Alfred Stieglitz

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Stieglitz, Alfred

Stieglitz, Alfred (stēgˈlĭts), 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 S. Greenough, ed., My Faraway One: Selected Letters of Georgia O'Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz (2011); W. Frank et al., America and Alfred Stieglitz (1934); 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); C. Burke, Foursome: Alfred Stieglitz, Georgia O'Keeffe, Paul Strand, Rebecca Salisbury (2019).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Stieglitz, Alfred


Born Jan. 1, 1864, in Hoboken, N.J.; died July 13, 1946, in New York City. American photographer and expert in the theory of art photography.

Stieglitz studied with the German photographer H. W. Vogel in Berlin from 1885 to 1890. An advocate of photography as an independent art form, Stieglitz urged rejection of the “imitation painting” approach and in 1902 founded the art organization Photo-Secession. He edited, among other publications, the magazine Camera Work (1902–17) and organized exhibitions where contemporary paintings and sculptures were shown along with photographs. Stieglitz’ work is typified by portraits and urban scenes that combine a photojournalistic approach with subtle lighting effects.


Norman, D. Alfred Stieglitz: An American Seer. New York, 1973.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Stieglitz, Alfred

(1864–1946) photographer, curator; born in Hoboken, New Jersey. He traveled to Berlin, Germany, in 1881 to study mechanical engineering and came back to New York in 1890 a photographer and admirer of avant-garde art. Partner in a photogravure business (1890–95), he continued taking photographs and edited Camera Notes for the Camera Club (1897–1902). He resigned in 1902, founding the photo-secession movement to express his belief that photography was an art form, equal to painting. Editor of Camera Work, he opened the "291" gallery (its name merely the address on 5th Avenue) to exhibit art from Europe (1905–17). In 1917 he met and began photographing the artist Georgia O'Keeffe, whom he married in 1924. A leader of the "pictorialist" approach to photography, he achieved his painterly effects by filming at night, in the snow and rain, instead of retouching in the lab. Winner of 150 awards for his own photography, he championed the careers of artists and photographers at the American Place Gallery (1929–46).
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
References in periodicals archive ?
Picabia's involvement, if any, in the founding of the publication 291 is uncertain but we do know that 291 reflected the attitudes and direction of Alfred Stieglitz. It is known that in 1913 Francis Picabia, a close friend of both Marcel Duchamp and Guillaume Apollinaire, the poet and critic, came to the United States to see the Armory Show.
The 101-work exhibit, The Artists' Eye: Georgia O'Keeffe & the Alfred Stieglitz Collection, runs through Feb.
For example, a cyanotype made by botanist Anna Atkins while she was studying flora in Ceylon in 1850 was exhibited next to a salt print of the Arch of Titus made the same year by Giacomo Caneva, while an encased daguerreotype portrait of three men from 1850 by an unknown artist stood near a large-format photogravure of Alfred Stieglitz's The Steerage, taken in 1907 but printed in 1912, and a light drawing made by Barbara Morgan in 1940 hung next to a brightly-colored abstract dye-transfer drawing made by Clarence John Laughlin in 1944.
and they were breathtaking!" The famed museum was preparing for an exhibition by pioneering early 20th century photographers Alfred Stieglitz, Edward Steichen and Paul Strand.
This iconic, enveloping shape was playfully underscored by Alfred Stieglitz when he photographed Marcel Duchamp's urinal in front of one of Hartley's paintings in 1917.
In a presentation at the SACS meeting in Orlando, a Fisk delegation, lead by Fisk President Hazel O'Leary, made a detailed effort to put the school's situation in a better light, noting the decision by a Tennessee appeals court that the school could proceed with plans to raise $30 million in cash by selling an ownership stake in its treasured Alfred Stieglitz Collection of art and photographs.
Work by one of the great Renaissance masters that was included in the collection of Vasari or a Medici, or a painting gifted by Picasso to Braque, or a photograph by Alfred Stieglitz of his wife Georgia O'Keefe that remained in her possession until her death: These would inevitably go for more at auction than the same work without the esteemed lineage.
He benefited from a brief association with talented photographer and art publisher Alfred Stieglitz and his gallery 291, which promoted photography as a legitimate method of image making and advocated modernism.