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Greenwich's Bruce Museum Displays Stop-Motion Photos From 1887

Eadweard Muybridge Plate 632, Animal Locomotion, 1887 Collotype. Photo Credit: Contributed
Eadweard Muybridge Plate 163 Photo Credit: Contributed

GREENWICH, Conn. -- Two experimental works by the innovative artist-photographer Eadweard Muybridge from the Bruce Museum’s collection have come up from storage and are now on view at the Greenwich museum.

Muybridge began his pioneering photographic work in animal movement in 1872 at the request of racehorse owner and former California Gov. Leland Stanford. Fifteen years later, Muybridge was still exploring the subject. His innovative approach to photography led to new methods in animation and improved stop-motion techniques.

At an outdoor studio created for him at the University of Pennsylvania, Muybridge equipped three batteries of 12 cameras each with electronically released shutters, allowing shorter exposure times. His groundbreaking investigations into animal and human locomotion have become a valued resource for artists, anatomists, physiologists and athletes, and bridged the gap between art, science and technology.

Muybridge’s "Animal Locomotion of 1887" contains 781 photographic plates showing a variety of animal species, including many from the Philadelphia Zoo, as well as men and women performing common actions. Two works from the Animal Locomotion series were given to the Bruce Museum in 1988, including Plate 632 of a horse and rider. The 12-by-19-inch, black-and-white, high-quality photographic print called a collotype shows 12 frames each of a galloping horse and rider in side and head-on views.

The work was displayed in the 2011 exhibition titled “Saddle Up! Horsing around at the Bruce Museum.” The other collotype, Plate 163, depicts two dozen frames of a man jumping from a standing broad jump and was displayed in Bruce Museum exhibitions about the Olympics in 2012 and figural art in 2011.

Both works by the artist-photographer were recently brought up from the Bruce Museum’s collection storage area and are now on view to accompany 12 other Muybridge prints from the Animal Locomotion portfolio featured in the traveling exhibition from the Bank of America titled Science In Motion at the Bruce Museum in Greenwich through October 16.

The Bruce Museum is at 1 Museum Drive, Greenwich.

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