[Portrait of a black man wearing a bow tie]

Object Details

Title:

[Portrait of a black man wearing a bow tie]

Artist/Maker(s):

Unknown maker, American

Culture:

American

Date:

about 1856

Medium:

Daguerreotype

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A proud young man sits for his daguerreotype portrait, with his right hand confidently clutching the label of his jacket. He is well dressed for the occasion in a light-colored top hat and bow tie. He gazes intently outward, concentrating on the act of being recorded by the camera, possibly for the first time. He is unidentified, but his dress and bearing, coupled with the early date of the photograph–some seven years before emancipation came for African Americans at the end of the Civil War–suggest that he was a free man of color.

Exhibitions
Hidden Witness: African Americans in Early Photography (February 28 to June 18, 1995)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), February 28 to June 18, 1995