Eugene R. Hutchinson Self-Portrait

Eugene R. Hutchinson Self-Portrait

Shown is a rare early self-portrait of the important commercial photographer Eugene R. Hutchinson. (1880-1957) The artist would appear to be about 25 years of age when it was taken around 1905, the year some of his earliest known work of home portraiture was published in the photographic journal The Photo Beacon. At the time, he was still based in Danville, Ill, the town where he grew up. (1.)

This signed double-mounted platinum print hung as recently as September, 2016 in the Danville, Ill home of the Allen family, when it was sold as part of their estate. Later in 2017, this archive acquired the portrait. Details of the exact relationship between Eugene Hutchinson and the Allen family remain unknown, but it is presumed he was an early childhood friend of one of the home’s original owners: Judge Lawrence Thompson Allen. (1882-1950)  (2.)

Two years Judge Allens senior and a fellow Danville resident, Eugene Hutchinson would go on to open a Chicago studio by about 1910 and another later in New York City, where his clientele at both studios would include socialites and those prominent in the arts.

A short biography of Hutchinson’s early life was originally written by and is courtesy of William H. Wilken, a present-day Hutchinson family member. Wilken describes Eugene Raymond Hutchinson as:

A Floridian, born in Tampa in April 1880, Eugene Hutchinson’s family failed at orange planting and moved to Rockville, Indiana in 1884. The death of his father in 1888 and the remarriage of his mother prompted the removal of the family to Danville, Illinois, where he grew up and learned the art of photography. He apprenticed as a teenager with a Broadway society gallery, perhaps Joseph Hall, although later in life he claimed to have trained in the N.Y. studio of English born portraitist W.E. Histed.

Print notes, recto: signed in graphite on primary mount by the artist below image: Eugene R. Hutchinson; EH (combined) cipher in lower left corner of image. Condition: slight crease to mid-section of image; slight foxing to secondary Kozo or Gampi mount. Ornamental gilded wood frame is later, ca. 1920-40; glass removed for presentation on this website.

1. Eugene Hutchinson was involved in photography as early as 1903, where he is listed as living in Millersburg, Ohio as an active member of the Photographers Association of America (E.R. Hutchinson) as published in this organization’s 1903 Association Review annual yearbook.

2. Born in Hoopeston , Ill, early biographies state Judge Allen had attended or graduated from the now defunct Greer College there before attending the University of Chicago in 1902 where he studied literature. He would eventually matriculate at the University of Illinois at Urbana, graduating with a law degree in 1905. Elected a Vermilion County, Ill court judge in 1909, he would eventually rise to become the assistant US District Attorney for the Eastern District of Illinois when appointed in 1922.

Eugene R. Hutchinson Self-Portrait

Image Dimensions17.8 x 9.8 | 21.0 x 13.7 cm platinum, toned

Support Dimensions23.3 x 14.6 | 27.5 x 17.6 | 35.5 x 26.8 cm (cream-colored paper; white Kozo or Gampi hand-made Japanese paper; brown art-paper)