The J. Paul Getty Museum


Object Details




Paul Strand (American, 1890 - 1976)






Silver platinum print

Object Number:



25.7 × 28.7 cm (10 1/8 × 11 5/16 in.)


© 1981 Aperture Foundation Inc., Paul Strand Archive

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Object Description

I was in Connecticut, and the simplest of subject matter, or maybe object matter would be a better term in this case--such as kitchen bowls, cups, plates, pieces of fruit, a table, a chair, the railing of the porch, the shadows of the railing of the porch--things as simple as that were my material for making experiments to find out what an abstract photograph might be, and to understand what an abstract painting really was.

Thus Paul Strand recalled in 1971 the approach he took to create abstract images more than fifty years earlier. This still life configuration of dishes and fruit becomes a formal composition of arcs and curves. The objects transcend their everyday function to become lines and shapes defined by the dramatic lighting.

Persistent Themes: Notable Photography Acquisitions, 1985-1990 (June 5 to September 2, 1990)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), June 5 to September 2, 1990
Photographers of Genius (March 16 to July 25, 2004)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), March 16 to July 25, 2004
Three Roads Taken: The Photographs of Paul Strand (May 10, 2005 to June 10, 2006)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), May 10 to September 4, 2005
  • Musée d'Art Américain (Giverny), April 1 to June 10, 2006
In Focus: Tasteful Pictures (April 6 to August 22, 2010)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), April 6 to August 22, 2010
Shared Intelligence: American Painting and the Photograph (February 4, 2011 to January 8, 2012)
  • Columbus Museum of Art (Columbus), February 4 to April 24, 2011
  • The Georgia O'Keeffe Museum (Santa Fe), May 20 to September 11, 2011
Education Resources
Education Resources

Education Resource




Why Photographs Are Made

In this lesson students learn about and discuss why photographs are made.

Visual Arts; English–Language Arts; ESL (English as a Second Language)

Adult Learners

Single Class Lesson