About This Artwork

William Eggleston
American, born 1939

Memphis, c. 1970, printed 2002

Dye imbibition print, edition 5/9
36.8 x 55.4 cm (image); 48.7 x 57.8 cm (paper)
Signed recto, lower right, below image, in black ink: "William Eggleston"; signed, stamped and inscribed verso, lower right, in black ink: "William Eggleston / This dye transfer photograph by William Eggleston / was printed under the artist's supervision / by Nino Mondhe, Hamburg, Germany, / and is published in 2002 by the Eggleston Artistic Trust, Memphis, / in an edition of nine numbered and four lettered examples, / of which this is: [stamped] / 5/9 [inscribed/stamped underline] / EAT # [stamped] 0203.105 [inscribed/stamped underline] / © 2002, Eggleston Artistic Trust. All rights reserved. / The copyright in this photograph is the property of the / Eggleston Artistic Trust. This image may not be reproduced / without the Trust's express written permission. / Image date: [stamped] ca. 1970 [inscribed/stamped underline] Location: [stamped] Memphis [inscribed/stamped underline]"; inscribed verso, lower center, in graphite: "EG. 6686"

Restricted gift of Robert and Joan Feitler, 2006.325

After encountering the “decisive moment” photographs of Henri Cartier-Bresson in the mid-1960s, William Eggleston applied Cartier-Bresson’s formal rigor to banal subject matter and began working exclusively in color. Eggleston catapulted to notoriety when the Museum of Modern Art organized a one-person show in 1976, accompanied by a monograph, William Eggleston’s Guide. Many initial reactions to the show were negative—color photography was thought to be the purview of commercial work, and the elevation of the mundane as subject matter was met with skepticism—but the show affirmed that serious art could be made in color and with unassuming or even lowbrow subjects. This nearly monochromatic photograph of an oven in Eggleston’s hometown of Memphis, included in the Guide, hints simultaneously at domestic comfort and potential danger.

— Permanent collection label

Exhibition, Publication and Ownership Histories

Exhibition History

Barbican Art Gallery, London, "Colour After Klein," May 26-September 11, 2005.

Chicago, Art Institute of Chicago, "When Color Was New," February 24–April 29, 2007. (Katherine Bussard)

New York, New York, Whitney Museum of American Art, "William Eggleston: Democratic Camera, Photographs and Video, 1961–2008," November 7, 2008–January 25, 2009; Haus der Kunst München, Munich, February 20–May 17, 2009; Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., June 20–September 20, 2009; Art Institute of Chicago, February 27–May 23, 2010 (Katherine Bussard); and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, October 31, 2010–January 16, 2011. (Chicago and Los Angeles only)

Chicago, Art Institute of Chicago, Gallery 10 Permanent Collection Rotation, November 23, 2013–May 4, 2014.

Interpretive Resources

View mobile website