Cameron, Julia M.
Coburn, Alvin L.
Talbot,William H. Fox
Fine Art, Documentary, Photojournalism
Biography: Few individuals have exerted as strong an influence
on twentieth-century American art and culture as the photographer
and art dealer Alfred Stieglitz. Born in Hoboken, New Jersey,
in 1864 during the Civil War, Stieglitz lived until 1946. He witnessed
some of the most profound changes this country has ever experienced:
two world wars, the Great Depression, and the growth of America
from a rural, agricultural nation to an industrialized and cultural
superpower. But, more significantly, he also helped to affect
some of these transformations. Through his New York galleries--the
Little Galleries of the Photo-Secession at 291 Fifth Avenue, which
he directed from 1905-1917; The Intimate Gallery, 1925-1929; and
An American Place, 1929-1946--he introduced modern European art
to this country, organizing the first exhibitions in America of
work by Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Georges Braque, and Paul
CÚzanne, among others. In addition, he was one of the first to
champion and support American modernist artists such as Georgia
O'Keeffe, Arthur Dove, John Marin, Marsden Hartley, and Charles
Photography was always of central importance to Stieglitz: not
only was it the medium he employed to express himself, but, more
fundamentally, it was the touchstone he used to evaluate all art.
Just as it is apparent today that computers and digital technology
will dominate not only our lives but also our thinking in the
next century, so too did Stieglitz realize, long before many of
his contemporaries, that photography would be a major cultural
force in the twentieth century. Fascinated with what he called
"the idea of photography," Stieglitz foresaw that it
would revolutionize all aspects of the way we learn and communicate
and that it would profoundly alter all of the arts.
Stieglitz's own photographs were central to his understanding
of the medium: they were the instruments he used to plumb both
its expressive potential and its relationship to the other arts.
When he began to photograph in the early 1880s, the medium was
still in its infancy. Complicated and cumbersome and employed
primarily by professionals, photography was seen by most as an
objective tool and utilized for its descriptive and recording
capabilities. By the time ill health forced Stieglitz to stop
photographing in 1937, photography and the public's perception
of it had changed dramatically, thanks in large part to his efforts.
Through the publications he edited, including Camera Notes, Camera
Work, and 291; through the exhibitions he organized; and through
his own lucid and insightful photographs, Stieglitz had conclusively
demonstrated the expressive power of the medium. (National
Gallery of Art)
More on Alfred Stieglitz:
Gallery of Art - Alfred Stieglitz
'Excellent site, featuring thematic tours that highlight the Alfred
Stieglitz Collection from the National Gallery of Art. Includes
biography and related resources.
Excellent Presentation of Stieglitz's work.
History of Photography - Stieglitz
Informative article on the life and work of Alfred Stieglitz.
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