Exhibitions/ Art Object

[Young Man, Standing, beside Empty Chair with Civil War Kepi on Seat, and Worn Boots, in Studio]

C. Burgess (American)
ca. 1865
Albumen silver print from glass negative
Image: 8.6 x 5.4 cm (3 3/8 x 2 1/8 in.) Mount: 10.2 x 6.4 cm (4 x 2 1/2 in.)
Credit Line:
Buck Zaidel Collection
Not on view
The vast majority of Civil War portrait photographs are unidentified. One day, researchers may discover the identity and circumstances of the young man whom a Troy, New York, photographer recorded standing beside a conspicuously empty studio chair. A pair of worn boots and a soldier’s kepi on the seat complete the composition. Is the subject mourning a lost comrade, a brother, his father? Or might he be portraying himself as a civilian contemplating the loss of his former self, a Civil War soldier? For some, the mystery may be more beautiful and pleasing than any future clarification could offer.
Buck Zaidel

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Photography and the American Civil War," April 2, 2013–September 2, 2013.

Gibbes Museum of Art. "Photography and the American Civil War," September 27, 2013–January 5, 2014.

New Orleans Museum of Art. "Photography and the American Civil War," January 31, 2014–May 4, 2014.