Chicago

Photograph of six black leafless trees in stark winter landscape.

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  • Photograph of six black leafless trees in stark winter landscape.

Date:

1950

Artist:

Harry Callahan
American, 1912–1999

About this artwork

One of the most important figures in modern American photography, Harry Callahan was a humble and intuitive artist. He was largely self-taught, and as a teacher at Chicago’s Institute of Design (1946–61), he continued to learn by assigning photographic problems to students and then solving them himself. Influenced by both the classicism of Ansel Adams and the experimentalism of László Moholy-Nagy, Callahan fused formal precision and exploration with personal subjectivity. He photographed a wide range of subjects—female pedestrians lost in thought on Chicago’s streets; architectural facades; his wife, Eleanor; and weeds and grasses in snow. Chicago, one of his best-known pictures, shows trees covered in snow along Chicago’s Lake Shore Drive. Although Callahan captured all of the detail available in the bark and snow in his negative, he purposely printed this image in high contrast to emphasize the black-and-white forms of the trees against the stark backdrop. With a graphic sensibility typical of the Institute of Design, Callahan reminds the viewer that a photograph is first and foremost an arrangement of tones and shapes on a piece of paper.

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Photography

Artist

Harry Callahan

Title

Chicago

Origin

Chicago

Date

1950

Medium

Gelatin silver print

Inscriptions

Signed recto, on mount, lower right, below image, in graphite: "Harry Callahan"; inscribed verso, on mount, upper left, sideways, blue pencil: "Box 1#"; signed verso, center, in blue ink: "Harry Callahan"

Dimensions

19.2 × 24.2 cm (image/paper); 20.2 × 25.3 cm (mount)

Credit Line

The Mary and Leigh Block Endowment Fund

Reference Number

1983.65

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email .

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