Jan 16, 2007

Self-Portrait with Grandson

Self-Portrait with Grandson


Gertrude Käsebier

(American, 1852-1934)

Platinum print

Overall: 16.4 x 15 cm (6 7/16 x 5 7/8 in.); Matted: 45.7 x 35.6 cm (18 x 14 in.)

John L. Severance Fund 1999.30



In her personal work, Käsebier frequently celebrated motherhood and traditional family life in her asymmetrical compositions, photographed in the pictorial style, which emphasizes soft focus, platinum printing, and picturesque subject matter. Her first grandchild, Charles O'Malley, provided endless inspiration for numerous touching portraits located both in outdoor and indoor settings. In this intimate image, Käsebier relied solely on warm daylight to define the room and identify the sitter's facial features and clothing details. Her instinctive sense of design and her ability to understand the telling gesture are beautifully displayed. In addition to being widely recognized for her pictorial photographs—mostly portraits and figure studies—Käsebier was a successful commercial photographer, operating a portrait studio in New York City from around 1897 until 1927.

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