Oct 31, 2007
Oct 31, 2007

Composition with Crow and Chair

Composition with Crow and Chair

c. 1939

Leslie Gill

(American, 1908–1958)

Gelatin silver print

Image: 34.3 x 25.6 cm (13 1/2 x 10 1/16 in.); Matted: 50.8 x 40.6 cm (20 x 16 in.)

John L. Severance Fund 1995.238



Leslie Gill was one of the most influential still-life photographers of the early 20th century, frequently publishing in House Beautiful and Harper’s Bazaar. Composition with Crow and Chair exemplifies Gill’s distinctive style, which was characterized by a classical sense of design, meticulous composition, and delicate sensitivity for light, texture, and balance. The subject of the photograph seems to be the play of light over differing materials, including satin, glass, mirror, wood, and ceramic. Gill’s image suffuses this modern composition with a sense of menace by including a disembodied doll’s head and a stuffed crow. A once-living creature, the crow becomes an inanimate object and subject for Gill’s still life—a bird that has been both literally and symbolically "stilled" by man and his camera.

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