The First Murder

Object Details

Title:

The First Murder

Artist/Maker(s):

Weegee (Arthur Fellig) (American, born Austria, 1899 - 1968)

Culture:

American

Place(s):

Brooklyn, New York, United States (Place created)

Date:

negative October 9, 1941; print about 1950

Medium:

Gelatin silver print

Dimensions:

25.7 x 27.9 cm (10 1/8 x 11 in.)

Copyright:

© International Center of Photography

See more

See less

"A woman relative cried...but neighborhood dead-end kids enjoyed the show when a small-time racketeer was shot and killed," wrote Weegee in the caption accompanying this startling photograph in his 1945 publication Naked City. On the facing page Weegee showed the bloody body lying in the street.

Alternately laughing, staring in disbelief, or looking into the camera to grasp their own momentary chance to be recorded, the children who had witnessed this grisly scene form an unsettling amalgam of human emotion and self-absorption. Two women are among the group: one, whom Weegee mentioned above, stands at the center, her face contorted with anguished tears, her personal loss turned into public spectacle.

Exhibitions
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, (Cat.)
Scene of the Crime: Photo by Weegee (September 20, 2005 to January 22, 2006)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), September 20, 2005 to January 22, 2006, (Cat. 8)
Bibliography

Hargraves, Michael. Masterpieces of the J. Paul Getty Museum: Photographs (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1999) p. 115.