Dec 8, 2009



c. 1923

Paul Outerbridge

(American, 1896-1958)

Platinum print

Paper: 9 x 7.7 cm (3 9/16 x 3 1/16 in.); Matted: 45.7 x 35.6 cm (18 x 14 in.)

John L. Severance Fund 2000.18



Rather than recording the likeness of a particular individual, Outerbridge concentrated only on his model's torso in this early work. Photographing at close range in soft light, he skillfully emphasized formal elements, such as curving line and patterns created by shadow. This focus on the fundamental shapes and contours of the human form reflects the common interest of many early 20th-century photographers in exploring modernist approaches to art. Here the platinum printing process produced a subtle range of rich gray tones that enhance the sensuality of the image. Outerbridge continued his study of figures, still lifes, and landscapes in his personal work, while simultaneously pursuing a successful career in fashion and advertising photography from the 1920s to the 1950s.

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