Alfred Stieglitz

“Photography is a reality so subtle that it becomes more real than reality.”

 Alfred Stieglitz


Alfred Stieglitz came up on my January 21, 2014 Metropolitan Museum of Art Calendar as a palladium print taken by Waldo Frank, a prolific novelist, historian, literary and social critic. Alfred is sitting comfortably on a chair, his tie slightly askew with papers on his lap and, what appear to be apples, in his hands. He is wearing a hat and there is a hint of a smile beneath his moustache. His life is before him; and he has a determined look about him that suggests that he is ready to take on the world.

The first time I heard about Alfred Stieglitz was when I was researching the remarkable photographer, Gertrude Käsebier. Next, I found his name linked to Auguste Rodin, Henri Matisse, Paul Cézanne and Pablo Picasso. My latest encounter was when I was reading “Portrait of an Artist: A Biography of Georgia O’Keeffe.” The defining similarity in all that I have read, centers on his remarkable skill to see creative genius.

Alfred Stieglitz (1864 – 1946) was a pioneer in the advancement of pictorial photography in America and abroad. But in my opinion, his brilliance was his ability to recognize artistic endeavour and creativity in others outside the world of photography. He perceived the heart and purpose of an artist’s work. And he shared the limelight, generously and unequivocally.

In 1905, Alfred Stieglitz, along with his associate Edward Steichen, opened a small gallery that would become famously called “291.” This tiny gallery was the first venue in America to showcase the works of Auguste Rodin and Henri Matisse in 1908, Paul Cézanne in 1910, and Pablo Picasso in 1911.

Alfred Stieglitz once said, “It is not art in the professionalized sense about which I care, but that which is created sacredly, as a result of a deep inner experience, with all of oneself, and that becomes ‘art’ in time.”  Over the years, his life was a testament to those words.

Alfred Stieglitz was born on New Years Day, an auspicious beginning.  As we embark on our New Year, may we share his commitment as we explore the wealth of human creative skill and imagination…

Alfred Stieglitz

20 Replies to “Alfred Stieglitz”

  1. ‘my faraway one’ – that must be a charming book, though a bit like being a voyeur into a very private space!

    i love the final image, especially the way his feet are slightly turned, showing a touch of vulnerability or unease..


    1. It does indeed. He was an extraordinary individual who recognized, respected and promoted the creativity of others. He loved the artistic spirit. I think that you would appreciate this short video!


      1. 1. i really like the look of this site- you’ve created a refreshing tonic to the soul, from header images to the material you share. thaanks for the hard work it took to present this to us!

        2. the video was nice! he looked so very happy – we can only hope that we’ll be brushing another coat of paint on a bench while wearing a genuine smile at the same time!

        3. i am so lucky to have spent the night in town, and i have fast enough internet to see the video!!!!

        hope the day is a good one for you! it rained last night/this morning, and i have sandals, so it’s time to go buy another pair of seven-dollar boots and join society on a muddy cowboy morning!


  2. Dear Rebecca,
    a thoroughly enjoyed this reading. You are a great teacher and a great artist! Teaching might even be the greatest of the arts since the medium is the human mind and spirit. That’s how John Steinbeck regarded it.

    Alfred Stieglitz is amazing. I have been absolutely absorbed with his work since I read your post, thank you so much! He is certainly one of the best. His photography is brilliant and especially the studies of his wife are more than fascinating.

    Have a good day, my dear friend.
    Love and a big hug across the pond from the Rhine Valley


    1. Your comments are always a source of encouragement. I have become quite interested in Alfred Stieglitz’s life so am looking for a biography. Then, I found that there is a collection of letters between Alfred Stieglitz and Georgia O’Keeffe: “My Faraway One: Selected Letters of Georgia O’Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz: Volume One, 1915-1933”(Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library)

      Now, the real issue is to find the time to read. There are so many wonderful books with fascinating narratives that it is very difficult to know exactly where to begin and where to find the time. The joy, however, is there are more good books than time. I am very glad to have that “problem” rather than more time than there are good books. Big hugs coming across the pond back to you. Have you noticed that “blogger” miles are much easier to cross than real miles. 🙂 🙂 🙂


      1. I agree with you, wholeheartedly on!:
        “The joy, however, is there are more good books than time. I am very glad to have that “problem” rather than more time than there are good books.” – yes, Rebecca, me too!! 🙂 Even Siri and Selma have a pile of books to read.

        Klausbernd has just finished reading a brilliant book by Paul Auster. He’ll get back to you later today. 🙂

        Sunny greetings and a big hug coming faster than light


      2. I have never heard of Paul Auster so I went on a Google Search and came up with his personal blog, last updated July 10, 2013 (which is powered by WordPress) I was especially interested in his book, “Timbuktu” which recounts the life of a dog and the struggles of being homeless and the death of his owner. So many good books….


  3. It would seem to me that a sign of greatness in a person is the ability to help another along the way to greatness.


  4. I love his definition of photography, more real than reality. It’s hard to define how photography is an art and he’s found a good way of doing it.


    1. Well said! He had strong feelings about gaining financial success from artistic photography. That was one of the reasons that Gertrude Käsebier and he had a falling out. She was not happy when he sold her original prints for far less than their market value. And then, payments were often several months late in coming. In the end, they both created brilliant art. And that is the important thing.


    1. I have given much thought to the idea of sharing “greatness.” Perhaps “greatness” is like every other resource – we like to have our fair share; sometimes, even more than our fair share. From what I have read, Alfred Stieglitz was relentless in his pursuit of art, especially modern art. It seemed to me that he loved art more than the artist – creative energy was more important than personality and ego, including his own.

      “There is nothing so wrong as accepting a thing merely because men who have done things say it should be so.” Alfred Stieglitz


  5. Doesn’t he have the loveliest expression on his face and in his eyes? And is that an apple core on the ground, too?


    1. From what I’ve read he enjoyed holding “court” at 291. He was famous for his persuasive abilities – his enthusiasm was contagious!


      1. Especially for Georgia O’Keeffe! He understood her brilliance and was able to convey this to others in a way that engaged their imagination. He also understood the art of creating a market.


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