February 2017

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Robert C. Lautman Photography Collection

Pavilions at the American National Exhibition, 1959, Sokolniki Park, Moscow, Soviet Union
© Robert Lautman

Gift of the Estate of Robert C. Lautman

Donated in 2007

In 1948, the moment architectural modernism began appearing in the Washington, D.C., region, Robert C. Lautman (born 1923) opened his studio. The young architectural photographer quickly gained the respect of the area's up-and-coming modernist architects--including Charles M. Goodman, Arthur H. Keyes, and Hugh Newell Jacobsen, all of whom became lifelong clients. Known for capturing vantage points that yield unusually evocative images of his subjects, Lautman earned his national reputation with commissions from prominent architecture and shelter magazines. His expertly crafted images cover a wide range of commercial, residential, and institutional projects.

With one foot planted firmly in modern design, Lautman likewise began garnering accolades for his work in historic preservation, notably for his arresting photographs of such revered National Historic Landmarks as Monticello and Mount Vernon. He is a recipient of the American Institute of Architects' (AIA) Gold Medal for Architectural Photography and is an honorary member of the AIA. 

Donated to the Museum in 2006, Lautman's outstanding collection of more than 30,000 prints, transparencies, and negatives documents American architectural trends during the second half of the twentieth century and provides a remarkable record of the D.C. metropolitan area's growth and development.