Gift of Wallace and Wilhelmina Holladay
Vintage silver print
4 x 2 1/2 in.
Janet Flanner called Djuna Barnes (1892-1982) "the most significant woman writer in Paris in the 1920s." Barnes had had no formal training as a reporter when she began writing sensational articles in which she put her own limits to the test. One of them was entitled How it feels to be forced fed, and in preparation for another article, Barnes shared a cage with a gorilla.
Barnes went to Paris in 1921 to be at the heart of Modernism. Her 1936 masterpiece The Nightwood is considered by many as one of the best examples of avant-garde modernist writing. A disjointed narrative written in a stylized prose, The Nightwood was inspired by Barnes's tumultuous relationship with artist Thelma Wood (1901-1970).
Barnes met Berenice Abbott around 1918 while living in a communal apartment in New York. This portrait was reportedly taken in Man Ray's studio in Paris. By back-lighting her subject, Abbott aimed to enhance Barnes's profile.
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