Portrait of a Man Reading a Newspaper

Object Details

Title:

Portrait of a Man Reading a Newspaper

Artist/Maker(s):

John Plumbe, Jr. (American, born United Kingdom, 1809 - 1857)

Culture:

American

Date:

about 1842

Medium:

Daguerreotype

Dimensions:

8.9 x 7 cm (3 1/2 x 2 3/4 in.)

See more

See less

The well-dressed man in cravat and top hat appears to be reading the Philadelphia Ledger newspaper that he holds in his hands, but his fixed gaze falls somewhere above the paper, at a point outside of the frame. A sliver of windowsill visible at the left indicates that the source of light was a window, which admitted sunlight to illuminate the scene and cast a harsh light against the side of the man's stern face. Scholars have suggested that the sitter is a publisher and that therefore this is a kind of occupational portrait, but no pictorial evidence within the frame positively links him to a particular occupation.

Exhibitions
On the Art of Fixing a Shadow: 150 Years of Photography (May 7, 1989 to February 25, 1990)
  • National Gallery of Art (Washington, D.C.), May 7 to July 30, 1989
  • The Art Institute of Chicago, September 9 to November 26, 1989
  • Los Angeles County Museum of Art, (Los Angeles), December 29, 1989 to February 25, 1990
Arrows of Time: Photographs from the J. Paul Getty Museum (January 24 to April 2, 1995)
  • Armand Hammer Museum of Art and Cultural Center at UCLA, (Los Angeles), January 24 to April 2, 1995
The Art of the Daguerreotype (April 14 to July 12, 1998)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), April 14 to July 12, 1998
In Focus: Making a Scene (June 30 to October 18, 2009)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), June 30 to October 18, 2009
Bibliography