Irina Khrabroff by Sipprell

Clara E. Sipprell (1885-1975) :: Irena [Irina] Khrabroff Sewing, 1920. Gelatin silver print. | src Amon Carter Museum of American Art
Clara Sipprell (1885-1975) :: [Irina Khrabroff], ca. 1925 – 1933. Gelatin silver print on tissue. | src Amon Carter Museum of American Art
Clara Sipprell (1885-1975) :: Irena [Irina] Khrabroff in Russian Costume, 1925. Gelatin silver print. | src Amon Carter Museum of American Art
Clara E. Sipprell (1885-1975) :: Irina Khrabroff, ca. 1930s. Gelatin silver print. | src Amon Carter Museum of American Art

Sipprell was born on Halloween, 1885, in Tillsonburg, Ontario, Canada. In 1895 (after her father’s death), she and her mother moved from Canada to Buffalo. In the early 1900s, Buffalo was a center of the pictorialism. Sipprell became one of the foremost practitioners of pictorial photography in the United States. She produced autochromes and platinum, bromoil, gum, and carbon prints; won awards in exhibitions; and had her work published in magazines in the United States and Europe.

As a portrait photographer, Sipprell sought to convey a sense of the whole person and what made each unique. […] In 1915, Sipprell, then thirty, moved to New York City with Jessica E. Beers, with whom she lived until 1923. She opened a photographic studio in Greenwich Village and eventually became a contract photographer for the Ethical Culture School, where Beers was a principal.

A Russian immigrant, Irina Khrabroff, was first her student and later her traveling companion, close friend, and business manager. As a student, Khrabroff spent her winters living with Sipprell and Beers in New York City. In 1923, when Khrabroff married, Beers moved out of the apartment, but Sipprell continued living there with Khrabroff and her husband until 1933.

[…] It is not clear whether or not Sipprell’s relationships were sexual or even romantic, yet their length and stability, and the evidence of the memorial marker, indicate an extraordinary level of commitment. [Quoted from lgbtq encyclopedia: Sipprell, Clara Estelle (1885-1975) by Tee A. Corinne]

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