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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Modest Request

Portrait of Charles L. Freer, circa 1909, Photographer Alvin Langdon CoburnPortrait of Charles L. Freer, circa 1909
by Alvin Langdon Coburn (1882 – 1966)
Platinum print
Charles Lang Freer Papers

This print was taken by prominent photographer Alvin Langdon Coburn, and sent to former Freer Gallery of Art director Archibald Wenley in 1955. A letter from the owner explained that it was given to the son of Freer’s friend and business associate, Col. Frank Hecker. A note written by Freer to Hecker accompanied the portrait, stating:

“Your flattering request for a photograph is granted on condition that when you tire of it you will then personally burn it – I have a horror of having it fall into unfriendly hand.”

Fortunately, Freer’s request was not heeded and I hope he would not consider us unfriendly hands! The
Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives is currently working on digitizing and cataloging this collection's photographs. Stay tuned!

Rachael Cristine Woody
Archivist
Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives
woodyr@si.edu

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