Saturday, July 31, 2021

Roycroft / Elbert Hubbard and Alice Hubbard

online version
Having taught courses in the history of design for many years, I have of course long known about the Roycroft Workshops in East Aurora NY, as well as their proprietors, Elbert Hubbard, and his second wife, Alice Moore Hubbard. But until recently, I hadn't realized the extent of their connections to people and events in Iowa. This new essay from The Iowa Source discloses the various details.

Saturday, July 10, 2021

Gertrude Käsebier's Portraits of Lakota Sioux

Article from The Iowa Source July 2021, p 10
On the evening of June 25, 1906, during a performance at Madison Square Garden in New York, a millionaire named Harry Thaw drew a pistol. Standing only two feet feet behind a prominent architect and socialite named Stanford White, he fired three times into his back, killing White instantly.

Thaw had recently married a chorus girl and actress named Evelyn Nesbit. In an effort to be straightforward, she revealed to him that, several years earlier, as a teenager, she had been sedated and seduced by White. At the time of the shooting, the public was well-acquainted with Nesbit. She was a popular model for artists and photographers, and a “Gibson girl” celebrity.

The best-known portrait of Nesbit, made in 1903, is an iconic image in the history of photography. The woman who made it, Iowa native Gertrude Käsebier (1852-1934), is now widely considered to be one of the finest photographers of the Modernist era. That ranking is not only based on her portrait of Nesbit—indeed, she was far more accomplished than that.

Käsebier (née Gertrude Stanton) had a photographic studio on Fifth Avenue in New York at the time that she photographed Nesbit. Her photographic career had taken off late in the 1890s, when Alfred Stieglitz published and exhibited her photographs. She was, he asserted, “the leading artistic portrait photographer of the day.”

Below Roy R. Behrens, Death Announced, 2021. Digital montage. Among the background components is a press photograph (not by Gertrude Käsebier) of the public appearance of Evelyn Nesbit (shrouded) after the assassination of Stanford White by her husband, Harry Thaw.

Roy R. Behrens, copyright © 2021