About this artwork
F. Holland Day played a key role in the international Pictorialist movement that gained strength around 1900. Pictorialists believed that photography could be a vehicle for personal expression. They employed soft focus, borrowed compositions from paintings, and presented their work as fine art—for example, surrounding the image with one or more layers of tinted paper. Day, a flamboyant presence, dressed his frequent model J. Alexandre Skeete in elaborate costumes for a series of photographs evoking imaginary African royalty: the title of this work references the 10th-century BC Ethiopian king Menelek and Ethiopia’s 1896 independence from Italy under Menelek II. This series furthered a long, con-troversial tradition of white artists exoticizing, and also eroticizing, people of color as “other.”
For more on the Alfred Stieglitz collection at the Art Institute, along with in-depth object information, please visit the website: The Alfred Stieglitz Collection.
- Currently Off View
- Photography and Media
- F. Holland Day
- Made 1896–1902
- Platinum print
- Blind stamped recto, lower left: "FHD [?/insignia]"; inscribed verso, on second hinged paper, center, in black pencil: "Property - / AS"
- 14.7 × 11.5 cm (image/paper); 14.8 × 11.7 cm (first mount); 36.2 × 27.4 cm (second mount)
- Alfred Stieglitz Collection