Rediscovering Ancient Egypt — and a Genius Photographer

Karnak. Hypostyle Hall. Northern Wall, Interior. No. 3, 1854, by John Beasley Greene. (Musée d’Orsay. )
A fresh look at John Beasley Green, a young adventurer turned archeologist

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE T his stunted, weird museum season has a sleeper star: Signs and Wonders: The Photographs of John Beasley Greene. It interprets the career of a dead young genius whose specialty was investigating and photographing ancient Egyptian ruins. Greene (1832–1856) worked in photography’s pioneer days when its capacity to document and its potential as art were just starting to ripen.

The show, organized by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, ran there last fall. I’d heard nothing but praise for it and planned to see it at the Art Institute of Chicago this spring, but, alas, the Art Institute opened in March

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