Blessed Art Thou Among Women

Gertrude Käsebier

Des Moines, Iowa, USA, 1852 - New York, USA, 1934
  • Series: 
    Camera Work No. 1, January 1903
  • Date: 
    1899 / Printed circa 1903
  • Technique: 
    Photogravure on Japanese paper
  • Dimensions: 
    Image: 23,7 x 14,1 cm / Support: 30 x 21,5 cm
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Gertrude Käsebier was a photographer working in a Pictorialist style influenced by her earlier training as a painter. She was familiar with Friedrich Fröbel’s pedagogical theories investigating the importance of the mother’s role in child development, and dedicated a significant number of photographs to the subject of motherhood. In Blessed Art Thou Among Women, the biblical-sounding title (from the Hail Mary prayer) accompanies two characters positioned in an archetypal image of motherhood. As was often the case in Pictorialist photography, the models were people known to the photographer; in this case the wife and daughter of photographer and painter Francis Watts Lee.
Her goal “to bring out in each photograph the essential personality” of the subject made Käsebier one of the most respected portrait photographers of her time. Alfred Stieglitz acknowledged this recognition by including some of her photographs in his magazine Camera Notes, and in a number of editions of Camera Work. Käsebier was an active defender of women’s place in professional photography, and was a member of major photography groups such as the Linked Ring in Britain and Photo-Secession in the USA.

Concha Calvo Salanova