Eleanor, Chicago

Harry Callahan (American, 1912–1999)


Image: 11.6 x 8.3 cm (4 9/16 x 3 1/4 in.); Sheet: 20.3 x 12.2 cm (8 x 4 13/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Photograph, gelatin silver print

Not On View


Americas, Photography



[arms frame face]

In 1946, Harry Callahan was hired to teach at Chicago’s Institute of Design (the so-called New Bauhaus) by László Moholy-Nagy, who was then the school’s director. Self-taught as a photographer, Callahan found the camera the ideal tool for artistic experimentation and regularly used it to record aspects of his private life. His wife Eleanor was his favorite subject for more than fifteen years. He sometimes photographed her from a great distance and other times at extremely close range, as in this starkly unsentimental study in white. Eleanor’s arms raised above her head hide her dark hair and form a pale frame around her face, giving her a slightly startled and strangely androgynous appearance.


Inscribed, in pencil, lower right: Harry Callahan


The artist and Aaron Siskind; Barbara and Eugene Polk, Arizona; by whom given to the MFA December 19, 2003

Credit Line

Gift of Barbara and Gene Polk


© The Estate of Harry Callahan, courtesy Pace/MacGill Gallery, NY