which Duncan utilized in writing nearly all his books and a magnum champagne bottle signed by Picasso and Jacqueline Roque on the occasion of the celebration of their wedding and presented to Duncan in 1961.

I have noted previously, "David Douglas Duncan's most recent gift gives us a more fully realized vision of the man and his times, and will provide present and future generations of scholars and patrons with the means to understand modern photography's ongoing impact and significance throughout the many dimensions of photojournalism, the fine arts, and the humanities."

— Roy Flukinger, Senior Curator of Photography and Film


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