Remembering a collector

Amy Blakemore, American, born 1958, Girl & Game,
1990, Gift of Will Michels in memory of John Cleary
and his lifelong love of photographs

"To collect is to rescue things, valuable things, from neglect, from oblivion, or simply from the ignoble destiny of being in someone else´s collection rather than one´s own," wrote Susan Sontag. Cleary was a rescuer. He rescued things for himself and for others. Many collectors of photographs owe a debt of gratitude for Cleary´s aid in starting, expanding, or enhancing their collections.

Cleary was a dedicated supporter of the museum´s photography collections. He made images from both his personal collection and the gallery inventory available for various exhibition projects, helped the museum find and acquire significant images to add to the permanent collection, and donated numerous photographs to the museum.

Cleary´s legacy has prompted both photographers and photography dealers to make generous donations to the museum in his memory, selections from which are shown in this exhibition.

Remembering John Cleary
is on view at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston through Sunday, May 3, 2009.

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