Mathew B. Brady (American, born Ireland, 1823?–1896 New York)
Salted paper print from glass negative
Mount: 11 3/16 in. × 9 1/8 in. (28.4 × 23.2 cm)
Image: 9 15/16 × 7 9/16 in. (25.3 × 19.2 cm)
Gilman Collection, Purchase, Harriette and Noel Levine Gift, 2005
Not on view
The identity of this soberly dressed man is unknown, but Brady's careful artistry suggests a man of intellect and faith. In the darkly lit space of the studio it is the young man's visage--and by extension, his mind--that is the focus of the picture, not stylish clothing or studio decor. Apart from a simple but tastefully elegant chair and two vertical lines vaguely suggesting some spare architectural element, the space he occupies is immaterial. This salted paper print was meticulously retouched with india ink to sharpen and darken the shadows around the buttons and lapels of the coat, the tie, and the details of the chair back. Like those of Commodore Perry and Senator and Mrs. Lane (nos. 122 and 125), this portrait came from the collection of Frederick Hill Meserve (1865- 1962). Though a businessman by profession, Meserve's greatest energy for more than sixty years was devoted to the collection, preservation, and study of Civil War photographs. He had a particular passion for Mathew Brady's work, amassing a vast quantity of prints and more than 15,000 glass negatives made by the Brady studio.
Inscription: Inscribed in pencil, verso TC: "Think is // Edwin P. Whipple // author Boston // drama etc."
Frederick Hill Meserve Collection; [Paul Katz, North Bennington, Vermont]; Gilman Paper Company, New York, February 17, 1983
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Waking Dream: Photography's First Century, Selections from the Gilman Paper Company Collection," May 25, 1993–July 4, 1993.
Edinburgh International Festival, Edinburgh, Scotland. "The Waking Dream: Photography's First Century, Selections from the Gilman Paper Company Collection," August 7, 1993–October 2, 1993.
National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. "The Waking Dream: Photography's First Century, Selections from the Gilman Paper Company Collection," June 19, 1994–September 11, 1994.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Old Faces and Places: American Photographs, 1845-1870," February 3, 2004–April 25, 2004.
Apraxine, Pierre. Photographs from the Collection of the Gilman Paper Company. Reeds Springs, Mo.: White Oak Press, 1985. pl. 87.
Hambourg, Maria Morris, Pierre Apraxine, Malcolm Daniel, Virginia Heckert, and Jeff L. Rosenheim. The Waking Dream: Photography's First Century, Selections from the Gilman Paper Company Collection. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1993. no. 94.