New in 2015: Apollo 11 Moon Landing photographs

By | December 23, 2015

For the rest of the year, we’re highlighting amazing works of art that became part of the SLAM collection in 2015. We’ll be posting a new acquisition daily through the end of the year. You can read each installment here

  • Neil Armstrong, American, 1930-2012; Apollo 11 Moon Landing, 1969; chromogenic print; image 8 x 8 inches; Saint Louis Art Museum, Gift of Ronald and Mary Jo Anderson 132:2015.2

Neil Armstrong

One probably does not associate the name Neil Armstrong with fine art. But this year the Museum acquired 10 spectacular photographs by the astronaut depicting the Apollo 11 moon landing, easily one of the most noteworthy events of the second half of the 20th century. The photographs portray fellow astronaut Buzz Aldrin, as well as the lunar surface and landing capsule.

The compositions themselves are visually stunning, and mark the first acquisition of pieces representing astronomy or space travel in the Museum’s collection. Though Armstrong took the pictures primarily for scientific and archival reasons, and had little to no photography background, there is no doubt that the photographs are remarkable, showing in great detail the textured terrain of our moon and capturing some of the most iconic imagery of space travel ever to exist.

In an acquisition proposal, Museum curators Eric Lutz and Elizabeth Wyckoff, called the prints “stunning, both for their visual character and unique subject matter.” They continued:

They are important equally as historical, scientific and aesthetic statements within the history of photography. Buzz Aldrin and the U.S. flag on the Moon in particular has become one of the most iconic images of American space exploration. Prints of these images are quite rare to find in the marketplace, especially color prints in such fine condition.

The Museum thanks Ron Anderson, a former member of the Air Force Systems Command who donated the series in April 2015. Selections from the Apollo 11 Moon Landing series will be on view in A Decade of Collecting Prints, Drawings, and Photographs, showing in Galleries 234 and 235, January 29July 17. The remaining nine photographs can be seen by appointment in the Art Museum’s Print Study Room.