Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object

[Nurse in Distress]

Artist:
Gordon H. Coster (American, Baltimore, Maryland 1906–1988)
Date:
ca. 1935
Medium:
Gelatin silver print
Dimensions:
27.9 x 35.6 cm (11 x 14 in.)
Classification:
Photographs
Credit Line:
Gift of Keith de Lellis, 2012
Accession Number:
2012.308.3
Rights and Reproduction:
© Estate of Gordon Coster
Not on view
Neither a film still from an Alfred Hitchcock movie nor a pastiche of such things by Cindy Sherman, this photograph was made, the artist later recalled, as part of an advertising project for Kotex. Mortally frightened by something “off screen,” this nurse—shown close up and dramatically lit—surely would have grabbed the attention of anyone flipping the pages of a 1930s magazine. Whether or not it was ever used in an advertisement is unknown, but in an age now accustomed to staged photography and sensitized to the stereotypical roles in which women have so often been cast, Coster’s photograph is compelling for reasons he could not have predicted.
Inscription: Photographer's stamp in black ink on print, verso C: "PHOTOGRAPHY // GORDON COSTER"
Gordon Coster; Pete Coster; [Keith de Lellis Gallery, New York]

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