Harry Callahan

American (Detroit, Michigan, 1912 - 1999, Atlanta, Georgia)

Eleanor and Barbara, Chicago

ca. 1954
photograph | gelatin silver print
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  • Eleanor and Barbara, Chicago

    Harry Callahan, Eleanor and Barbara, Chicago, ca. 1954; gelatin silver print, 7 11/16 in. x 9 5/8 in. (19.53 cm x 24.45 cm); Collection SFMOMA, Gift of Virginia Hassel Ballinger in memory of Paul Hassel; © Estate of Harry Callahan / Courtesy Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York


Harry Callahan was a most unlikely artist. A college dropout with no training or interest in art, he bought his first camera while clerking in the accounting department of the Chrysler Corporation in Detroit. He did not come to photography seeking a means to express himself, but, rather, through photography, accidentally discovered his inner artist.

His primary subjects are the things he knew best: the natural and built landscapes of the Midwest and his nuclear family. At once a portrait and a compositional study, this photograph of his wife, Eleanor, and his daughter, Barbara, exemplifies Callahan's commitment to formal experimentation. Here he successfully composes his shot around a telephone pole that rigidly bisects the picture plane.

A revered teacher at the Institute of Design in Chicago and, later, the Rhode Island School of Design, Callahan inspired legions of students with his cool, clean aesthetic.


7 11/16 in. x 9 5/8 in. (19.53 cm x 24.45 cm)
Acquired 1973
Collection SFMOMA
Gift of Virginia Hassel Ballinger in memory of Paul Hassel
© Estate of Harry Callahan / Courtesy Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York
73.57.3

Tags

women, girls, wives, daughters, portraits, walls, poles, coats


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