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Alfred Stieglitz Photo

Alfred Stieglitz

American Photographer and Publisher

Movement: Modern Photography

Born: January 1, 1864 - Hoboken, New Jersey

Died: July 13, 1946 - New York, New York

Alfred Stieglitz Timeline

Important Art by Alfred Stieglitz

The below artworks are the most important by Alfred Stieglitz - that both overview the major creative periods, and highlight the greatest achievements by the artist.

Winter, Fifth Avenue (1892)

Winter, Fifth Avenue (1892)

Artwork description & Analysis: Winter, Fifth Avenue shows the busy New York street in the midst of a snowstorm. Stieglitz stalked Fifth Avenue for three frigid hours waiting for the perfect moment. He had to wait for the ideal composition - unlike a painter, who could manufacture it. Trails in the snow lead the eye up this vertical composition to its focal point - a dark horse and carriage that is swallowed by the snowy atmosphere. The snow blurs the details of the urban surroundings, lending the photo an Impressionistic appearance. This depiction of man - crudely mechanized - and pitted against the violence of the natural world, shows Stieglitz's inheritance from nineteenth century Romanticism.

Photogravure - The Minneapolis Institute of Arts

The Terminal (1893)

The Terminal (1893)

Artwork description & Analysis: Taken with a handheld Folmer and Schwing 4x5 plate film camera, this photo captures hot stream rising from horses in the dead of winter. A smaller camera meant greater mobility; it also ensured that he could more easily capture short-lived moments in time. The steam makes the photo appear more like a painting than a point-and-shoot image. Atmospheric effects such as this were important to Stieglitz in both providing a means to bind the image together and to show the kind of technical mastery and lush effects that audiences approved of in painting.

Photogravure - Museum of Modern Art, New York

The Steerage (1907)

The Steerage (1907)

Artwork description & Analysis: The Steerage depicts travelers boarding a crowded steamer going from New York to Bremen, Germany. They have attempted to immigrate to America, and have been forced to return home. While several of Stieglitz's early pictures suggest an interest in working class motifs - or, at least, scenes of labor and industrial work - he looked at these people with the somewhat distant sympathy of the patrician. For Stieglitz, the picture was far more important as a study in line and form. He regarded it as his first "modernist" picture, the image that marked his move away from the rich tonality of his earlier Pictorial phase, and it has since come to be seen as a benchmark for the beginnings of modernist photography. In part, this was due to Stieglitz's own promotion of it. He included it in a special issue of his journal Camera Work, in 1911, that was devoted to his new work. The images were accompanied by a Cubist drawing by Picasso, and Stieglitz loved to recount how Picasso had praised The Steerage for the way it transformed its conventional subject into a striking, collage-like depiction of different spaces.

Photogravure - Museum of Modern Art, New York

From the Back Window at 291 (1915)

From the Back Window at 291 (1915)

Artwork description & Analysis: This nighttime scene was taken from the window of Stieglitz's famous avant-garde gallery. The photo is dominated by the geometric lines of New York's cityscape, using the rich range of tone the camera affords to depict the drama of the city by night. The overall darkness is leavened by intermittent beacons of artificial light. Although the picture was taken many years after Stieglitz had turned his back on the rich tonality of Pictorial photography, it could be interpreted almost as a transitional piece - the dramatic light effects recall his early work, but the geometric forms of the roofs in the foreground recall the concerns of his more recent, straight photography.

Platinum print - Museum of Modern Art, New York

Georgia O'Keeffe - Torso (1918-19)

Georgia O'Keeffe - Torso (1918-19)

Artwork description & Analysis: Stieglitz cropped O'Keeffe's body, filling the lens with her nude torso alone. A part of a larger series of portraits of O'Keeffe, it presents an intimate view of the woman who was Stieglitz's muse for the latter part of his life. He approached O'Keeffe like he might a landscape; the viewer is encouraged to see not nakedness but flowing organic lines - a finely judged composition. In consequence, however, she is also depersonalized and reduced to her component body parts - she is hair, breasts, and arms.

Palladium Print - Museum of Modern Art

Equivalent (1930)

Equivalent (1930)

Artwork description & Analysis: Stieglitz's cloud series - Equivalents - captured ephemeral formations in the sky. This photo is divided between dark, black clouds on the left and bright sky on the right. Without context, the subject seems difficult to pinpoint, though Stieglitz intended the series to be an exploration of his changing mental state, with each shot of the sky representing an equivalent of his mood at the time the picture was captured. One of his more revered later works, the series is also the high point of abstraction in his career.

Gelatin Silver Print - San Francisco Museum of Modern Art



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Alfred Stieglitz Photo

Related Art and Artists

Bowl of Fruit, Violin and Bottle (1914)
Artwork Images

Bowl of Fruit, Violin and Bottle (1914)

Artist: Pablo Picasso

Artwork description & Analysis: Picasso's Bowl of Fruit, Violin and Bottle is typical of his Synthetic Cubism, in which he uses various means - painted dots, silhouettes, grains of sand - to allude to the depicted objects. This combination of painting and mixed media is an example of the way Picasso "synthesized" color and texture - synthesizing new wholes after mentally dissecting the objects at hand. During his Analytic Cubist phase Picasso had suppressed color, so as to concentrate more on the forms and volumes of the objects, and this rationale also no doubt guided his preference for still life throughout this phase. The life of the café certainly summed up modern Parisian life for the artists - it was where he spent a good deal of time talking with other artists - but the simple array of objects also ensured that questions of symbolism and allusion might be kept under control.

Oil on canvas - National Gallery, London

Black Place, Grey and Pink (1949)
Artwork Images

Black Place, Grey and Pink (1949)

Artist: Georgia O'Keeffe

Artwork description & Analysis: O'Keeffe's landscape paintings are similar to her flower paintings in that they often capture the essence of nature as the artist saw it without focusing on the details. In works such as Black Place, Grey and Pink, O'Keeffe emphasizes the wide open spaces and emptiness of the landscape around her New Mexico ranch that she purchased in 1940 - vistas that are the opposite of her claustrophobic cityscapes. Her paintings of the area capture this sense of place and her attachment to it: "When I got to New Mexico that was mine. As soon as I saw it that was my country. I'd never seen anything like it before, but it fitted to me exactly. It's something that's in the air, it's different. The sky is different, the wind is different." The often surprising reds and pinks of the land in these paintings are accurate renderings of the colorful desert scenery.

Oil on canvas - Georgia O'Keeffe Museum

Me and the Moon (1937)

Me and the Moon (1937)

Artist: Arthur Dove

Artwork description & Analysis: While previously this work has been solely considered to be Dove's personal vision of his natural surroundings, recent examination of his diaries and correspondences from the late 1930s reveal a more complex tale. Dove painted this work while his beloved wife and creative inspiration, Reds, was absent for two months tending to her infirmed mother. Dove, who created approximately 17 canvases related to music, began listening daily to the radio for companionship and inspiration. Both he and Reds referred to the paintings of the late-1930s, such as Me and the Moon, as "From the Radio" works. He took the painting's title from a popular song of the day. In Reds's absence, Dove began tracking the moon for two months in his diaries, only stopping when his wife returned. Influenced by the writings of Henri Bergson, Dove saw the moon as his living companion. Me and the Moon has been called one of the culminating works of his career. It reveals Dove's deep and personal connection to the natural world, and also, how nature became a vehicle for Dove to express his inner, emotional world.

1937 - The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC

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