This anonymous photograph may date from the Civil War and may depict a Union remount station in the Shenandoah Valley. Often run by civilians, remount stations were farms where horses were trained to replace those lost in battle. Although the photographer positioned his camera so that each aspect of the facility could be clearly seen-horses, trainers, training ground, and military encampment-the casual arrangement and informal demeanor of the subjects impart a lively and engaging quality to the image. More than a century later, the precise documentary meaning of this image has vanished, a bit like the horse that moved during the exposure, leaving only a blurred but beautiful impression of a fleeting reality.
A. Hyatt Mayor
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Johnson Gallery, Selections from the Collection 31," January 28, 2002–May 19, 2003.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Johnson Gallery, Selections from the Collection 43," May 9, 2006–August 28, 2006.