1901 | Campbell Art Studio, Fifth Avenue NYC

It was during 1901 that a photographer and art manager of the Campbell Art Studio on Fifth Avenue, New York City took a series of photographs of a stunning artist’s model. The result of this eponymous collection is arguably his best-known portrait work.

  • He was American pictorialist photographer Rudolf Eickemeyer Jr. (August 7, 1862 – April 25, 1932) and one of the first Americans to be admitted to the Linked Ring (a British photographic society created to propose and defend that photography was just as much an art as it was a science).

During his career, Eickemeyer’s photographs won dozens of medals at exhibitions including 11 medals at the Yonkers Photo Club’s Lantern Slide Exhibition in October 1890, and over the subsequent decade, he collected over a hundred medals at exhibitions and salons around the world; and he was awarded the gold medal for photography at the St. Louis World’s Fair (1904). (Eickemeyer’s best-known photographs are now part of the collections of the Smithsonian Institution).

  • She was Evelyn Nesbit (December 25, 1884 or 1885 – January 17, 1967) one of the most in-demand artists’ models in New York who was frequently featured in photographs in mass circulation newspapers and magazine advertisements from Vanity Fair to Harper’s Bazaar; and appeared on souvenir items such as beer trays, tobacco cards, pocket mirrors, postcards becoming a celebrity in her own right.

Nesbit lead a colourful life. Her post-modelling career included a stint as a chorus girl through to actress, dancer and singer. Nesbit attracted attention from a variety of wealthy men including multi-millionaire Harry Kendall Thaw who after a year of marriage, killed wealthy architect Stanford White, an admirer of hers. White was shot dead at the rooftop theatre of Madison Square Garden in June, 1906. The Press referred to Thaw’s resulting trial as the ‘Trial of the Century‘ – the first time this was ever coined.

I’m sure we have had many a ‘Trial of the Century‘ since then.

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