Image Copyright Restricted

The Autonomous Spiral #2

Clarence John Laughlin (American, 1905–1985)


Sheet: 33.6 x 26.8 cm (13 1/4 x 10 9/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Photograph, gelatin silver print

Not On View


Americas, Photography



The photograph relates to a corresponding interpretive caption by Laughlin (published in, Davis, Keith. “Clarence John Laughlin: Visionary Photographer.” Kansas City, Missouri: Hallmark Cards, Inc., 1990., pg. 162):

Entering Ellerslie Plantation, our attention is at once captured by the extremely pure form of the magnificent spiral staircase which uncoils upwards. The picture has been made in such a way that, visually, the staircase starts to detach itself from the walls, and to exist as a free, and almost abstract, form in space. Something of the mystery of spiral staircases is expressed here in the way the staircase pulls the eye toward a space nexus.


Ann Czarniecki; 2009, to George Slade, Boston; 2010, year-end gift of Slade to the MFA. (Accession Date: January 26, 2011)

Credit Line

Gift of George Slade in memory of M.J. Czarniecki