Gertrude Käsebier. Eyy Oh.

30 Jan

Gertrude Käsebier is one of the earliest American female photographers and is known for her portraits of Native Americans and for her work depicting motherhood. I had never heard of Käsebier before this assignment, but strangely enough, I discovered that we share the same hometown. Käsebier was born in 1852 in Fort Des Moines, which is now the city of Des Moines and the capitol of Iowa.  When she was only eight, her family moved to Golden, Colorado to join her father during the days of the prosperous gold rush.  After her father’s death, Käsebier’s mother moved the family to Brooklyn.  When Käsebier was 22, she married Eduard Käsebier and entered into a very unhappy marriage. Despite their unhappy marriage, her husband supported her and paid for her to enter art school when she was in her late 30s.  This was surely a way for Käsebier to escape her miserable married life.  Käsebier took several art courses but was particularly attracted to photography which she pursued abroad in Europe.  Within a short amount of time after returning to the US she pursued becoming a professional photographer.  She was immediately successful and had many solo shows and within a year had achieved critical success across the country and internationally.  Her connections even gave her the opportunity to photograph Auguste Rodin.  Her portraits are known for capturing the individuality and the expression of those who sat for her.

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