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ⓘ Blessed Art Thou (photograph)




Blessed Art Thou (photograph)
                                     

ⓘ Blessed Art Thou (photograph)

Blessed Art Thou is a photograph by Gertrude Kasebier. It was taken probably in 1899. The photograph is an example of the many images Kasabier created of the bond between Mother and Child. The work exemplifies the chiaroscuro and atmospheric quality of light in Kasabiers photographs. Kasabier was so unhappy with her own marriage that she spent many years separated from her husband. Kasabiers objections to the institution of marriage seem inconsistent with the gendered view of woman as caretaker reflected in "Blessed Art Thou".

Kasabier believed that photography was a means for women to achieve financial independence. Among women photographers inspired by her work were Consuelo Kanaga. In 1899 Alfred Stieglitz published five of Kasabiers photographs in Camera Notes and wrote that she was "beyond dispute, the leading artistic portrait photographer of the Day." In 1899 her print of "The Manger", also an image of a Mother and Child sold for $100 - the most ever paid for a photograph at that time. Kasabiers financial need for commercial success to support her family created a rift with Stieglitz. Kasabiers gendered images like "Blessed Art Thou" and "The Manger" seem inconsistent with her personal quest for professional and financial independence.