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Tools with Blueprint
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Paul Outerbridge, Jr. © 2008 G. Ray Hawkins Gallery, Beverly Hills, California
Gift of Susan and G. Ray Hawkins

Paul Outerbridge
American, 1939
Three-color carbro print
16 5/16 x 12 3/16 in.
97.XM.57

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Paul Outerbridge actually used a picture of a picture in this composition that includes a house under construction, tools, and a blueprint. Partly framed by two-by-fours, the picture of the home on the left creates the illusion of a window opening onto a pleasant suburban neighborhood. The vertical and horizontal two-by-fours convey a sense of strength, suggesting the solid security of a well built home. He probably made this image as an advertisement for a construction company.

In the 1930s, the most practical way to create quality color photographs like this was by employing the carbro color process. This method is extremely labor intensive, requiring patience and precision. Outerbridge consistently and expertly employed this technique. As a result, the colors in his photographs are as descriptive today as they were sixty years ago.