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Menelek

A work made of platinum print.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of platinum print.

Date:

1896/1902

Artist:

F. Holland Day
American, 1864–1933

About this artwork

F. Holland Day played a key role in the international Pictorialist movement that gained strength around 1900. Pictorialists believed that photography could be a vehicle for personal expression. They employed soft focus, borrowed compositions from paintings, and presented their work as fine art—for example, surrounding the image with one or more layers of tinted paper. Day, a flamboyant presence, dressed his frequent model J. Alexandre Skeete in elaborate costumes for a series of photographs evoking imaginary African royalty: the title of this work references the 10th-century BC Ethiopian king Menelek and Ethiopia’s 1896 independence from Italy under Menelek II. This series furthered a long, con-troversial tradition of white artists exoticizing, and also eroticizing, people of color as “other.”


For more on the Alfred Stieglitz collection at the Art Institute, along with in-depth object information, please visit the website: The Alfred Stieglitz Collection.

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Photography and Media

Artist

F. Holland Day

Title

Menelek

Origin

United States

Date

Made 1896–1902

Medium

Platinum print

Inscriptions

Blind stamped recto, lower left: "FHD [?/insignia]"; inscribed verso, on second hinged paper, center, in black pencil: "Property - / AS"

Dimensions

14.7 × 11.5 cm (image/paper); 14.8 × 11.7 cm (first mount); 36.2 × 27.4 cm (second mount)

Credit Line

Alfred Stieglitz Collection

Reference Number

1949.859

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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