Making a Myth: How Unknown Photographers Found Fame After Death

Kat Kiernan
Art Market Studies

About this Item

Title
Making a Myth: How Unknown Photographers Found Fame After Death
Contributor Names
Kiernan, Kat (Author)
Fashion Institute of Technology, State University of New York. Art Market Studies (Degree granting institution)
Schwartz, Alexandra (Thesis advisor)
Degen, Natasha (Thesis advisor)
Date
2021
Degree Information
M.A. Fashion Institute of Technology, State University of New York 2021.
Department: Art Market Studies.
Advisors: Schwartz, Alexandra; Degen, Natasha.
Abstract
Some artists achieve substantial fame only after their death. Such fame is brought about through the efforts of a network of curators, critics, and estate managers who collectively shape a story from the life and work of the artist into a cohesive mythology and, in so doing, create or expand the market and value for the artist's work. Photographers are a unique subset of the posthumously famous artist. Unlike painting or sculpture, most photography is produced not for artistic purposes but to document people, events, places, or objects. When everyone is a photographer, what separates an artist from an amateur becomes a matter of marketing. This thesis explores the posthumous discovery of three of photography's key figures: Eugène Atget, Francesca Woodman, and Vivian Maier. It examines the stories of their discoveries and investigates significant aspects of creating an artist myth from a deceased artist's identity: control over the artist's estate, institutional support, and critical writing. Taking a broad look at the problems the photographic medium has historically faced in its acceptance as a fine art, this research demonstrates the necessity of establishing a photographer's mythology in order to further the market for their works.
Subject
Atget, Eugène, 1857-1927
Woodman, Francesca, 1958-1981
Maier, Vivian, 1926-2009
Photography
Photographers
Decedents' estates
Executors and administrators
Artists
Rights
In Copyright
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Identifier
FIT Repository ID: etd_000885
pqdiss: 28963940
ISBN: 9798790646003
Related Materials
Also available from ProQuest
Type
Text
Thesis
Language
eng
Publisher
Ann Arbor : ProQuest Dissertations & Theses

Citation

Kiernan, K. (2021). Making a Myth: How Unknown Photographers Found Fame After Death [Master's thesis, Fashion Institute of Technology, State University of New York]. FIT Institutional Repository. https://institutionalrepository.fitnyc.edu/item/4026
Kiernan, Kat. Making a Myth: How Unknown Photographers Found Fame After Death. 2021. Fashion Institute of Technology, State University of New York, Master's thesis. FIT Digital Repository, https://institutionalrepository.fitnyc.edu/item/4026
Kiernan, Kat. "Making a Myth: How Unknown Photographers Found Fame After Death." Master's thesis, Fashion Institute of Technology, State University of New York, 2021. https://institutionalrepository.fitnyc.edu/item/4026