The Memphis Brooks Museum of Art has a long history of collecting and exhibiting the works of William Eggleston. The extensive collection, among the deepest holdings internationally, was started in 1976 with 12 dye transfer prints acquired months after Photographs by William Eggleston closed at the Museum of Modern Art. Bought from the artist, they were mounted in an exhibition in 1977 along with 30 additional loans. Among the important works included in the purchase is the now iconic tricycle.
The photographs, currently on view, come out of two of William Eggleston’s large portfolios in the museum’s collection, Eggleston’s Egypt and The Louisiana Project. For the first time, viewers can draw parallels between his photographs of the landscapes of the southern United States and Egypt. The images highlight some of the characteristics of Eggleston’s work that these distinct bodies of work share: a fascination with ruins, desolate landscapes, poetic reflections in bodies of water and the absence of humans although their presence is evident in telephone poles and street signs.
William Eggleston, American, b. 1939, Untitled from The Egyptian Project, 1986, Chromogenic coupler print, Commissioned by Memphis Brooks Museum of Art 87.1.87. © Eggleston Artist Trust. All rights reserved.