The J. Paul Getty Museum

The Heart of the Storm

Object Details


The Heart of the Storm


Anne W. Brigman (American, 1869 - 1950)




negative 1902; print 1914


Gelatin silver print

Object Number:



24.6 × 19.7 cm (9 11/16 × 7 3/4 in.)


Status undetermined

Credit Line:

Gift of the Michael and Jane Wilson Collection

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Object Description

The guardian angel figure, hand upraised as if in blessing, consoles the cowering woman within a protective stand of California western juniper trees. Their faces obscured, the women portray archetypes rather than individuals. Trees tortured by lightning and twisted by the winds recur in Anne Brigman's work, symbolizing independence and an adaptation to life's adversity.

In order to achieve a sense of atmosphere appropriate to the scene, Brigman altered her negative by hand, drawing and scratching lines onto the negative before printing. She created the halo above the figure's head at left and the sweep of lines meant to appear as a translucent, windblown garment on the figure at the right.

In Focus: The Nude (October 9, 2007 to February 24, 2008)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), October 9, 2007 to February 24, 2008
Pictorialist Photography and Painting (May 22 to September 7, 2014)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), May 22 to September 7, 2014

Pictorialism in California: Photographs, 1900-1940, with essays by Michael G. Wilson and Dennis Reed, exh. cat. (Malibu, Calif.: J. Paul Getty Museum: Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery, 1994), p. 15.

Masterpieces of the J. Paul Getty Museum: Photographs (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1999), p. 69.