Born January 1, 1864, in Hoboken, NJ; died of a stroke, July 13, 1946, in New York, NY; son of Edward (an importer of woolen goods) and Hedwig (Werner) Stieglitz; married Emmeline Obermeyer, November 16, 1893 (divorced, 1924); married Georgia O'Keefe (a painter), December 11, 1924; children: Katherine. Education: Attended College of the City of New York, 1879-81; Berlin Polytechnic Institute, studied photographic techniques under Hermann Wilhelm Vogel.
Photographer, editor, publisher, art dealer, art patron. Founder of Photo-Secession, 1902; founder and publisher of Camera Work quarterly magazine, 1903-17; founder and director of 291, an art gallery, 1905-17; founder and director of the Anderson Galleries, 1921-24; founder and director of the Intimate Gallery, 1924-29; founder and director of An American Place, an art gallery, 1929-46. Amateur American Photography, editor, 1893-96; Camera Notes, editor, 1897-1902. Among his best-known works are Winter on Fifth Avenue, (1893); Reflections—Night, New York, (1896); The Terminal, (1902); The Hand of Man, (1902); The Steerage, (1907); abstract photos of clouds, including Equivalents, (1922-29), and Music: A Sequence of Ten Cloud Photographs, (1922); numerous photos of his wife, Georgia O'Keefe; several series of photographs of the changing New York City skyscape, such as From the Shelton Westward—New York, (1931-32); and numerous pictures of the natural environment around Lake George, New York. Exhibitions: Solo shows: Numerous group shows at 291, New York, NY, 1905-1917, only solo exhibition, 1913; Anderson Galleries, New York, NY, 1921, 1923, 1924; An American Place, New York, NY, 1932; Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY, 1942; History of an American, Philadelphia Museum of Art, PA, 1944; Alfred Stieglitz and Early Modern Photography, Museum of Fine Art, Boston, MA, 1996; Alfred Stieglitz at Lake George, Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA, 1996; Georgia O'Keefe: A Portrait by Alfred Stieglitz, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY, 1997; Stieglitz and His Circle: The Art of the Photogravure, Ansel Adams Center, San Francisco, CA, 2001; Modern Art and America: Alfred Stieglitz and His New York Galleries, National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, 2001; Alfred Stieglitz: Known and Unknown, National Gallery of Art, Washington DC, 2002. Permanent collections: National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Art Institute of Chicago, IL; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; Minneapolis Institute of Arts, MN; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX; Cleveland Museum of Art, OH; Philadelphia Museum of Art, PA; Musee d'Orsay, Paris, France; Fisk University, Nashville, TN; and Los Angles County Museum of Art, CA, among other private and public collections.
Progress Medal, Royal Photographic Society, England, 1924; Townsend Harris Medal, Associated Alumni of City College, 1937; honorary fellowship, Photographic Society of America, 1940. Won over 150 medals and prizes for his photographs in his lifetime.
Picturesque Bits of New York, R. H. Russell (New York, NY), 1897.
American Pictorial Photography, New York Camera Club (New York, NY), 1899.
Alfred Stieglitz: The Key Set (catalogue), two volumes, Henry Abrams (New York, NY), 2002.
Photo-Secession and Its Opponents: Five Letters, [New York, NY], 1910.
Author of over two hundred articles contributed to photographic and art journals, including Photographische Mitteilungen, American Amateur Photographer, Camera Notes, Camera Work, Photographic Mosaics, and American Annual Photographer.
"If we are not truthful, we cannot help one another. Where there is no conscience, there can be no art. The goal of the artist is to be truthful and then to share his truthfulness with others." These words from photographer and art patron Alfred Stieglitz served not only as advice to others, but as his own personal motto; he spent a lifetime sharing artistic truth with whoever would take the time to look and listen. Dubbed the father of modern photography for his breakthrough in pictorial photography, he made an art form of what before was considered merely a trade. Through his own pioneering photos, including The Terminal, Winter on Fifth Avenue, Reflections—Night, New York, Steerage, and Equivalents, he established the principles of modern art photography, placing at its center the choice of subject, framing and composition, and tonal effects. As editor and publisher of the American Amateur Photographer, Camera Notes, and Camera Work, he published his own work as well as that of legions of others, from Edward Steichen to Paul Strand, and wrote knowingly and impassionedly on the subject of photography and art.
During his lifetime, Stieglitz also operated several galleries devoted to the visual and graphic arts. His 291 gallery in New York (named after its street address on Fifth Avenue) was of legendary significance not only in the growth of art photography, but also for the development of modernism in painting and sculpture. Stieglitz was not simply a ground-breaker in photography, "the most influential voice in American photography" in the first half of the twentieth century, as Tom Toth noted in the Christian Science Monitor; he was also the "ringmaster of American modernism," as Michael More noted in the Albuquerque Journal, the man who almost single-handedly introduced America to the European modernism of such masters as Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Henri Rousseau, and Constantin Brancusi, and also fostered native-grown modernists such as John Marin and Georgia O'Keefe, who became his second wife. He displayed the works of these artists at his galleries and in many cases helped support them financially. Stieglitz biographer, John Szarkowski noted that "during the first decade of this century [Stieglitz] introduced modern art to America, which is perhaps as true as so sweeping a statement should hope to be." Stieglitz once famously said, "If you do not see all of it, you do not see any of it." In helping not only to create, but also present a new world of visual art to America, Stieglitz allowed future generations to see art in its wholeness. As a photographer, he turned everyday subjects into new visions by his own unique sensibilities; as a connoisseur of art, he shared his passion with a public hungry for new trends. "When I make a picture, I make love," Stieglitz told the biographer and memoirist Dorothy Norman in Alfred Stieglitz: An American Seer. "If what is created is not made with all of oneself, in sacred spirit—with the ardor of the first pristine kiss—it has no right to be called a work of art."
Coming of Age
Stieglitz was born on New Year's Day, 1864, in Hoboken, New Jersey, the first of six children of German-Jewish parents Edward and Hedwig Stieglitz. Both parents had emigrated from Germany in their youth; Edward had arrived in 1848, apprenticing in the production of mathematical instruments at first, and then later, after serving as a lieutenant in the Civil War, going into the wool trade. He prospered in this business, and bought the family home in New Jersey, where Alfred was born. The Stieglitz household was a cultivated one by all accounts. The parents were, as Norman noted, "cultivated and broad-minded." They "shunned materialism and show. They valued integrity; loved people, beauty, the arts, literature, music. Nietzsche, Goethe, Heine and Schiller were their gods." The young Stieglitz grew up speaking German and French in addition to English; he took piano lessons, learned to ride, was adept at tennis and billiards. He did not, however, find any fascination in fairy tales. Instead, he relished historical works about the American revolution and tales of Horatio Alger and Mark Twain. At ten he read Goethe's Faust, and was soon reading Shakespeare and the poetry of Byron.
The Stieglitz family grew in size along with the father's business, moving to Manhattan when Stieglitz was seven, and living within sight of Central Park on East 60th Street. In this spacious house, Stieglitz came of age. He demonstrated an early fascination with photography when, in 1872, his mother took him and his siblings to a fashionable studio photographer for a group picture. Stieglitz pleaded to be allowed into the dark room to see how the negatives were turned into pictures. Vacationing at the family home in upstate Lake George, Stieglitz became further entranced by the photographic process, working with a local photographer in the dark room. But when the man touched up his photos with a reddish coloring on the cheeks of the subjects, the young Stieglitz—already a stickler for purity—objected. "It rather annoyed me," Stieglitz told Norman, "for, even at that time, I had a curiously pronounced feeling about letting a photograph be simply a straight photograph."
Stieglitz attended the Charlier Institute for a time, and then was sent to a more democratic, rough-and-tumble public school in Manhattan. Throughout his youth he had been exposed to art both high and low in his home, from the Currier and Ives prints on the walls to the works of the various artists whom Stieglitz's father encouraged and helped to support. An amateur painter himself, Edward Stieglitz inculcated in his children a love for art, music, literature, and the theater. Stieglitz toyed with many art forms, and in 1879 entered the College of the City of New York. During this time, however, a love of horses and horse racing took priority over art. By 1880 Edward Stieglitz's years of hard work finally paid off and he was able to retire. He began planning a European sojourn for his family to provide for his children the kind of Continental education that he did not have as a youth.
In 1881 the family left for a projected stay on the continent of five years. In the event, they remained for almost a decade. In Germany, Stieglitz enrolled in the Karlsruhe Realgymnasium to improve his German, and thereafter entered the Technische Hochschule in Berlin, studying, at the suggestion of his father, mechanical engineering. Stieglitz was at a loss to understand this decision of his father's, as he had never shown any mechanical aptitude as a child. Nevertheless, the obedient youth did as his father suggested and attended lectures in mechanical engineering for a year, hardly relating to the subject. He began collecting art books at this time, gathering an impressive library that provided him with his own private gallery and means of education. He became familiar with the history of art and the pictorial tradition. In 1883 by chance he bought a box camera that he saw displayed in a shop window, along with a basic dark room kit. Soon he was devoting all his free time to photography. Discovering that the engineering department in Berlin provided a course on photochemistry and the aesthetic theory as applied to photography, Stieglitz was quick to enroll. It was thus he first started working with Hermann Wilhelm Vogel, a man who had made important advancements in the science of photography, especially in the creation of tonal values.
Under the influence of Vogel, Stieglitz became an experimenter in photographic lab techniques, exposures, and types of photographic papers. Soon Stieglitz gave up his engineering studies altogether, concentrating solely on photography. He began contributing articles to German photo journals, including the Photographische Mitteilungen, edited by Vogel. By 1887 he won his first prize for his photograph A Good Joke in a contest sponsored by the British journal Amateur Photographer. P. H. Emerson, a well-known British photographer, presented the first place award to Stieglitz and thus the young American came under the influence of another mentor in photography. Emerson had long fought against the sentimental style of Victorian photography, arguing for an approach that was more true to nature, one that did not merely ape the pictorial style of painting but that established its own idiom. As Judith Zilczer noted in Grove Art Online, Emerson proposed a "straight photography that captured the appearance and atmosphere of the visible world by respecting the integrity of the photographic medium." Such a philosophy was eagerly appropriated by Stieglitz the purist.
In these years, Stieglitz also traveled throughout Europe, coming into contact with art and artists that would shape the new century, and being heavily influenced by the Barbizon school of France. Wherever he was, Stieglitz lived simply on an allowance supplied by his father, attending theater and opera performances, and frequenting cafes, but all the while focusing on photography. He discovered Russian literature as well as the artists of the Renaissance, viewing their works firsthand. In 1889 he produced one of his better known early works, Sun Rays—Paula, a silver print picture of an interior and the slanted rays coming through blinds. For Zilczer, this photo "revealed [Stieglitz's] technical mastery of composition and tonal range," not to mention impressive technique in managing available light.
In 1890 Stieglitz reluctantly returned to New York with his family. At the suggestion of his father, Stieglitz set up in a photoengraving business with friends he had met while living in Germany. Using his father's money, Stieglitz purchased the Heliochrome Company and renamed it the Photochrome Engraving Company. In 1893 he married Emmeline Obermeyer, the sister of one of his partners, but neither the business nor the marriage was a success. A reluctant businessman, Stieglitz was at least given free time to pursue his art. Working with a hand-held camera, he went into the streets of New York to capture candid images of the city. Stieglitz's major passion at this time, and throughout his life, was championing photography as a valid art form on an equal footing with other visual arts. But Stieglitz, like the Englishman Emerson, did not want photography to simply copy painterly techniques; instead he wanted to move photography, and more specifically American photography, in its own unique direction. While European photographers were employing soft focus that produced a hazy and sentimental look to the finished product in an effort to make their pictures look more like paintings, Stieglitz consciously sought a more direct, crisp and clear approach, and chose subject matter that was not quaint or pretty. In the streets of New York he found what he was looking for: men at work, muddy streets, workhorses, and steerage passengers. He exulted in sharp contrasts in light in his black and white photos, going for visual truth rather than abstract aesthetic pleasure. In Terminal he pictures a streetcar driver and his horses; Winter on Fifth Avenue presents a snowstorm, and Reflections—Night, New York, was taken after a rainstorm. As his art improved, business at the photoengraving plant worsened. Finally, in 1905, he gave photoengraving up to pursue photography full time. Once again, he was kept financially afloat by an allowance from his father.
The Father of Modern Photography
Stieglitz, even during his photoengraving days, had begun to exhibit widely, quickly becoming one of the most prominent American photographers. He took part not only in domestic but in international exhibitions, and in 1893 became the editor of the most influential photo journal in the United States, American Amateur Photographer. In 1896 he helped to merge that society with the New York Camera Club; he thereafter became editor of its quarterly publication, Camera Notes, working from 1897 to 1901 to create a distinctly American style of photography that would take its place on the world stage.
Success, however, brought critics. A conservative opposition was forming in the Camera Club in response to Stieglitz's progressive style of photography. Frustrated by such a conservative leaning, he left the Camera Club and established an alternate group, the Photo-Secession of like-minded photographers who favored Stieglitz's approach to pictorial photography that used the principle of fine arts in composition, but moved beyond the simple Salon style of conservative art. Named after similar art breakaway groups in Munich and Vienna at the turn of the twentieth century, the Photo-Secession's members included Edward Steichen, Alvin Langdon Coburn, Clarence White, and Gertrude Kaesebier. What bound this group together was their belief in photography as an art form of its own. Stieglitz was able to lead this organization and provide financial support for its activities.
One such activity was its publication, Camera Work, which Stieglitz edited from 1903 to 1915. This journal became one of the foremost voices in the world of American art, "lavishly illustrated with superb photographic reproductions," according to Zilczer. Stieglitz himself contributed to the magazine, and he also brought in new voices, such as Gertrude Stein and the critic, Charles Caffin, as well as artists such a Max Weber. "In quality of printing, reproduction, typography and design, Camera Work embodied Stieglitz's rigorous aesthetic standards," Zilczer further commented.
Another activity on behalf of the Photo-Secession was a gallery cofounded with Steichen on the top floor of 291 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. Converting several rooms of the attic space, Stieglitz called this at first the Little Galleries, but soon it was known by its address alone, 291. Here Stieglitz and Steichen began to show not only contemporary photography, but many other forms of contemporary art. Henri Matisse had his first American exhibit here in 1908, Rousseau in 1910, Paul Cezanne and Pablo Picasso both in 1911, Brancusi in 1914. Neither did Stieglitz ignore local pioneers of modernism, such as Oscar Bluemner, Arthur Dove, Marsden Hartley, John Marin, Elie Nadelman, Max Weber, and Georgia O'Keefe. The gallery also became a meeting place for the New York avant-garde. In 1910, Stieglitz curated the largest photo exhibition ever, bringing together an international sampling of six hundred prints at Buffalo's Albright Art Gallery. With his tireless efforts to bring photography into the mainstream of the art world, by introducing the European modernists to America, and by giving American modernists a home, Stieglitz assured a place for himself in history.
Stieglitz's work as gallery owner, art patron, and publisher took its toll on his own creative production, though in 1907 he did continue to produce memorable and groundbreaking work, such as Steerage, "one of his most enduring images," according to Zilczer. Here he pictures a portion of a ship filled with immigrants on their way back to Europe. Taken while he, his wife, and daughter, Kitty, were en route to France, the picture was, as Stieglitz told Norman, "based on related shapes and deepest human feeling—a step in my own evolution, a spontaneous discovery." Additionally, he kept up with the recording of New York both on the streets of the city and from the back window of 291. His character studies of friends, colleagues, fellow artists and even the wealthy, such as J. P. Morgan, formed another area of artistic interest. But by 1917 Stieglitz had worn himself out with his manifold activities in the arts. He closed down 291 that year and also quit publication of Camera Work.
Stieglitz's marriage, long unhappy, came to an end when he began living with the painter O'Keefe. He ultimately divorced his first wife and married O'Keefe in 1924. With gallery and publication closed, Stieglitz devoted himself more to his first love, photography. As Joanna Shaw-Eagle noted in the Washington Times, Stieglitz "produced some of his most inspired work when Miss O'Keefe entered his life." For the next two decades he created hundreds of images of O'Keefe, from expressionists portraits to abstractions focusing on parts of her body. Influenced by Cubism and abstraction, he created a further series of cloud pictures, Equivalents, throughout the 1920s. "Stieglitz believed that the moody and ethereal patterns he recorded turning his camera skyward mirrored his own emotional states," according to Zilczer. He called such theme-and mood-inspired work "idea photography." Spending his summers at the old family compound at Lake George, he also produced snapshot-like images of friends, buildings, poplars, and rolling hills. In 1924 Stieglitz created another first. The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston accepted a gift of two dozen of his prints for their collection; this was the first time that a major American gallery included photography in their graphics collection.
Stieglitz did not completely abandon his artist friends in these years, either. He arranged for special exhibitions of his and their work at the Anderson Galleries in New York, and then in 1925 opened his own showplace, the Intimate Gallery. With its closure in 1929, he opened An American Place, which, as its name implies, focused more on American modernists than on European. In 1930, Stieglitz began a series of shots of New York skyscrapers from the windows of An American Place. This New York series was his final creative effort. He suffered a heart attack on 1928. By 1937 he could no longer lift his heavy cameras and had to give up photography. He lived on until July 13, 1946, when he died of a stroke. O'Keefe spent the next three years culling Stieglitz's collection, handpicking the best images. She gathered over 1,600 of these to donate to the National Gallery in Washington, D.C.
As art appreciator and propagandizer, gallery owner and publishers, Stieglitz made a monumental contribution to modern art. But it is as photographer that he will be remembered. His work that moved beyond pictorialism to modernism influenced a generation of photographers. His carefully composed and framed shots, use of sharp focus and high contrast between tones were an important influence in the fledgling art of photography. And his argument for straight photography, eschewing editing and manipulation of the print, had an important impact on future lens artists, such as Dorothea Lange.
If you enjoy the works of Alfred Stieglitz
If you enjoy the works of Alfred Stieglitz, you might want to check out the following books:
Margaret Bourke-White, Photographer, 1998.
Dorthea Lange: Portraits of a Lifetime, 1998.
Edward Weston: A Legacy, 2003.
Stieglitz himself best summed up his work, speaking with Norman: "I simply function when I take a picture. I do not photograph with preconceived notions about life, I put down what I have to say when I must. That is my role, according to my own way of feeling. Perhaps it is beyond feeling. What is of greatest importance is to hold a moment, to record something so completely that those who see it will relive an equivalent of what has been expressed."
Biographical and Critical Sources
Bry, Doris, Alfred Stieglitz: Photographer, Museum of Fine Arts (Boston, MA), 1965.
Doty, Robert, Photo-Secession; Stieglitz and the Fine-Art Movement in Photography, Dover (New York, NY), 1978.
Eisler, Benita, O'Keefe and Stieglitz: An American Romance, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1991.
Greenough, Sarah, and Juan Hamilton, editors, Alfred Stieglitz: Photographs and Writings, National Gallery of Art/Calloway Editions (Washington, DC), 1989.
Homer, William Innes, Alfred Stieglitz and the American Avant-Garde, New York Graphic Society/Little Brown (Boston, MA), 1983.
Homer William Innes, Alfred Stieglitz and the Photo-Secession, New York Graphic Society/Little Brown (Boston, MA), 1983.
Lowe, Sue Davidson, Stieglitz: A Memoir/Biography, Farrar, Straus and Giroux (New York, NY), 1983.
Norman, Dorothy, Alfred Stieglitz: An American Seer, Aperture (New York, NY), 1973.
Szarkowski, John, Alfred Stieglitz at Lake George, Museum of Modern Art (New York, NY), 1995.
Whelan, Richard, Alfred Stieglitz: A Biography, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1995.
Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM), May 2, 2003, Michael More, "Stieglitz: A Photographer First, Last Always," p. 6.
Atlanta Journal-Constitution, April 14, 2001, Catherine Fox, "'Eloquent Eye' Puts Focus on Stieglitz," P. D4.
Boston Herald, June 27, 1999, Mary Sherman, "Stieglitz Still the Real Draw, Though Georgia's on Our Mind," p. 54.
Christian Science Monitor, December 12, 2002, Tom Toth, "The Art of Getting It Right," p. 15.
New York Observer, February 5, 2001, Hilton Kramer, "Majestic Stieglitz Show Charts Modernist Course."
Palm Beach Post (West Palm Beach, FL), September 7, 2001, "Norton Focuses on Photographer's Works," p. 32.
San Francisco Chronicle, June 28, 1996, Kenneth Baker, "Stieglitz at His Most Relaxed," p. D1; April 12, 2001, David Bonetti, "Photographs as Beautiful as Paintings," p. E1.
Sarasota Herald Tribune (Sarasota, FL), April 15, 2001, Joan Altabe, "'Stieglitz' A Picture of Forward Thinning," p. G1.
Seattle Times (Seattle, WA), February 8, 1996, "'In the American Grain': Robust, Inspirational Works from the 'Stieglitz Circle,'" p. F1; July 4, 1999, Robin Updike, "52 Works that Changed the Millennium," p. M1; August 11, 2002, Chuck Myers, "Photographer Has Much to Offer, 56 Years after Death," p. K4.
Washington Times, January 27, 2001, Joanna Shaw-Eagle, "A Very Modern Stieglitz," p. 1; June 15, 2002, Joanna Shaw-Eagle, "Stieglitz Show," p. D03.
ArtCyclopedia,http://www.artcyclopedia.com/ (March 16, 2004), "Alfred Stieglitz Online."
Grove Art Online,http://groveart.com/ (March 16, 2004), Judith Zilczer, "Stieglitz, Alfred."
Masters of Photography Online,http://www.mastersof-photgraphy.com/ (March 18, 2004), "Alfred Stieglitz."
PBS Online,http://www.pbs.org/ (March 16, 2004).*
Alfred Stieglitz (1864-1946), American photographer, editor, and art gallery director, was a leader in the battle to win recognition for photography as an art.
Alfred Stieglitz was born in Hoboken, N.J., on Jan. 1, 1864. In 1871 the family moved to New York City, where Stieglitz attended elementary schools and the College of the City of New York until 1881. He then studied at the Realgymnasium in Karlsruhe, Germany, and the Berlin Polytechnic Institute. He enrolled in the photographic courses of Hermann Wilhelm Vogel, an outstanding photographic scientist. As a student, he traveled extensively throughout Europe and, beginning in 1886, sent photographs to competitions. By 1890, when he returned to America, he was already famous.
In the United States, Stieglitz continued to photograph, using the newly invented hand camera and surprising his contemporaries with such a technical tour de force as "Winter on Fifth Avenue," taken in 1893 during a blizzard. He organized competitions and exhibitions in camera clubs and from 1890 to 1895 was in the photoengraving business. He was editor of the American Amateur Photographer (1893-1896), Camera Notes (1897-1902), which was the official organ of the Camera Club of New York, and Camera Works (1902-1917).
When the National Arts Club of New York invited Stieglitz to hold an exhibition in 1902, he showed the work of those American photographers in whom he believed. He described the exhibition as the work of the Photo-Secession. Thus an informal society was formed that dominated art photography in America for 15 years. His chief colleague was a young photographer and painter, Edward Steichen, who assisted him in the society's Little Galleries, which came to be known as "291" from the Fifth Avenue address.
In 1907 Stieglitz began to show works of art other than photography at "291." In 1908 he exhibited drawings by the sculptor Auguste Rodin and drawings, lithographs, etchings, and watercolors by Henri Matisse—the first American exhibition of this modern artist. "291" became the most progressive art gallery in the country, showing the work of Pablo Picasso, Constantin Brancusi, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, and young Americans such as John Marin.
In 1910 Stieglitz organized a vast exhibition of pictorial photography in Buffalo, N.Y. He helped the Association of American Painters and Sculptors to organize the "International Exhibition of Modern Art" in 1913. During the exhibition he showed his own photographs at "291" as a demonstration of the esthetic differences between photography and other visual media.
The "Photo Secession" disbanded in 1917, "291" closed, and Camera Workceased publication, but Stieglitz continued to photograph and exhibit. He made penetrating portraits of his friends and associates. In answer to a challenge that his photographs' power was due to his hypnotic influence over his sitters, Stieglitz began to photograph clouds, to show, as he wrote in 1923, "that my photographs were not due to subject matter." He called these photographs "Equivalents," and they almost rivaled abstract art in their beauty of form and chiaroscuro.
In 1929 Stieglitz opened An American Place, a gallery where he showed paintings by contemporary Americans and, later, photographs. From the windows of this 17th-floor gallery and from his apartment he photographed New York City. He died on July 13, 1946.
Dorothy Norman, Alfred Stieglitz: Introduction to an American Seer (1960), whose text consists mainly of Stieglitz's recollections as told to the author, is handsomely illustrated; the detailed chronology is invaluable. Doris Bry, Alfred Stieglitz, Photographer (1965), reproduces, in original size, 62 photographs in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the text is concerned with Stieglitz's photographic activity. America and Alfred Stieglitz: A Collective Portrait, edited by Waldo Frank and others (1934), contains many brilliant essays which illuminate Stieglitz's philosophy and the breadth of his concern for the arts in America. Herbert J. Seligmann, Alfred Stieglitz Talking (1966), is a vivid journal of the author's visits with Stieglitz from 1925 to 1931.
Eisler, Benita, O'Keeffe and Stieglitz: an American romance, New York: Doubleday, 1991.
Kim, Yong-gwon, Alfred Stieglitz and his time: an intellectual portrait, Seoul, Korea: American Studies Institute, Seoul National University, 1978.
Lowe, Sue Davidson, Stieglitz: a memoir/biography, New York:Farrar Straus Giroux, 1983.
Norman, Dorothy, Alfred Stieglitz: an American seer, New York:Aperture, 1990.
Whelan, Richard, Alfred Stieglitz: a biography, Boston: Little, Brown, 1995. □
Alfred Stieglitz (stēg´lĬts), 1864–1946, American photographer, editor, and art exhibitor, b. Hoboken, N.J. The first art photographer in the United States, Stieglitz more than any other American compelled the recognition of photography as a fine art. In 1881 he went to Berlin to study engineering but soon devoted himself to photography. In 1890 he returned to the United States and for three years helped to direct the Heliochrome Engraving Company. He then edited a series of photography magazines, the American Amateur Photographer (1892–96), Camera Notes (1897–1902), and Camera Work (1902–17), the organ of the photo-secessionists, a group he led that was dedicated to the promotion of photography as a legitimate art form.
In 1905 he established the famous gallery "291" at 291 Fifth Ave., New York City, for the exhibition of photography as a fine art. Soon the gallery broadened its scope to include the works of the modern French art movement and introduced to the United States the work of Cézanne, Picasso, Braque, Brancusi, and many others. It also made known the work of such American artists as John Marin, Charles Demuth, Max Weber, and Georgia O'Keeffe whom Stieglitz married in 1924.
From 1917 to 1925 Stieglitz produced his major works: the extraordinary portraits of O'Keeffe, studies of New York, and the great cloud series through which he developed his concept of photographic "equivalents." This concept greatly influenced photographic aesthetics. He then opened the Intimate Gallery (1925–30) and An American Place (1930–46), which continued the work of "291." Through his own superb photographic work and his generous championship of others, he promoted the symbolic and spiritually significant in American art, as opposed to the merely technically proficient.
See W. Frank et al., ed., America and Alfred Stieglitz (1934); S. Greenough, ed., My Faraway One: Selected Letters of Georgia O'Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz (1 vol., 2011–); biographies by D. Bry (1965), D. Norman (1973), S. D. Lowe (1983), R. Whelan (1995), and K. Hoffman (2 vol., 2004–11); W. I. Homer, Alfred Stieglitz and the Photo-Secession (1983); S. Greenough, Alfred Stieglitz: The Key Set (2002).