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Gertrude Käsebier. Blessed Art Thou Among Women. 1899

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Gertrude Käsebier (American, 1852–1934)

Blessed Art Thou Among Women

Platinum print
9 3/8 x 5 5/8" (23.8 x 14.3 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Mrs. Hermine M. Turner
MoMA Number:
Audio Program excerpt

Pictures by Women: A History of Modern Photography

, May 7, 2010 - April 4, 2011

Director, Glenn Lowry: Gertrude Käsebier was 37 years old when she decided to seek artistic training at Pratt Institute in New York.

Curator, Sarah Meister: She was certainly not thinking of herself as a photographer when she entered Pratt. In fact, to the contrary, she was chided by her teacher for having submitted one of her photographs to a contest and won a prize for it. Käsebier was chaperoning a trip to Europe for a bunch of Pratt students and prophetically, according to her at least, she had packed her trunk, and there was only room in her trunk for her camera. Even though she had been discouraged from pursuing photography by her teachers at Pratt she brought her camera to Europe, and that summer she began making pictures with it that she found profoundly satisfying.

She's very interested in the theme of mother and child in her work, and it's something she explored in many different ways with many different ages of children. Blessed Art Thou Among Women shows the mother in this white flowing arts and crafts gown encouraging her daughter on the threshold the doorway is certainly a symbol to step forward on her own. And this notion of encouraging children's independence would have been something that she would have learned about at Pratt, in her artistic training. The title, Blessed Art Though Among Women comes from the picture behind the woman's head so it's sometimes hard to make out, but if you look carefully it's inscribed around the frame there.

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