Käsebier, Gertrude, 1852-1934

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American pictorialist photographer Gertrude Käsebier, with the support and admiration of Alfred Stieglitz, became a founding member of the Photo-Secession movement in 1902.

Gertrude Käsebier was born in 1852 in Des Moines, Iowa, daughter of John and Muncy Stanton. The family was of established American lineage: Käsebier's maternal great-grandfather was the brother of Daniel Boone. When she was still very young, Käsebier moved to Colorado where her father eventually became owner of a gold mine in Leadville. The trip across the plains by covered wagon and the frontier life near Indians sparked the imagination and adventuresome personality of Käsebier.

Käsebier returned east to attend the Moravian Seminary for Girls in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. In 1874, she married Edward Käsebier, a successful businessman with traditional values who was a native of Wiesbaden, Germany. Käsebier's first trip to Europe was to meet her husband's relatives in Germany. The Käsebiers lived in Brooklyn and had three children: Frederick W., Gertrude Elizabeth, and Hermine Mathilde.

With the duty of establishing a family behind her, at age 36 Gertrude Käsebier enrolled in the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn to study painting. She wished to continue her study in Paris but her husband was not supportive of this idea. She found an opportunity to go to Paris in 1896, however, by chaperoning a group of art students from Pratt. She took her daughters as well and spent the next two years in France and Germany. During this time, Käsebier began experimenting with her camera and became enthused with the aesthetic treatment of photography.

Back in New York, and still without the encouragement of her husband, Käsebier abandoned painting and opened a photography studio. Early exhibits of her work, at the Pratt Institute in 1897 and at the New York Camera Club in 1899, were well received and Gertrude Käsebier became known for the impressionistic, pictorial style of her photography. Alfred Stieglitz was an admirer of her work, and in 1902 she became a founding member of the Photo-Secession movement. In 1903, the first issue of Camera Work featured Gertrude Käsebier's photography. She was elected the first woman member of London's Linked Ring in 1900; and with Alvin Langdon Coburn and Clarence White, she co-founded Pictorial Photographers of America in 1916. Gertrude Käsebier continued her successful career with portrait work and pictorial assignments for magazines until five years before her death at age 82. She died in 1934 in New York City.

Homer, William Innes. A pictorial heritage: the photographs of Gertrude Käsebier: Delaware Art Museum, March 2 - April 22, 1979 ... Newark: The University; Wilmington: distribution, The Delaware Art Museum, 1979. International Center of Photography. Encyclopedia of photography. New York: Crown Pub., 1984.

From the guide to the Gertrude Käsebier papers, 1897-circa 1940, 1934-circa 1940, (University of Delaware Library - Special Collections)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.). Library. Artists' correspondence, 1894-1949 (bulk 1894-1897). Metropolitan Museum of Art, Thomas J. Watson Library
referencedIn Ferargill Galleries records, circa 1900-1963 Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution
referencedIn F. Holland Day Papers, 1793-2010, (bulk 1883-1933) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
creatorOf Käsebier, Gertrude, 1852-1934. Maurice Brazil Prendergast [graphic]. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
creatorOf Brooklyn Museum. Dept. of Photography. Records, Exhibition negatives: installations. Pictorial Heritage: The Photographs of Gertrude Käsebier. 1979. Brooklyn Museum Libraries & Archives
referencedIn Fogg Art Museum 19th-century history of photography collection, 1844-1900 (inclusive). Harvard University Art Museum
creatorOf Gertrude Käsebier papers, 1894-1934 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
creatorOf Ferargil Galleries. Ferargil Galleries records, 1900-1963. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
referencedIn Arthur Wesley Dow papers, circa 1826-1978 (bulk 1879-1922) Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution
creatorOf Käsebier, Gertrude, 1852-1934. Chester Beach [graphic]. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
creatorOf Beach, Chester, 1881-1956. Chester Beach papers, 1846-1999, bulk circa 1900-1999. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
creatorOf Peter A. Juley & Son. George Benjamin Luks [graphic]. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
referencedIn Museum of Modern Art (New York, N.Y.). Gertrude Kasebier, photographer. 1992 : Archives pamphlet file : miscellaneous uncataloged material. Metropolitan Museum of Art, Thomas J. Watson Library
referencedIn Frances Benjamin Johnston Papers, 1855-1956, (bulk 1890-1945) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
referencedIn Charles Henry Caffin papers, circa 1883-1973, bulk 1883-1918 Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution
referencedIn Fogg Art Museum 20th-century history of photography collection, 1900-1984 (inclusive). Harvard University Art Museum
referencedIn William Mills Ivins papers, 1878-1964 Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution
creatorOf Dow, Arthur W. (Arthur Wesley), 1857-1922. Arthur Wesley Dow papers, circa 1826-1978, bulk 1879-1922. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
creatorOf Caffin, Charles Henry, 1854-1918. Charles Henry Caffin papers, ca. 1883-1973. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
creatorOf Day, F. Holland (Fred Holland), 1864-1933. F. Holland Day papers, 1858-1977. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
referencedIn Brooklyn Museum. Dept. of Prints, Drawings and Photographs. Institutional file, Exhibitions. Pictorial heritage: the photographs of Gertrude Kasebier. Brooklyn Museum Libraries & Archives
referencedIn Kasebier, Gertrude, 1852-1934 : [miscellaneous ephemeral material]. Metropolitan Museum of Art, Thomas J. Watson Library
referencedIn Johnston, Frances Benjamin, 1864-1952. Frances Benjamin Johnston papers, 1855-1956 (bulk 1890-1945). Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
creatorOf Ferargil Galleries. Ferargil Galleries records, circa 1900-1963. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
referencedIn Stout, Frank, 1875-1955. Frank Stout letters to his mother and father, 1894-1895, undated. Metropolitan Museum of Art, Thomas J. Watson Library
creatorOf Käsebier, Gertrude, 1852-1934. Artist file : miscellaneous uncataloged material. Museum of Modern Art (MOMA)
creatorOf Käsebier, Gertrude, 1852-1934. Artist file. Brooklyn Museum Libraries & Archives
creatorOf Caffin, Charles Henry, 1854-1918. Charles Henry Caffin papers, circa 1883-1973, bulk 1883-1918. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
creatorOf Käsebier, Gertrude, 1852-1934. John Henry Twachtman [graphic]. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
creatorOf Herzog, Sarah Ann. A pilot project : forensic analysis of images photographed by Gertrude Kä̈sebier : from the George Eastman House archive collection / Sarah Ann Herzog ; August 23, 2000. George Eastman Museum, Richard and Ronay Menschel Library
creatorOf Gertrude Käsebier papers, 1897-circa 1940, 1934-circa 1940 University of Delaware Library - Special Collections
referencedIn Passafiume, Tania. Käsebier paper sample book / created by Tania Passafiume, Andrew W. Mellon Fellow, Advanced Residency Program in Photograph Conservation [George Eastman House], August 27, 2000. George Eastman Museum, Richard and Ronay Menschel Library
creatorOf Ivins, William Mills, 1881-1961. William Mills Ivins papers, 1878-1964. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
Role Title Holding Repository
Direct Relationships
Relation Name
associatedWith Beach, Chester, 1881-1956. person
associatedWith Brooklyn Museum. Dept. of Photography. corporateBody
associatedWith Brooklyn Museum. Dept. of Prints, Drawings and Photographs. corporateBody
associatedWith Caffin, Charles Henry, 1854-1918. person
associatedWith Davies, Arthur B. (Arthur Bowen), 1862-1928 person
associatedWith Day, F. Holland (Fred Holland), 1864-1933. person
associatedWith Dow, Arthur W. (Arthur Wesley), 1857-1922. person
associatedWith Ferargil Galleries. corporateBody
associatedWith Herzog, Sarah Ann. person
associatedWith Ivins, William Mills, 1881-1961. person
correspondedWith Johnston, Frances Benjamin, 1864-1952. person
correspondedWith Johnston, Francis Benjamin, 1864-1852 person
associatedWith Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.). Library. corporateBody
associatedWith Museum of Modern Art (New York, N.Y.) corporateBody
associatedWith Northcliffe, Alfred Harmsworth, Viscount, 1865-1922 person
associatedWith Passafiume, Tania. person
associatedWith Peter A. Juley & Son. corporateBody
associatedWith Photo-Secession (Association) corporateBody
associatedWith Prendergast, Maurice Brazil, 1858-1924. person
associatedWith Riis, Jacob A. (Jacob August), 1849-1914 person
associatedWith Rodin, Auguste, 1840-1917 person
associatedWith Steichen, Edward, 1879-1973 person
associatedWith Stout, Frank, 1875-1955. person
associatedWith Turner, Mina, 1908- person
associatedWith Twachtman, John Henry, 1853-1902. person
associatedWith White, Lawrence Grant person
associatedWith William Mills Ivins person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Subject
Pictorialism (Photography movement)
Illustrators
Painters
Photographers--Correspondence
Portrait painters
Photographers--United States
Photography, Artistic
Photographers--United States--History
Women photographers--United States--20th century
Photography--United States--History
Portraits
Landscape painters
Sculptors
Graphic designers
Occupation
Photographers
Function

Person

Birth 1852-05-18

Death 1934-10-12

Americans

Information

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