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Friday, August 24, 2012

Family Portraits and Vacation Photos

Paul Manship Holding his Daughter Sarah

Included among the more typical photographs of artists and their oeuvre found in American Art’s Peter Juley & Son Collection, are a large number of images featuring artists photographed outside of their studios (some of which I wrote about earlier in the season). The Juleys were regularly employed by the Art Students League and the National Academy of Design, and their work often documented professional or formal events such as gallery openings, board meetings, and awards ceremonies. What I really enjoy however, are the group portraits taken at casual gatherings and family vacation retreats.

I really like the family photos pictured below featuring artists Jo Cantine and Reginald Marsh. The facial expressions of the sitters are amusing, especially those of Jo Cantine’s sons, and help the viewer to identify with the subjects. It’s easy to imagine both of the portraits taking place after a long day spent together as a family, the teenagers perhaps annoyed at having to endure so much family interaction.

Reginald Marsh with his Family

Other photos I’ve found are staged in way that (whether unintentional or not) are sure to elicit a laugh or two from the viewer. Had there been social media websites or image sharing blogs in the early 20th century, these would have surely been popular entries. Below, John Carroll with friends and fellow artists strike a humorous pose for the camera, and Marguerite and William Zorach choose an inventive way to send their holiday greetings:

(John Carroll with artist friends), ca. 1930
Marguerite and William Zorach
I love that these images and others in our Photograph Archives offer a chance to really connect with the artists on a more personal level.

You can search for more group portraits in the Juley Collection as well as our other Photo Archives on SIRIS.

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