Muybridge in San Francisco

The works of noted 19th century photographer, Eadweard Muybridge, are showcased in the first-ever retrospective Helios: Eadweard Muybridge in a Time of Change. Best known for his groundbreaking studies of animals and humans in motion, Muybridge (1830–1904) was also an innovative and successful landscape and survey photographer, documentary artist, inventor, and war correspondent. In 1867, Muybridge returned to San Francisco and began his career in photography. Between 1867 and 1871, Muybridge published under the pseudonym “Helios.”
backside of Muybridge stereograph

In June 2009, the San Francisco Public Library was invited by the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. to lend five works and a photograph album by Muybridge for the exhibition. The San Francisco Public Library’s works on loan include a series of albumen silver prints documenting the construction of the Appraiser’s Building in 1875 and an album of albumen silver prints of Leland Stanford’s residence on California Street in Nob Hill circa 1878. The album has Jane Stanford’s hand-written captions of room styles and colors. The exhibition brings together over 300 works from thirty-eight lenders. The works were on view at the Corcoran Gallery of Art and Tate Britain. The Helios exhibition opened late February, at its last venue the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and will be on view until June 7.

Please visit Helios at SFMOMA and visit the San Francisco Historical Photograph Collection.  In addition to the works on loan, the San Francisco Historical Photograph Collection has 50 stereographs by Muybridge. A popular 19th century photographic format was the stereograph – a pair of photographs mounted on a card which appear three-dimensional with a special viewer. You may also view the sixty-three prints of the Leland Stanford album online.
Appraisers Building - Edweard Muybridge - November 11, 1875

Recommended readings about Muybridge -
Rebecca Solnit’s River of Shadows: Eadweard Muybridge and the Technological Wild West
Brian Clegg’s The Man Who Stopped Time: The Illuminating Story of Eadweard Muybridge: Pioneer Photographer, Father of the Motion Picture, Murderer
Visit the San Francisco History Center or the Art, Music & Recreation Center of the Main Library to view the catalogue of the exhibition - Philip Brookman’s Helios: Eadweard Muybridge in a Time of Change which includes a complete checklist of the works in the exhibition. If you miss the exhibition, download SFMOMA's podcast Eadweard Muybridge Gallery Exploration and flip through the catalogue.