William Eggleston

Greenwood, Mississippi
c. 1971, printed 1980

Not on view

c. 1971, printed 1980


Dye transfer print

Sheet: 15 7/8 × 19 15/16in. (40.3 × 50.6 cm) Image: 11 5/8 × 17 15/16in. (29.5 × 45.6 cm)

Accession number


Credit line
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; gift of Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz

Rights and reproductions
© Eggleston Artistic Trust, courtesy Cheim & Read, NYC


William Eggleston’s “democratic” way of looking refers to how he trained his lens on banal subjects, such as the red ceiling in the room of a friend’s guest house. Employing primarily the dye transfer process, a technique of printing photographs that yields pure, intense color, Eggleston recorded the Mississippi Delta in raw, sometimes garish hues. While the light bulb is dimmed, and the cropped frame does not reveal enough of the room to determine the character of the space or its occupants, the erotic images on the wall charge the scene with sexual overtones that are accentuated by the bordello-red paint. “When you look at the dye it is like red blood that’s wet on the wall,” he commented about this picture. “The photograph was like a Bach exercise for me because I knew that red was the most difficult color to work with.”