Alfred Stieglitz

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).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2018, The Columbia University Press.

Alfred Stieglitz: Selected full-text books and articles

Literary Admirers of Alfred Stieglitz By F. Richard Thomas Southern Illinois University Press, 1983
Early American Modernist Painting, 1910-1935 By Abraham A. Davidson Harper & Row, 1981
Librarian's tip: Chap. 1 "The Stieglitz Group"
The Harlem Renaissance: The One and the Many By Mark Helbling Greenwood Press, 1999
Librarian's tip: Chap. 6 "'Worlds of Shadow-Planes and Solids Silently Moving': Jean Toomer, Alfred Stieglitz, Georgia O'Keeffe, and Waldo Frank"
Between Amateur and Aesthete: The Legitimization of Photography as Art in America, 1880-1900 By Paul Spencer Sternberger University of New Mexico Press, 2001
Librarian's tip: "Alfred Stieglitz and the Amateur Elite" begins on p. 118
Photography: A Short Critical History By Beaumont Newhall Museum of Modern Art, 1938 (2nd edition)
Librarian's tip: "Alfred Stieglitz" begins on p. 63
A Debt That Can Never Be Paid: Stieglitz & American Modernism By Agee, William C New Criterion, Vol. 19, No. 9, May 2001
'Soft Framing': A Comparative Aesthetics of Painting and Photography By Davey, E. R Journal of European Studies, Vol. 30, No. 2, June 2000
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
A Dictionary of Twentieth-Century Art By Ian Chilvers Oxford University Press, 1999
Librarian's tip: "Stieglitz, Alfred" begins on p. 592
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