(Center for Photographic Studies, Portfolio 3)
From a portfolio of ten gelatin silver prints from original Meatyard negatives (1959-71),
Printed April 1974
Edition of 130
Credit stamp, verso
7 x 7 inches, image
15 x 12 inches, mount
Contact gallery for price.
“This image probably owes some of its inspiration to the abnormal characters in the stories of Flannery O’Connor’s 1955 collection, A Good Man is Hard to Find. But Meatyard was also looking at Giorgio de Chirico and the European Surrealists and here employs their penchant for the lifeless mannequin figure. A headless dressmaker’s dummy is set up on a chair at a level suggesting a woman’s height. Ritchie stands to ‘her’ left, his stiff pose and artificial limb making him seem her unnatural match. One reading of the fanciful coupling might be the marriage of an injured Civil War veteran and an African-American woman. The marriage theme suggests another, more remote model: that of Jan van Eyck’s fifteenth-century masterpiece, “Giovanni Arnolfini and His Wife” (1434).
—Judith Keller, Ralph Eugene Meatyard (London: Phaidon Press Limited, 2002), pp. 28-9Work by Ralph Eugene Meatyard (1925-1972)