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Photographer Donates Thoreau-Inspired Artwork to the Morgan

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The photographer Abelardo Morell in 2011.

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Jemal Countess/Getty Images

In 1979, before he gained recognition for his photography, Abelardo Morell worked the night shift as a security guard for the Morgan Library & Museum. Now, Mr. Morell has donated a new work of art to the museum to honor its security staff. “Thoreau: 40 Journals in Chronological Order” will be on display at the Morgan from Tuesday through Sept. 10. as part of “This Ever New Self: Thoreau and His Journal,” which traces Henry David Thoreau’s life through notebooks and other artifacts. (“He is a model of resistance in a rived, self-destructive, demagogic political moment,” Holland Cotter wrote in a notebook on the exhibit.)

Mr. Morell already has an exhibit this year celebrating the bicentennial of Thoreau’s birth: his “Walden: Four Views,” at the Concord Museum in Massachusetts, is made up of panoramic photographs of Walden Pond. For the new work at the Morgan, Mr. Morell worked with the museum to take photographs of the back covers of 24 years’ worth of Mr. Thoreau’s journals. The first cover was used by Thoreau while he lived at Walden Pond, while the last one he kept until his death in 1862. The resulting colorful grid resembles a quilt, and will be displayed at the entrance to the exhibit.

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