James Borcoman (1994-01-26)

James Borcoman
Practice: Curator
Date of Lecture: 1994-01-26

Borcoman_James_w01Charles Nègre, (1976) © The National Gallery of Canada

James Borcoman is the Curator Emeritus of Photographs for the National Gallery of Canada. He is responsible for first establishing the museum’s collection of contemporary and historical photography in 1967. As curator until 1994, Borcoman has played a major role shaping the museum’s present day holdings, which include almost 20,000 photographs. The museum boasts major selections of work by Eugène Atget (1857-1927) and Walker Evans (1903-1975) as well as images from August Sander’s (1876-1964) epic project, Man in the Twentieth Century.

Borcoman has contributed to publications such as Karsh: The Art of the Portrait (1989) and was the editor of Magicians of Light: Photographs from the Collection of the National Gallery of Canada (1993). In 1976, the National Gallery published Borcoman’s Book Charles Negre, 1820-1880 about the early French architectural photographer who has created poignant images of 1850s Paris. Borcoman’s book, Eugène Atget 1857-1927, published in 1984, details the museum’s entire Atget holding of 146 pictures. Placing Atget in the artistic and cultural context of the times, Borcoman traces the photographer’s career within the historical context of nineteenth-century photography.

Borcoman was made an Honorary Graduand of Carleton University in 1996 for his contributions to international scholarship.

James Borcoman also lectured on March 1, 1979 and October 23, 1975.