Portrait of Orval Hixon with Arched Niche

Portrait of Orval Hixon with Arched Niche
Collection Number: 
Current Location: 
Storage Room 303
Lower Level/Vault
Object Description
Artist Dates: 
Artist Nationality: 
Object Type: 
A sepia toned photograph of Orval Hixon.
 - Glass
10 1/4 inches
1 inch
13 3/4 inches

Orval Hixon was a Kansas City photographer whose artistic abilities out rivaled those of his contemporaries. Hixon was a master of his craft, summoning all his skill set to produce works capturing his subjects in profound poses. Hixon from an early onset pursued an interest in the arts. After learning he was color blind as a child, Orval followed a path into photography with his first camera purchased in 1898. Hixon discovered a love of photography, in 1905 he paid a local photographer five dollars to work as an assistant for one month. On the advice of a professor, Hixon moved to Kansas City and enrolled in the Kansas City Art Institute. This was the beginning of Hixon’s photographic career. As a portrait photographer, it was Hixon’s responsibility to develop his subjects’ public images and give them a product they could share with theater producers, newspapers, or friends. Hixon also had an image to maintain, and portraits of him reveal his desire to be seen as a sophisticated, fashionable man of his time as well as a great artist. Most portraits of Hixon were taken while he was working at Studebaker Studio in Kansas City prior to opening his own studio. Hixon was a resident in Kansas City, Missouri from 1903 through 1930, before moving to Lawrence, Kansas. This print captures Hixon at a distinguished age. Hixon is seated in this portrait with a reflective posture. His gaze appears considering and serious. He grasps a rectangular shaped object to his chest, while resting his head in his left hand. The background for this portrait appears to be a terra cotta wall with an arched niche over Hixon's head. Hixon is attired in a dark suit, which combined with his countenance and pose, creates a somber atmosphere.

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