How A Valuable Photography Collection Found A Home at the Baum Gallery

Dr. Hunter-Stiebel and Gerald Stiebel; A Gift of Historic American and European Photographs »
By Avery Rudolph, Senior Undergrad Student | Art History »

Julia Margaret Cameron, King Arthur (from Idylis of the King), 1874-1875, Albumen print from wet collodion glass negative

In early 2019, the Baum Gallery received a call from a familiar name, Gerald Stiebel – a fourth generation art dealer that was originally based in New York City. Both he and his wife, Dr. Hunter Stiebel, were looking to downsize and move to Santa Fe, New Mexico. As such, Mr. Stiebel was looking for contact information for the Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts as a possible repository of his significant collection of American and European photographs – which comprises of 11 works by Edward Weston, Julia Margaret Cameron, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and many others. After a brief conversation with gallery director Brian Young, Mr. Stiebel decided the Baum Gallery would be an equally deserving home. (Excerpted from the Gallery Label by Director Brian Young).

About the Donors »

The family’s art dealing firm began in Frankfurt before 1870 by Rosenbaum, whose son Isaak would later take over the firm and continue the family’s legacy. Unfortunately, Isaak had no children who would likely inherit the firm upon his death. As a result, he and his nephews went into business together – with one of them carrying the last name Stiebel. When Hitler rose to power in 1919, the Rosenbergs moved to Amsterdam where Isaak passed away in 1936. As the notion that Hitler would cross into the Netherlands became a growing concern, the Stiebel family sent their youngest son Eric to New York City, where he started a new company titled Rosenburg & Stiebel. Which later became formally known as Stiebel, Ltd. (Excerpted from the following:

Edward Weston, Eggs and Slicer, negative date, 1930, Silver gelatin print

Dr. Penelope Hunter-Stiebel worked as a consultant for the Metropolitan Museum of Fine Art, more specifically, in the 20th-century decorative arts collection from 1970 to 1983. In 1979, she was appointed the associated curator of the MET’s applied art department and she was the first permanent appointment within that department. In so doing, she also collected many objects of post-war design for the museum’s holdings. By the early 2000s, Dr. Stiebel left the Metropolitan Museum to join her husband and father-in-law at Stiebel, Ltd. She later returned to curatorial work for the Portland Art Museum where she curated several exhibitions including an 18th-century French painting, with collections from the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, and Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum. (Excerpted from the Gallery Label by Director Brian Young).

Tibor Honty, Summer Evening, negative date, 1952, Silver gelatin print

On behalf of the University of Central Arkansas, we would like to express our sincere gratitude for Gerald and Penelope Stiebel’s generous gift of historic European and American photographs. As well as many thanks to Director Brian Young for crafting the exhibition and finding a permanent home for these artworks on campus. If you would like to see the collection, it is currently on view at the Baum Gallery: Monday-Friday 10am – 5pm, Saturday – Closed, Sunday 1pm – 5pm.