Woman With Claws

Object Details

Title:

Woman With Claws

Artist/Maker(s):

Paul Outerbridge (American, 1896 - 1958)

Culture:

American

Place(s):

New York, New York, United States (Place created)

Date:

1937

Medium:

Carbro print

Dimensions:

39.7 x 24.8 cm (15 5/8 x 9 3/4 in.)

Copyright:

Paul Outerbridge, Jr. © 2008 G. Ray Hawkins Gallery, Beverly Hills, California

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Despite my considerable experience in the field of photography, I was for a long time unsure whether I would ever succeed in producing a good carbro print. Many of these pictures were produced with considerable technical difficulties unknown to today's users of more recent and much simpler color materials. Each shot cost $150, and many hours of work were necessary to produce it. Three different shots with varying exposures had to be made with three different color filters. After this, three separate color images each one thousandth of an inch thick had to be transferred onto paper one by one and precisely superimposed one on top of the other.
–Paul Outerbridge

Paul Outerbridge described the practical and technical concerns with making this image, but what of the aesthetic impulse? The photograph has been cropped from the full negative, which included the model's face and slightly more of both arms, to this disturbing image of a woman piercing her own breast and abdomen with the sharp tips of meat packer's gloves. Although Outerbridge described the arduous carbro process, this photograph contains very subdued color. The realistic representation of flesh tone, however, and the lack of pubic hair–it was airbrushed out–make the nude subject even more shocking.

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.)
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, (Cat.)
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, (Cat.)
Paul Outerbridge: Command Performance (March 31 to August 9, 2009)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), March 31 to August 9, 2009, (Cat.)