Civil War Collage

A work made of photocollage (albumen prints).
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of photocollage (albumen prints).

Date:

c. 1860/70

Artist:

Maker unknown

About this artwork

Around the time of the Civil War, cartes de visite—small, inexpensive studio portraits—became extremely popular among middle-class Americans. Cartes were traded, kept in albums, and occasionally cut and pasted to form personalized collages. This is an unusual example of a portrait collage in that it implies a family tree, with layers of photographs clustered at the bottom and hierarchical rows at the top. It is possible that the composition focuses on a Union soldier, his commanding officers, and his family. If so, the work represents a transition from textual record keeping, such as lists of births and deaths, to a new visual narrative of family history, whether kept in an album or framed on the wall.

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Photography

Artist

Unknown

Title

Civil War Collage

Date

1855–1875

Medium

Photocollage (albumen prints)

Dimensions

33.4 × 30.7 cm (image/ paper)

Credit Line

Ernest N. Kahn Photography Fund

Reference Number

2010.318

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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