21
Aug
10

Exhibition: ‘Alfred Stieglitz: the Lake George years’ at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney

Exhibition dates: 17th June – 5th September 2010

 

Alfred Stieglitz. 'Ford V-8' 1935

 

Alfred Stieglitz (American, 1864-1946)
Ford V-8
1935
Gelatin silver photograph
19.5 x 24.3cm
George Eastman House, part purchase and part gift from Georgia O’Keeffe

 

 

Many thankx to Susanne Briggs and the Art Gallery of New South Wales for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

 

 

“… much has happened in photography that is sensational, but very little that is comparable with what Stieglitz did. The body of his work, the key set – I think – is the most beautiful photographic document of our time.”

.
Georgia O’Keeffe 1978

 

 

The photographs Alfred Stieglitz (1864-1946) took around his summer house at Lake George, New York state, USA after 1915 are considered a major departure and dramatically influenced the course of photography. The desire to build a specifically ‘American’ art led Stieglitz to explore the essential nature of photography, released from contrivances and from intervention in print and negative. “Photography is my passion. The search for truth my obsession,” he would write in 1921.

This major exhibition is the first in Australia of Stieglitz’s photographs. 150 are included and are amongst the very best Stieglitz ever printed. They are also the rarest. One third of the exhibition is being lent by the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC, which holds ‘the key set’ – selected by his lover, muse and wife, the artist Georgia O’Keeffe, and deposited there after Stieglitz’s death.

 

 

Alfred Stieglitz. ‘City of ambition’ 1911

 

Alfred Stieglitz (American, 1864-1946)
City of ambition
1911
Photogravure
33.9 x 26.0cm
George Eastman House, Museum purchase from Museum of Modern Art, New York

 

Alfred Stieglitz. 'Ellen Koeniger' 1916

 

Alfred Stieglitz (American, 1864-1946)
Ellen Koeniger
1916
Gelatin silver photograph
11.1 x 9.1cm
J Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

 

Alfred Stieglitz. 'Waldo Frank' 1920

 

Alfred Stieglitz (American, 1864-1946)
Waldo Frank
1920
Palladium photograph
25.1 x 20.2cm
Art Institute of Chicago, Alfred Stieglitz Collection

 

 

Waldo David Frank was an American novelist, historian, political activist, and literary critic, who wrote extensively for The New Yorker and The New Republic during the 1920s and 1930s.

 

Alfred Stieglitz. 'Spiritual America' 1923

 

Alfred Stieglitz (American, 1864-1946)
Spiritual America
1923
Gelatin silver photograph
11.7 x 9.2cm
Philadelphia Museum of Art: the Alfred Stieglitz Collection 1949

 

 

The photographs Alfred Stieglitz (1864-1946) took around his summer house at Lake George, New York state, USA after 1915 are considered a major departure and dramatically influenced the course of photography. The desire to build a specifically ‘American’ art led Stieglitz to explore the essential nature of photography, released from contrivances and from intervention in print and negative.

‘Stieglitz’s mature photographs from the 1910s onwards are free from any sense that photography must refer to something outside of itself in order to express meaning,’ said Judy Annear, senior curator photography, Art Gallery of New South Wales.

This major exhibition is the first in Australia of Stieglitz’s photographs. 150 are included and are amongst the very best Stieglitz ever printed. They are also the rarest. One third of the exhibition is being lent by the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC, which holds ‘the key set’ – selected by his lover, muse and wife, the artist Georgia O’Keeffe, and deposited there after Stieglitz’s death.

‘Passionate and provocative; charismatic, verbose and intellectually voracious; a self described revolutionist and iconoclast with an unwavering belief in the efficacy of radical action; competitive, egotistical, narcissistic and at times duplicitous, but also endowed with a remarkable ability to establish a deep communion with those around him – these are but some of the adjectives that can be used to describe Alfred Stieglitz,’ said Sarah Greenough, senior curator of photographs, National Gallery of Art, Washington.

Major loans are also coming from the J Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, Museum of Modern Art and Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Art Institute of Chicago, and George Eastman House, Rochester amongst others.

The exhibition begins with a selection of Stieglitz’s photographs from the 1910s including those that he took at his gallery 291 in New York City of artists and collaborators, including O’Keeffe. Stieglitz was a superb photographic printer and dedicated to aesthetics in publishing. A number of the later editions (from 1911-1917) of his publication Camera work – described as the most beautiful journal in the world – are included.

Stieglitz’s portraits grew steadily in power in the 1910s and 20s, and continued to be a major part of his photographic practice. He would sometimes photograph his subjects over and over again and none more so than O’Keeffe, whom he met in 1916.

Stieglitz photographed O’Keeffe for the first time in 1917. He continued to photograph her from every angle, clothed and unclothed, indoors and out until his last photographs from 1936/1937. In all there are more than 300 photographs of O’Keeffe which convey all the nuances of their relationship in that 20-year period. A selection is included.

Stieglitz first visited Lake George in the 1870s with his parents. The visits slowed until the 1910s but from 1917 until his death he spent every summer there. Stieglitz’s ashes are buried at Lake George.

The photographs of people, buildings, landscapes and skies that Stieglitz took at Lake George form a collective portrait of a place which has not been rivalled in the history of photography worldwide for its subtlety of feeling expressed in the simplest of terms.

Stieglitz developed the idea for his cloud photographs in 1922 because he wanted to create images which carried the emotional impact of music and to disprove the idea being put about that he hypnotised his (human) subjects. The first title for the cloud photographs was simply Music: a sequence…; this was eventually superseded by Equivalent as Stieglitz believed that these photographs could exist as the visual equivalent to other forms of expression.

Stieglitz changed the course of photography worldwide and has influenced major figures in photography from Minor White to Robert Mapplethorpe, Max Dupain to Tracey Moffatt and Bill Henson.”

Press release from the Art Gallery of New South Wales website

 

Alfred Stieglitz. 'Georgia O'Keeffe: a portrait' 1918

 

Alfred Stieglitz (American, 1864-1946)
Georgia O’Keeffe: a portrait
1918
Platinum photograph
24.6 x 19.7cm
The J. Paul Getty Museum
Copyright J. Paul Getty Trust

 

Alfred Stieglitz. 'Georgia O'Keeffe' 1920

 

Alfred Stieglitz (American, 1864-1946)
Georgia O’Keeffe
1920
Gelatin silver photograph
23.5 x 19.69cm
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
Alfred Stieglitz Collection. Gift of Georgia O’Keeffe

 

 

“Stieglitz is too easily bundled in amongst a rush to the reductions of modernism and cubism, the time he inhabits and the new technology he is stretching make that almost inevitable. On looking at the images here it feels like a mistake to label him that simply. We can see hints of the abstract, the grids of Mondrian or the blocks of Braque, but his work is as human and as smudged as a fingerprint. It is this sense of flaw and serendipity is what makes him so different to photographers like Man Ray for Stieglitz seems to embrace the beauty of imperfection. The memorable works here inhabit a world of infinite shining gradations between black and white, they are expansive and open rather than reductive and finished, in doing this Stieglitz’s greatest innovation might be to take a static form and make it so intensely moving.”

John Matthews on his Art Kritique blog Sunday 15 August 2010 [Online] Cited 22/12/2019

 

Alfred Stieglitz. 'Self-portrait' 1907, printed 1930

 

Alfred Stieglitz (American, 1864-1946)
Self-portrait
1907, printed 1930
Gelatin silver photograph
24.8 x 18.4cm
J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

 

Alfred Stieglitz (American, 1864-1946) 'From the Back Window – 291' 1915

 

Alfred Stieglitz (American, 1864-1946)
From the Back Window – 291
1915
Platinum print
25.1 x 20.2cm (9 7/8 x 7 15/16 in.)
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Alfred Stieglitz Collection, 1949

 

 

From the Back Window – 291 is a black and white photograph taken by Alfred Stieglitz in 1915. The picture was taken at night from a back window of his 291 gallery in New York. Its one of the several that he took that year from that window, including at a snowy Winter.

The night photograph depicts an urban cityscape of New York. The reigning darkness is leavened by several sources of artificial light. The background building is the 105 Madison Avenue, at the southeast corner of Madison and 30th Street, while the smaller building with the advertisements is 112 Madison Avenue.

Stieglitz seems to have taken inspiration from a recent exhibition of Cubist painters Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque at the 291 gallery, which would explain his interest in the geometrical forms and lines, but also of the 19th century photographers, like David Octavius Hill. He wrote then to R. Child Bailey: “I have done quite some photography recently. It is intensely direct. Portraits. Buildings from my back window at 291, a whole series of them, a few landscapes and interiors. All interrelated. I know nothing outside of Hill’s work which I think is so direct, and quite so intensely honest.” The picture also seems still reminiscent of Pictorialism, while being more in the straight photography style.

There are prints of this photograph at several public collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in New York, the National Gallery of Art, in Washington, D.C., the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and at the Williams College Museum of Art, in Williamstown, Massachusetts.

Text from the Wikipedia website

 

Alfred Stieglitz (American, 1864-1946) 'Georgia O'Keeffe: A Portrait (15)' 1930

 

Alfred Stieglitz (American, 1864-1946)
Georgia O’Keeffe: A Portrait (15)
1930
Gelatin silver print
The Alfred Stieglitz Collection – Gift of the Georgia O’Keeffe Foundation and M. and M. Karolik Fund
Photograph: © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

 

Alfred Stiegitz (American, 1864-1946) 'The Steerage' 1907

 

Alfred Stieglitz (American, 1864-1946)
The Steerage
1907
Gelatin silver print
Gift of Miss Georgia O’Keeffe

 

Alfred Stieglitz (American, 1864-1946) 'Hodge Kirnon' 1917

 

Alfred Stieglitz (American, 1864-1946)
Hodge Kirnon
1917
Palladium print
9 11/15 x 7 13/16 in
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Alfred Stieglitz Collection, 1949

 

The noted West Indian scholar and historian Hodge Kirnon leaning against a doorframe.

 

Alfred Stieglitz (American, 1864-1946) 'Georgia O'Keeffe – Torso' 1918

 

Alfred Stieglitz (American, 1864-1946)
Georgia O’Keeffe – Torso
1918
Gelatin silver print
23.6 x 18.8cm (9 5/16 x 7 3/8 in.)
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Gift of Mrs. Alma Wertheim, 1928

 

 

Stieglitz took dozens of pictures of O’Keeffe’s body, including her hands and her nude torso. The photograph depicts her naked torso, seen from below, with her arms only partially visible and without showing her head. The Torso, with its uplifted arms and muscular thighs, has a sculptoric quality that seems influenced by Auguste Rodin, whose work Stieglitz knew well and had shown at the Photo-Secession.

The Torso was in the Stieglitz exhibition at the Anderson Galleries in New York, where he presented pictures of several parts of the body of O’Keeffe, and which had a particular impact. Herbert Seligmann wrote that “Hands, feet, hands and breasts, torsos, all parts and attitudes of the human body seen with a passion of revelation, produced an astonishing effect on the multitudes who wandered in and out of the rooms”.

A print of this picture sold for $1,360,000 at Sotheby’s New York, on 14 February 2006, making it the second most expensive price reached by a Stieglitz photograph.

There are prints of Torso at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., The Art Institute of Chicago, the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, and the Museé d’Orsay, in Paris.

Text from the Wikipedia website

 

Alfred Stieglitz (American, 1864-1946) 'Songs of the Sky' 1924

 

Alfred Stieglitz (American, 1864-1946)
Songs of the Sky
1924
Gelatin silver print
9.2 x 11.8cm (3 5/8 x 4 5/8 in.)

 

 

Art Gallery of New South Wales
Art Gallery Road, The Domain, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia

Opening hours:
Open every day 10am – 5pm
except Christmas Day and Good Friday

Art Gallery of New South Wales website

LIKE ART BLART ON FACEBOOK

Back to top


2 Responses to “Exhibition: ‘Alfred Stieglitz: the Lake George years’ at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney”


  1. August 27, 2010 at 8:30 pm

    Looks to be a great exhibition! Thanks for sharing!

  2. August 21, 2010 at 7:35 pm

    Amazing !

    “In photography there is a reality so subtle that it becomes more real than reality.”
    Alfred Stieglitz


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


Dr Marcus Bunyan

Dr Marcus Bunyan is an Australian artist and writer. His art work explores the boundaries of identity and place. He writes Art Blart, an art and cultural memory archive, which posts mainly photography exhibitions from around the world. He holds a Doctor of Philosophy from RMIT University, Melbourne, a Master of Arts (Fine Art Photography) from RMIT University, and a Master of Art Curatorship from the University of Melbourne.

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. If you would like to unsubscribe from the email list please email me at bunyanth@netspace.net.au and I will remove you asap. Thank you.

Join 2,890 other followers

Marcus Bunyan black and white archive: ‘Orphans and small groups’ 1994-96 Part 2

Follow Art_Blart on Twitter
Art Blart on Pinterest

Blog Stats

  • 12,559,750 hits

Recent Posts

Lastest tweets

August 2010
M T W T F S S
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031  

Archives

Categories

If you would like to unsubscribe from the email list please email me at bunyanth@netspace.net.au and I will remove you asap. Thank you.

Join 2,890 other followers


%d bloggers like this: