Nudes by Karl Struss, 1917

Karl Fischer Struss :: Nude Walking Like an Egyptian, 1917. | src Cleveland Museum of Art
Karl Fischer Struss :: Nude Walking Like an Egyptian, 1917. Gelatin silver print. | src Cleveland Museum of Art

Inscriptions: Written in pencil on mount: “45” Stamped in black ink on verso: “From the Estate / of Karl Struss” “KS” (embellished ink stamp) Stamped in black ink on verso: “Original Photography by Karl Struss / FROM “THE FEMALE FIGURE”/First series 19 Plate No. 45 / Published & Copyrighted by F. Kotausek / New York City 1945 (written in black marker)” Written in pencil on verso of mount: “# 45”

Karl Fischer Struss :: Nude Walking Like an Egyptian, 1917. | src Cleveland Museum of Art
Karl Fischer Struss :: Nude Walking Like an Egyptian, 1917. Gelatin silver print. | src Cleveland Museum of Art

Ancient Egyptians depicted the human figure following conventions that, to contemporary eyes, appear to view the same body from different perspectives. This and other Egyptian styles and motifs inspired artists, architects, designers, and even dancers in the 19th and early 20th century, as evidenced in Struss’s photograph. This figural study belongs to The Female Figure, a portfolio of nude studies that Struss published for artists to use. He employed three painters to consult on the poses, which were executed by models and dancers. [quoted from Cleveland Museum of Art]

Karl F. Struss (1886-1981) :: Nude Kicking, 1917. Gelatin silver print. | src Cleveland Museum of Art

Karl F. Struss American, 1886-1981. Born and raised in New York City. Karl Fischer Struss was an important early pictorialist and a cofounder of the Pictorial Photographers of America. He was also a member of the Photo-Secession, publishing his works in Camera Work (April 1912), and a photographer for publications such as Vogue, Vanity Fair, and Harper’s Bazaar. A student of Clarence H. White, Struss was influenced by both White and Alvin Langdon Coburn. He developed his own style, however, an elegant synthesis of random qualities with formal composition. Struss experimented with various technical processes. He developed multiple platinum printing to enhance the depth of shadows and in 1909 designed the Struss Pictorial lens, which entered commercial production in 1915. Shortly after the First World War, Struss moved to Hollywood, where he became a successful cinematographer. He worked first for Cecil B. De Mille and later freelanced for both independent and major studios until his retirement in 1970. Among his film credits are Ben Hur (1926), Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1932), and the Chaplin classics The Great Dictator (1940) and Limelight (1952). In 1928 Struss received an Academy Award for his work on De Mille’s film Sunrise. T.W.F. [quoted from Cleveland Museum of Art]

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