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Death Comes to an Old Lady

A work made of gelatin silver print.

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  • A work made of gelatin silver print.




Duane Stephen Michals
American, born 1932

About this artwork

Duane Michals initially turned to photography beginning in the late 1950s, following a brief career as a graphic designer. A decade later he began creating narrative sequences that play on themes such as desire, memory, dreams, and mortality. Composed of a succession of events, these staged scenes utilize cinematic language, but ultimately refer to specifically photographic tools. Whereas film stills depict single moments in time, many of Michals’s images show blurred figures, implying movement within each “frame.” Unlike the narrative sequence of a film, these images are open to individual interpretation and yield no overarching storyline. For this sequence, Michals enlisted his grandmother to animate his fascination with mortality, noting, “I am compulsive in my preoccupation with death. In some way, I am preparing myself for my own death.


Currently Off View


Photography and Media


Duane Stephen Michals


Death Comes to an Old Lady


United States (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

Made 1969


Gelatin silver print


8.6 × 12.7 cm (3 7/16 × 5 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Boardroom, Inc.

Reference Number


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 . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.


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