[Sister Mary Paul Lewis, a Sister of the Order of the Holy Family, New Orleans]

Object Details


[Sister Mary Paul Lewis, a Sister of the Order of the Holy Family, New Orleans]


Doris Ulmann (American, 1882 - 1934)




December 1931


Platinum print


20.5 x 15.6 cm (8 1/16 x 6 1/8 in.)

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The Sisters of the Holy Family were a Catholic, predominantly African American order of nuns located in New Orleans's French Quarter. Sister Mary Paul Lewis, dressed in her habit, stands outdoors against a backdrop of lush foliage. Her crucifix hangs prominently on her chest, and her crossed hands cradle her eyeglasses. Although they are held thus for a practical purpose, her hands also reflect a gesture of offering and humility that would have been fundamental to her religious vows and chosen life of service. Doris Ulmann photographed Sister Mary Paul from below; consequently, she looks down slightly at the viewer, maintaining a serene, patient expression consistent with her divine calling.

After the Manner of Women: Photographs by Käsebier, Cunningham, and Ulmann (September 6 to December 31, 1988)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), September 6 to December 31, 1988
Doris Ulmann: Photography and Folklore (April 9 to July 7, 1996)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), April 9 to July 7, 1996
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