Alice Boughton – Pioneer Photographer

Day 45 of Colourisation Project – June 21

Challenge: to publish daily a colourised photo that has some significance around the day of publication.

71 years ago on this day in 1943, American photographer Alice Boughton passed away. Boughton was an early 20th-century photographer known not only for her photographs of many literary and theatrical celebrities but also her allegorical photos of female nudes and young children.

Alice Boughton

Photographer – Imogen Cunningham taken at Summerville, Cape Cod Summer, 1915 – Coloured by Loredana Crupi

She was a Fellow of Alfred Stieglitz’s Photo-Secession, a circle of highly creative and influential photographers who sought to promote photography as a fine art.

Alice Boughton was born in 1866 in Brooklyn, New York, USA and studied art and photography at the Pratt School of Art and Design, where she met fellow student, Gertrude Käsebier, who went on to become highly regarded in her field. She was particularly noted for her promotion of photography as a career for women.

In 1890, Boughton opened her own portrait studio on East 23rd Street in New York, and this was to be her place of work for the next forty years.  Around 1901, Boughton studied art in Rome and photography in Paris, where she also worked as an assistant to Käsebier’s in her summer studio.

Boughton developed her own particular style of portraits mainly of young women and children. Alfred Stieglitz admired her work and in 1902 included two of her works in the inaugural exhibition at his Little Galleries of the Photo-Secession. Her work appeared in Steiglitz’s Camera Work publication. Her tableaux vivant scenes were featured regularly in Good Housekeeping and American Magazine. Her star was rising during this period with  her photographs included in major exhibitions around the world, including shows in London, Paris, Vienna, The Hague and New York.

Boughton came to be considered one of the most distinguished portrait photographers of New York. Her portrait of W.B. Yeats can be seen in an earlier post that I did to mark the poet’s birthday. Other famous sitters include the author Robert Louis Stevenson, the Playwright Eugene O’Neill, and the brothers, William James, psychologist and philosopher and Henry James also a writer.

From 1920 till 1932, Boughton lived with artist and art teacher, Ida Haskell. Haskell was  a teacher at Pratt while Käsebier and Boughton studied there. In 1931, Boughton closed her studio discarding thousands of prints and moved permanently into the home she shared with Haskell in Brookhaven, Long Island. Haskell died the following year.

Her works can be viewed in many notable museums including the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the British National Portrait Gallery, the U.S. National Portrait Gallery and the George Eastman House.

Boughton died of pneumonia on 21 June 1943 at the age of 77.

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1 Response to Alice Boughton – Pioneer Photographer

  1. Pingback: Alfred Stieglitz – The Father of Modern Photography | Random Phoughts

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