Jan 18, 2007

The Hamadryads

The Hamadryads

c. 1910

Anne W. Brigman

(American, 1869–1950)

Gelatin silver print

Image: 24.1 x 19.7 cm (9 1/2 x 7 3/4 in.); Paper: 40.8 x 32.7 cm (16 1/16 x 12 7/8 in.); Matted: 50.8 x 40.6 cm (20 x 16 in.)

Andrew R. and Martha Holden Jennings Fund 1995.77



During the first two decades of the 20th century, Anne Brigman was a leading practitioner of the pictorial photography style. She often used mythological themes rendered in soft focus, and manipulated her prints and negatives to remove her photographic subject matter from common, everyday reality. This print exemplifies Brigman's allegorical photography, in which nude figures were integrated into natural settings. In Greek mythology a Hamadryad is a nymph whose life begins and ends with that of a specific tree. Here, two nude females, representing "wood nymphs," were carefully placed among the flowing forms of an isolated tree in the Sierra Nevada mountains, a favorite location for much of Brigman's work.

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