This past year the Autry Museum in Los Angeles and the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana both had exhibitions of some amazing photographs by the masters. Bowers had its final exhibition in a series on Edward Weston's work and the Autry highlighted Group f/64 and Richard Misrach's photographs from the Bank of America collection. I believe it so important to see prints by the masters of our craft for a photographer to really have the understanding of what a good print looks like. I remember early in my career getting to see, and hold, a Weston pepper print and learning so much from that experience. Another important exhibition I saw was SFMOMA commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Ansel Adams where they exhibited 100 of his prints curated by John Szarkowski. What I enjoyed most in that exhibition was seeing prints of the same image that were printed at different times in Ansel's career. It really highlighted how he honed his craft as a master printer.
My only criticism of these two exhibitions was the lighting in the galleries at both venues. At the Autry it was too dim and you couldn't see print detail. I especially remember two split toned images by Misrach which looked they were beautiful but there wasn't enough light on them to show the green and purple tones. The lighting at Bowers was inconsistent, one image would be lit perfectly then the next would have fall off that prevented the viewer from seeing the full beauty of the image.
As a side note, here are some favorite works I saw at the Autry on my last visit (I am Maynard Dixon) :