12 Portraits: Studies of Women at Yale

About the Project

The portraits featured in this exhibit are drawn from a larger series of photographs by Tanya Marcuse (MFA '90). The project was commissioned by the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library in honor of the university-wide 50 Women at Yale 150 celebration, which aims "to showcase the depth of women's contributions to Yale and to the world, to celebrate women at the university, and to inspire thoughtful conversation about the future of women at Yale and in the larger society."

This online exhibit was created to complement the unique installation in the Sterling Library Memorabilia Room. The photographs are presented together with contact sheets and other traces of Marcuse's creative process. Exhibit text and images work together to illuminate Marcuse's process as well as the interpretive nature of the portrait.

A installation shot of the 12 Portraits exhibit of a panoramic view of the wall of wooden glassed in cases showing all twelve of the photographic portraits on display in the space. Below the portraits, an array of small contact sheets are set out on the bottom shelf of the case in a neat row.

Marcuse is a critically acclaimed photographer whose work is held in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the George Eastman Museum, and other collections. An extensive collection of Marcuse’s work and papers resides at the Beinecke Rare Books Library and the Yale University Art Gallery. She’s a recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship, a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, and a MacDowell fellowship. Marcuse’s books include Undergarments and Armor (Nazraeli Press, 2005), Wax Bodies, (Nazraeli Press, 2012) and | Fallen | Woven (Radius Press, 2019). She teaches photography at Bard College.


Curated by: Tanya Marcuse '90 MFA and George Miles, Curator, Western Americana Collection, Beinecke Library