Pictures in the Parlor

February 1, 2013 – July 7, 2013

Smithsonian American Art Museum
8th and F Streets, NW
Washington, DC

2nd Floor, South Floor Plan

More than 50 objects—painted tintypes, hand-colored photographs, and folios from a Victorian collage album—reveal how decorative images from the mid-19th century through the early 20th century were used in domestic interiors. Photography was introduced to the United States in the 1840s, democratizing home décor by allowing more families to display art. The parlor became the center of middle-class domestic life, a place where pictures that reflected a family’s aesthetics, status, and history were prominently displayed.