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.
Currently Off View
- Civil War Collage
- Photocollage (albumen prints)
- 33.4 × 30.7 cm (image/ paper)
- Ernest N. Kahn Photography Fund