Sheldon Museum of Art Main Content

Käsebier, Sunshine

Sunshine in the House (The Clarence White Family in Maine)1913Gelatin silver print, toned with gum bichromate13 1/2 × 10 1/2H-1295.1968University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Anna R. and Frank M. Hall Charitable Trust Gertrude KäsebierAfter raising her three children, Gertrude Käsebier began to study art as a means of achieving personal autonomy. Trained by famed painter Arthur Wesley Dow at Brooklyn’s Pratt Institute, she applied her mentor’s philosophy of flattened, asymmetrical pictorial space to her fine-art photography. While critics emphasized Käsebier’s use of artistry over intellect, Sunshine in the House is a masterpiece of composition and form as well as of aesthetic sensitivity. Despite the group dynamics in play, Jane is the clear focus: light strikes her face and upper body as she shifts her head toward the viewer. This mother’s detachment from her family also introduces a narrative element and psychological depth to the work. American 18521934New York, NYDes Moines, IA