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100 Highlights
of the MFAH
Take a tour through some of the most significant objects in the MFAH collections. On these pages, you can browse 100 highlights from collections throughout the institution. Then visit the Museum in person to discover your own favorites.
© G. Ray Hawkins Gallery, Beverly Hills, CA
American, 1896 - 1958
Advertisement for the George P. Ide Company
Platinum print

4 3/4 x 3 5/8 inches

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Gift of Target Stores

Arts of North America

As one of the most important fashion and advertising photographers of the 1920s and 1930s, Paul Outerbridge often reduced objects to their essential forms. The resulting images are refined, abstract compositions akin to early Modernist experiments. Of the numerous influential ad photographs taken by Outerbridge, Advertisement for George P. Ide Company remains his most famous.
With his fierce attention to tone, lighting, and composition, Outerbridge managed to elevate this advertisement for Ide shirt collars from a simple sales solicitation to a stylized still life. The crisp contrast of the curved form of the collar against the checkered tile presents the product with an elegance that speaks to both high fashion and art. The MFAH owns the only known 8" x 10" version of this image printed in gelatin silver, as well as this 4" x 5" version printed in platinum, as typically preferred by the artist.

After studying at the Clarence H. White School of Photography in New York, Outerbridge began to publish his photographs in Vanity Fair and Harper's Bazaar magazines and to work in advertising. In the 1930s, Outerbridge become a pioneer of color photography using the carbro-color process, challenging the then-prevalent view that color photography was a purely commercial medium. 

To view specific works by Outerbridge in the collection, contact the museum's Works on Paper Study Center for an appointment.