Jan 28, 2008

Portrait of Eleanora Duse

Portrait of Eleanora Duse


Baron Adolph de Meyer

(American, 1868-1949)

Platinum print

Image: 33.1 x 24.4 cm (13 1/16 x 9 5/8 in.); Matted: 61 x 45.7 cm (24 x 18 in.)

Lawrence Hitchcock Fund 1995.29



Adolph de Meyer's celebrity portraits are characterized by their soft focus and inventive lighting. The subject of this example is Eleanor Duse (1859–1924), an Italian-born tragic actress acclaimed throughout Europe and America. Assuming an appropriately theatrical pose, in de Meyer's composition she stares, with head slightly raised, directly at the camera. Lush shadows obscure much of the detail. De Meyer frequently used a lens that was sharply ground at its center and softly polished at its edges to produce the desired, mysterious effect.

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