To Frank O. Cozzo: Male Nude Figure Study in Profile

To Frank O. Cozzo: Male Nude Figure Study in Profile

The Orientalist-themed influence of Boston photographer Fred Holland Day’s work is evident in this soft-focused, semi-nude figure study of a man taken by his close friend Louis A. Holman in 1924. The photograph is dedicated on the mount by Holman to Frank O. Cozzo-perhaps the subject himself-who wears articles of clothing including a beaded belt and moccasins; a long beaded necklace around his neck and several feathers stuck within the folds of his head-wrap.

Amateur photographer is not one of the descriptors commonly encountered for Boston’s Louis A. Holman. Instead, artist-illustrator, art editor, and famously-print dealer- are better documented. The connection to Day and Holman developed around their mutual interest and collecting activity with English Romantic poet John Keats (1795-1821) :

Day had a long friendship with another well known Keats specialist, Louis Arthur Holman (1866-1939) of Needham, a writer on art and seller of prints at 5a, Park Street, Boston. (1.)

Holman’s interest in photography  through his association with Day and his keen understanding of preserving and promoting photographic history  through his commercial ventures remarkably came together in 1934 when his Boston print shop put together an exhibition and sale of 82 important daguerreotypes making up the Southworth & Hawes studio collection. Considered the first American masters of portrait photography operating their Boston concern from 1843-63, Albert Sands Southworth (1811–1894) and Josiah Johnson Hawes produced some of the finest examples of this early photographic process while documenting a who’s who of important mid 19th Century American subjects from the spheres of politics to arts and letters. Representing the Hawes estate via Josiah Johnson Hawes’s son, Dr. Edward Hawes, Holman promoted the 1934 exhibit through an essay printed in his monthly print shop bulletin Within the Compass of a Print Shop for November. An excerpt:


IT IS unlikely that there is in existence another collection of daguerreotype portraits as fine technically and as important for their subjects as that which will be on exhibition and sale during November, within the compass of our print shop. Many a collector of Americana is familiar with the legend under engraved or lithographed portraits of figures of the middle of the last century which reads “From a daguerreotype by Southworth and Hawes.” Daguerreotypes that have been perfectly preserved are rare, though not valuable, large ones are rare, but “full plate” (6 1/2″ x 8 1/2″) daguerreotypes in good condition, of famous people, are decidedly important items both historically and from the collection point of view. (2.)

Of the subject matter in this photograph, speculation by this website that Frank O. Cozzo may be the model is merely a guess: genealogical records (Family Search online resource) reveal only one likely candidate from Boston: resident Frank Cozzo, born on Nov. 18, 1906, would have been around 18 in 1924 when the photo was taken, and this model appears to be a bit older. A bricklayer like his father John according to the 1930 US Census, Cozzo died in Andover, MA in 1999 but is listed without a middle initial in online records.

The following biographical sketch of Louis A. Holman is courtesy of the Archives of American Art at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.:

Illustrator, art editor, and print dealer in Boston, Mass., Holman (1866-1939) was born on Prince Edward Island, Canada, and began work in the bookselling and publishing business in Canada. He moved to Boston in 1889, where he attended Cowles Art School and studied with the painter Charles Woodbury. Holman traveled extensively and contributed illustrations and articles to various popular magazines and worked as art editor of New England Magazine and the Youth’s Companion. In 1915, he established a print department at Goodspeed’s Book Shop, leaving in 1930 to open his own firm, Holman’s Print Shop, where he was joined by his son, Richard Bourne Holman, who ran the firm after Louis’ death in 1939 until 1977.  Additional details.

print notes recto: titled and signed within the primary mount border in black ink: left: To Frank O. Cozzo    right: Louis A. Holman 1924

print notes verso: on secondary mount in graphite: Holman

Title to work amended and supplied by this archive

1. Hampstead Parish Church (England) online resource accessed April, 2017.
2. from: THE DAGUERREOTYPE: AN ARCHIVE OF SOURCE TEXTS, GRAPHICS, AND EPHEMERA: The research archive of Gary W. Ewer regarding the history of the daguerreotype online resource accessed April, 2017.

Please also see at Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University: Holman, Louis A. (Louis Arthur), 1866-1939. Louis Arthur Holman collection of Keats iconography and related papers, 1752-1963: Guide.

To Frank O. Cozzo: Male Nude Figure Study in Profile

Image Dimensions11.4 x 12.2 cm tipped

Support Dimensions12.7 x 12.9 | 26.8 x 23.3 cm beige and olive art-papers (the latter: faint marginal impression: MONTGOLFIER VIDALON LES ANNONAY) (Canson French paper)