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Eleanor, Chicago

A self-taught photographer from Detroit, Harry Callahan became one of the most influential teachers and photographers to be associated with American modernism. Recognized for his clean, crisp printing style and his elegant, formal design, Callahan often worked in series. One of his favorite subjects was Eleanor Knapp, whom he married in 1936. From the mid-1940s through the 1960s, he produced an intimate family album composed of more than one hundred images of Eleanor (sometimes with their daughter Barbara). More than simply portraits, they reflect Callahan’s unique way of “seeing photographically.” He did not wait for the decisive moment, but created it by carefully posing Eleanor. She was his ever-willing participant—clothed or nude, close-up or far away. Through her trust and his vision they created a symbol of womanhood and of their love.

Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art’s collection includes four other depictions of Eleanor (alone or with her daughter Barbara) (Eskenazi Museum of Art 300. X.6.3, 300. X.6.12, 78.28.1, and 200. X.10.2).

Harry Callahan
American, 1912–1999
Eleanor, Chicago
1949
Gelatin silver print
Image/sheet: 10 5/8 x 10 7/16 in. (27.0 x 26.5 cm); mount: 16 9/16 x 14 15/16 in. (42.1 x 37.9 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Art Sinsabaugh Archive, 300.X.6.13

Large image not available.