The Dancer

The Dancer

Writing about photographic highlights at The Sixth American Photographic Salon, author George W. Stevens comments on Charles Yarnall Abbott’s (1870-1938) photograph The Dancer in the popular photographic journal Photo Era:

“The Dancer” by C. Yarnall Abbott, would make Sargent’s portrait of Carnegie look like a clothing-store dummy, and yet some painters look down upon the productions of the camera, or blindly do not look at all. While Abbott has used his medium perfectly, this composition does not depend upon a medium for its excellence. The arrangement is masterful, quite the perfection of mastery. It hardly matters whether we look upon the dancer as a dancer at all — merely as an arrangement of spaces it is beautiful. The little white spot under the hand, or the glint of a bangle, is, in itself, like Katishaw’s elbow, worth going many miles to see. The Japanese have given us something like it, but nothing more pleasing. Whistler, I know, would have paused before it appreciatively.”  (1.)

Abbott, of Philadelphia, exhibited work in the Philadelphia Photographic Salons of 1899, 1900 and 1901. Alfred Stieglitz additionally reproduced 3 of his photographs in his journal Camera Work.  Later, photography by Abbott was overtaken by a consuming interest in painting, his moniker dropping the C in front of his name:

“Yarnall Abbott was a member of the Philadelphia Sketch Club as well as the Rockport Art Alliance, the North Shore Art Alliance and the Philadelphia Art Alliance. He studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. The husband of Eleanore (a well-known illustrator in her own right), Abbott is best known for genre paintings of landscapes, marines, harbors, boats, coasts and nudes.”  (2.)

1. George W. Stevens: The Sixth American Photographic Salon: in: Photo-Era, The American Journal of Photography: Vol. XXIV, January, 1910: p. 6

2.  Abbott biography: 2004: online auction listing: Fairfield, ME: James D. Julia Auctioneer

Original copy for this entry posted to Facebook on August  17, 2011:

A 1910 reviewer commented that Philadelphia photographer Charles Yarnall Abbott’s photograph titled “The Dancer” made painter John Singer Sargent’s portrait of Andrew Carnegie resemble a clothing-store dummy in comparison. “It hardly matters whether we look upon the dancer as a dancer at all — merely as an arrangement of spaces it is beautiful.”

The Dancer

Image Dimensions20.9 x 10.9 cm : Art folio #3, plate #1: The Photographic Society of Philadelphia

Support Dimensions35.1 x 26.1 cm : cream laid paper