Weegee (American, born Ukraine (Austria), Złoczów (Zolochiv) 1899–1968 New York)
Gelatin silver print
Image: 33.6 x 26.4 cm (13 1/4 x 10 3/8 in.)
Anonymous Gift, 2005
Not on view
The subject of this photograph, a sixteen-year-old boy, confessed to tying up and strangling four-year-old William Drach in the Bronx on October 29, 1944, allegedly mimicking what he had seen in a movie. Here, Weegee adapts the traditional tropes of portraiture, in which the sitter’s hands and facial features are of the utmost importance, to present a caged criminal still armed with his weapons. Exploiting the cramped quarters of the police van, Weegee frames the boy’s placid face within the crisscross of the chain-linked fence. The boy’s hands—the presumed tools of his crime—are eerily dismembered from his body.
Inscription: Artist's name stamp in ink on print, verso BRC: "[inside circle] CREDIT PHOTO BY // WEEGEE // THE FAMOUS"; inscribed in unknown hands in pencil on print, verso TLC, TRC: "52-", "500".
[...]; Private collector, New York
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Crime Stories: Photography and Foul Play," March 7, 2016–July 31, 2016.
Original caption in Naked City: "Sixteen-year-old boy...who strangled a four-year-old child to death." Miles Barth uses the following title in Weegee's World: "Frank Pape, Arrested for Homicide," November 10, 1944.