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A cabinet card featuring Oscar Wilde seated on an upholstered chair wearing a velvet jacket and short pants. Wilde holds a book in one hand while the other holds his tilted head. The image was shot by Napoleon Sarony during Wilde’s United States tour in 1882.

Sarony shot and published over 20 photographs of Wilde between 1882 and 1883. Sarony's main subjects were the New York theater scene and its actors. He distributed thousands of these images as cabinet cards, marketing productions and creatives.

This particular card of Wilde was later reproduced by another card company, which led to a copyright lawsuit. Sarony won and the case is still considered a major win for intellectual property rights. It also further established photography as a respected art form.

Metropolitan Museum of Art Object Description


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