Monday, January 16, 2023

06 works, PORTRAIT OF A LADY, Evelyn Nesbit, by Rudolf Eickemeyer Jr., Otto Sarony, Gertrude Käsebier, George Grey Barnard and James Carroll Beckwith, with Footnotes. #154

Rudolf Eickemeyer, Jr. (1862–1932)
Evelyn Nesbit, c. 1901
Platinum print
9 in x 6 3/4 in; 22.86 cm x 17.145 cm
National Museum of American History

Rudolf Eickemeyer, Jr. used a wide variety of printing processes, printing out some negatives in more than one medium. In his lectures, he pointed out that this approach to photography was important because in the hands of a photographer who “lives and understands the infinitely varied moods of nature, photography can be made to express and interpret them.” More on this work

Rudolf Eickemeyer Jr. (August 7, 1862 – April 25, 1932) was an American pictorialist photographer, active in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He was one of the first Americans (along with Alfred Stieglitz) to be admitted to the Linked Ring, and his photographs won dozens of medals at exhibitions around the world in the 1890s and early 1900s. He was famous among his contemporaries for his portraits of high-society women, most notably model and singer Evelyn Nesbit. Eickemeyer's best-known photographs are now part of the collections of the Smithsonian Institution. More on Rudolf Eickemeyer Jr.

Otto Sarony,  (1850–1903)
Evelyn Nesbit (1884–1967), c. 1902
Harvard Theatre Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard University

Otto Sarony (1850–1903) was a portrait photographer and the owner of a celebrity photography business. Napoleon Sarony, the premier theatrical photographer of the 19th century, was his father. Sarony the Younger, as he was known, continued the family business. His photography business put out photos of Evelyn Nesbit, Clara Blandick, Richard Bennett, Elsie Leslie and other stars of stage and screen as well as other celebrities such as boxer Jack Johnson under his name. The actual photographers were uncredited (as he was when he worked for his father). More on Otto Sarony

Evelyn Nesbit (born Florence Evelyn Nesbit, December 25, 1884 or 1885 – January 17, 1967) was an American artists' model, chorus girl, and actress.

In the early part of the 20th century, Nesbit's figure and face appeared frequently in mass circulation newspapers and magazine advertisements, on souvenir items, and in calendars, making her a celebrity. Her career began in her early teens in Philadelphia and continued in New York, where she posed for a cadre of respected artists of the era. She had the distinction of being an early fashion and artists' model in an era when both fashion photography and the pin-up were just beginning their ascendancy.

Artist unknown
Evelyn Nesbitt circa 1903

Nesbit received further worldwide attention when her husband, the mentally unstable multimillionaire Harry Kendall Thaw, shot and killed the prominent architect and New York socialite Stanford White in front of hundreds of witnesses, leading to what the press would call the "Trial of the Century". 

Thaw was sentenced to life incarceration in a hospital for the criminally insane. As Uruburu says, “Tragically, almost as quickly as her star rose, America’s first supermodel, sex goddess and bona-fide celebrity fell victim to the very culture that created and consumed her.”

Gertrude Käsebier, (1852–1934)
Evelyn Nesbit, c. 1900 

Gertrude Käsebier (May 18, 1852 – October 12, 1934) was an American photographer. She was known for her images of motherhood, her portraits of Native Americans, and her promotion of photography as a career for women.

After studying painting at Pratt Institute and opening a portrait studio in New York in 1897, she switched to photography, displaying the influence of her painting training in her Pictorialist style. Her family and friends posed for her most celebrated series of photographs on the subject of motherhood.

Käsebier was one of the first two women to be elected to the British Linked Ring; two years later she became a founding member of Stieglitz's Photo-Secession group. Stieglitz continued to champion her by devoting the first issue of his second journal, Camera Work, to her images. Käsebier broke with Stieglitz and the Photo-Secession in 1912 but continued to photograph until she closed her studio in 1929. More on Gertrude Käsebier 

Nesbit showed resilience and made a life for herself after these traumatic events – as a mother, a silent-screen actress, a vaudeville performer and the writer of two memoirs. Along with the art works and photographs that survive of Nesbit, there have been poems and plays about her, the 1955 film The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing and the novel Ragtime by EL Doctorow, which features a subplot about the murder, and was adapted to a film and a musical. More on Evelyn Nesbitt

James Carroll Beckwith, (1852–1917)
Portrait of Evelyn Nesbit, circa 1901
Oil on canvas
Height: 31″ (78.7 cm); Width: 26.5″ (67.3 cm)
Private collection

James Carroll Beckwith, (1852-1917), was a portrait, genre and landscape painter born in 1852. He studied at the National Academy of Design, NYC, in 1871 as well as Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris. While living in Paris, Beckwith shared a studio with Sargent. They both assisted a former teacher, Emile Carolus-Duran, in painting ceiling decoration in the Louvre. He also exhibited at the Paris Salon four times between the years 1877-87. In 1910 Beckwith moved to Italy for four years where he worked on plein-air landscapes that were full of sun and color. Although most of his work was basically academic, he felt a strong Impressionistic impression. Beckwith was also a highly respected teacher at the Art Students League in NYC, where he taught an antiques course. In 1917 Beckwith met with his friend, the painter Thomas Moran, and decided he would write his autobiography. Unfortunately Beckwith passed away later that same year before he could complete Souvenirs and Reminiscences. His wife donated the unfinished manuscript to the National Academy of Design. More on James Carroll Beckwith

George Grey Barnard  (1863–1938)
"Innocence", also known as "Maidenhood", c. 1902
The model was Evelyn Nesbit
Brookgreen Gardens

George Grey Barnard (May 24, 1863 – April 24, 1938), often written George Gray Barnard, was an American sculptor who trained in Paris. He is especially noted for his heroic sized Struggle of the Two Natures in Man at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, his twin sculpture groups at the Pennsylvania State Capitol, and his Lincoln statue in Cincinnati, Ohio. His major works are largely symbolical in character. His personal collection of Medieval architectural fragments forms a core part of The Cloisters in New York City. More on George Grey Barnard

Please visit my other blogs: Art CollectorMythologyMarine ArtPortrait of a Lady, The OrientalistArt of the Nude and The Canals of VeniceMiddle East Artists365 Saints and 365 Days, also visit my Boards on Pinterest

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