Fact Sheets

“Antebellum Portraits by Mathew Brady”

January 1, 2017

Version en español


“Antebellum Portraits by Mathew Brady”

June 16 through June 3, 2018



Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery

Eighth and F streets N.W.


“Antebellum Portraits by Mathew Brady” traces the trajectory of Matthew Brady’s early career through daguerreotypes, ambrotypes and salted-paper prints in the National Portrait Gallery’s collection. Brady’s early years as a photographer coincided with rapid technological innovations in the field. More than a decade before his well-known depictions of the Civil War, Brady became an internationally acclaimed portrait photographer, opening his first daguerreotype studio in New York City in 1844. Brady’s studio remained in the vanguard of photographic innovation, adopting ambrotypes as a new medium in the mid-1850s and later producing handsome, salted-paper print portraits from glass negatives. This Daguerreian Gallery exhibition will also feature historic engravings and several advertising broadsides Brady used to market his portrait enterprise. Ann Shumard, the Portrait Gallery’s senior curator of photographs, is the curator of the exhibition.

The National Portrait Gallery

The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery tells the multifaceted story of America through the individuals who have shaped its culture. Through the visual arts, performing arts and new media, the Portrait Gallery portrays poets and presidents, visionaries and villains, actors and activists whose lives tell the American story.

The National Portrait Gallery is part of the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture at Eighth and F streets N.W., Washington, D.C. Smithsonian Information: (202) 633-1000. Website: npg.si.edu. Connect with the museum at Facebook, Instagram, blog, Twitter and YouTube.  


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Media only  
Marielba Alvarez  
(202) 633-2585