Based in the Boston area, F. Holland Day (1864–1933) was a central figure in artistic circles on both sides of the Atlantic. Publisher of Oscar Wilde and Stephen Crane, mentor to a young Kahlil Gibran, adviser and friend to photographers Alvin Langdon Coburn and Edward Steichen, Day lived a life devoted to art and beauty. At the turn of the twentieth century, his reputation rivaled that of Alfred Stieglitz. A pioneer in the field of pictorial photography, Day was also an influential book publisher in the Arts and Crafts tradition. He cofounded the publishing company of Copeland and Day, which issued more than a hundred titles between 1893 and 1899. In addition, he embraced a unique sense of social responsibility and a commitment to historic preservation. Colorful and sometimes eccentric, Day was best known for his stunningly original, brilliantly executed, and sometimes controversial photographic images of blacks, children, and allegorical subjects. His determination to promote photography as a fine art led him to create photographic representations of the crucifixion of Christ, studies for which he was his own model. Although he continued to mentor young artists until his death, ill health caused Day to spend the last fourteen years of his life inside his home in Norwood, Massachusetts. By the time he died in 1933, he was virtually unknown, but in recent years there has been a resurgence of interest in his art. Responding to this renewed interest, Patricia Fanning has written an impressive biography—one that draws on previously unavailable archival material and is attuned to the historical and cultural contexts in which Day lived and worked. The book is illustrated with more than a hundred photographs, including 32 duotone illustrations of the artist's work.
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