boston

F. Holland Day

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

ALFRED STIEGLITZ, EDWARD STEICHEN, AND JULIA MARGARET CAMERON have all had large exhibitions in the last few years. So why not F. Holland Day? F. Holland who?

Fred Holland Day was born in Boston in 1864, the same year as Stieglitz. Like Cameron, Day took intense, dreamy portraits of his friends and their children. Like Stieglitz and Steichen, he became one of the leading pictorialists, or “fuzzy-wuzzies,” as Edward Weston once called them—those turn-of-the-century photographers who tried to emulate painting through their blurry photographs of picturesque tableaux. So how is it that Stieglitz, Steichen, and Cameron are stars, while Day remains obscure?

Stieglitz himself is partly to blame. In 1899, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston promised Day that he could mount a showcase of American photographs (including some of his own) if he secured an established organization to back him. Day

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