Joy of Museums Virtual Tours

Virtual Tours of Museums, Art Galleries, and Historic Sites

Photograph of Fuller Dancing

Loie Fuller Dancin

Loie Fuller Dancing

This photograph is of the American dancer Loie Fuller demonstrating her famous dance in which she manipulates with bamboo sticks an immense skirt made of over a hundred yards of translucent, iridescent silk. Loie Fuller (1862-1928) was an actress and dancer who was a pioneer of both modern dance and theatrical lighting techniques.

This early photograph captures shapes reminiscent of chalices and butterflies. It was taken in the middle of an urban park and is part of a group of photographs attributed to Samuel Joshua Beckett, a photographer working in London.

Fuller began her theatrical career as a professional child actress and later choreographed and performed dances as a skirt dancer, vaudeville, and circus shows. An early free dance practitioner, Fuller developed her natural movement and improvisation techniques. In multiple shows, she experimented with a long skirt, choreographing its movements and playing with the ways it could reflect light.

In the hope of receiving serious artistic recognition, Fuller left for Europe in 1892. Her warm reception in Paris persuaded Fuller to stay in France, where she became one of the leading revolutionaries in the arts.

Loie Fuller Dancing

  • Title:                  Loie Fuller Dancing
  • Date:                 1900
  • Photographer:  Samuel Joshua Beckett ( 1870–1940)
  • Medium:           Gelatin silver print
  • Dimensions:      010.3 x 13.3 cm (4 x 5 1/4 in.), irregularly trimmed
  • Museum:           Metropolitan Museum of Art – MET

Explore the Metropolitan Museum of Art

MET European Paintings Collection

MET Modern and Contemporary Art Collection

MET Greek and Roman Art Collection

MET Egyptian Art Collection

MET Asian Art Collection

MET Ancient Near Eastern Art Collection

MET American Wing Collection

MET Islamic Art Collection

MET Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas Collection

MET European Sculpture and Decorative Arts Collection

MET Medieval Art Collection

MET Drawings and Prints Collection

MET Costume Institute Collection

MET Arms and Armor Collection

MET Photograph Collection

MET Musical Instrument Collection

Explore the MET


  • Why did so many early American modern dancers have to travel to Europe to seek the recognition they could not get in America.
  • Why is Fuller’s work experiencing a new resurgence of professional and public interest?


” A photograph is a secret about a secret.
The more it tells you, the less you know.”

– Diane Arbus”


Photo Credit: 1) Metropolitan Museum of Art [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons  

Popular this Week

Ancient Artifacts - Virtual Tour
Museums, Art Galleries & Historical Sites - Virtual Tours
Mesopotamian Art and Artifacts - Virtual Tour
Japanese Proverbs, Quotes, and Sayings
Greek Proverbs, Quotes, and Sayings
Mission San José - Virtual Tour
Mexican Proverbs, Quotes, and Sayings
Russian Proverbs and Quotes
Korean Proverbs, Quotes, and Sayings
"Portrait of Martin Luther" by Lucas Cranach the Elder