The Fan

The Fan

Holmes Irving Mettee was a well-known Baltimore commercial photographer from at least the mid 1920’s to the early 1940’s. He became a member of the Pictorial Photographers of America as early as 1920, with his work reproduced in several early volumes of the group’s annual Pictorial Photography in America. This photograph, “The Fan” was awarded second prize in the Pictorial Photographers of America International Salon at the Art Center in New York in May, 1923.

Chronology: Holmes Irving Mettee

1885: born May 5 in Maryland

1917: earns 12th place in the 1917 Kodak Advertising Contest. Mettee lists home address as 2229 Mondawmin Ave., in Baltimore, MD.

1918: Mettee states occupation as car and truck salesman for the International Motor Co. in Baltimore on WWI draft registration card.

1919: photograph: “The Slacker” exhibited at Second International Salon at Los Angeles & reproduced in Feb., 1919 issue of Photo-Era.

1922: awarded third place in the Pictorial Photography, portrait and figure studies class at the California State Fair. Address listed is 202 Md. Trust Building in Baltimore.

1923: photograph “The Fan” reproduced as halftone in the July, 1923 issue of Shadowland – Expressing the Arts, a folio sized art journal The photograph was exhibited in the Camera Contest at the International Salon in May, 1923 by the Pictorial Photographers of America held at the Art Center in New York City.

1925: Mettee produces pictorialist, industrial studies: “In 1925, a Baltimore photographer, Holmes Mettee, made soft-focus otherworldly landscapes out of a bustling industrial site.”  ( 1.)

1942: on WWII draft registration card, Mettee’s home address listed as 104 W. University Parkway, Baltimore, MD with his business address, The Holmes I. Mettee Studio located at 701 N. Eutaw Street in Baltimore.

1947: Newspaper article described Mette as an “nationally known photographic illustrator”  (2.)

Dies Sept. 6, 1947

print details, recto: signed in graphite at lower left corner of print: Holmes I. Mettee

support details, verso: signed in graphite in the artist’s hand: “The Fan” By Holmes I. Mettee.


print provenance: Charles Hellmuth


1. press release: Keith De Lellis Gallery: New York; with Mettee’s work included in group show: “Iron and Steel: Vintage Industrial Photography“: Feb. – April, 2004
2. Cumberland (Md.) Evening Times Newspaper Archive: May 9, 1947 p. 9

The Fan

Image Dimensions23.7 x 18.7 cm tipped on top margin

Support DimensionsDetail: 34.8 x 27.0 cm cream-colored laid paper with tissue guard