William Brumfield gives Museum of Architecture rights
for use of his photographs of buildings by the architect Konstantin Melnikov
William Brumfield (USA), historian of Russian architecture and photographer, has donated to the A. V. Shchusev State Museum of Architecture rights for the use of digital copies of over 400 photographs and slides that document works by the major architect of the Soviet avant garde Konstantin Melnikov. The buildings photographed include the Rusakov Club (1927-29), the Bakhmetev Street Bus Garage (1926-28), the Intourist Garage, the Kauchuk Club (1927-29), the architect’s house and studio on Krivoarbat Lane in Moscow (1927-29), Garage, Novoriazanskaia street 27 (1926-1929), M.V. Frunze Dorkhimzavod club (1927-1929), Svoboda factory club (1927-1929), Gosplan garage (1936).
This gift is of special value for presenting the ability to see through the photographer’s eyes one and the same architectural monument over a period of several years. For example, Brumfield first photographed the Melnikov house in May 1980. Subsequent photographic sessions occurred there in 1984, 1997-98, and 2018. Brumfield’s photographs have an important documentary significance for future research and restoration of monuments of the avant garde.
The Schusev State Museum of Architecture and its affiliated museum, the State Museum of Konstantin and Viktor Melnikov, express their gratitude to Mr. Brumfield and look forward to further productive collaboration with him in the cause of architectural preservation.
William Craft Brumfield was born on June 28, 1944. In 1973 he received a doctoral degree in Slavic Languages and Literatures from the University of California, Berkeley. William Brumfield first visited Russia in the summer of 1970 and has since devoted himself over a period of almost a half century to traveling throughout Russia (including the Russian North) and photographing architectural monuments, many of which were subsequently lost.
William Brumfield’s photographic work on Russian architecture, numbering over 170,000 images, has been frequently displayed in museums and galleries and is held in the Department of Image Collections at the National Gallery of Art (Washington, DC). A collection is also contained in Department of Prints and Photographs at the Library of Congress.
Works by William Brumfield were displayed in a personal exhibit “The Russian North: the Witness of William Brumfield” (2001) at the State Museum of Architecture in Moscow and in the museum’s exhibit “Wooden Russia. A view from the 21st Century” (2015). In 2014 Brumfield became a laureate of the Academician D. S. Likhachev Prize “for outstanding contributions to the preservation of the historic and cultural heritage of Russia.”
An extensive collection of digital copies of Brumfield’s work is available at the site of the Department of Culture of Vologda Province: http://cultinfo.ru/brumfield/index_e.htm
One can become acquainted with results of the photographer’s expeditions in Russia at the site “Russia Beyond,” where he regularly publishes under the heading “Discovering Russia”: https://www.rbth.com/special-discovering-russia