Alfred Stieglitz

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Stieglitz, Alfred

(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 CézanneCézanne, Paul
, 1839–1906, French painter, b. Aix-en-Provence. Cézanne was the leading figure in the revolution toward abstraction in modern painting.
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, PicassoPicasso, Pablo
(Pablo Ruiz y Picasso) , 1881–1973, Spanish painter, sculptor, graphic artist, and ceramist, who worked in France. He is generally considered in his technical virtuosity, enormous versatility, and incredible originality and prolificity to have been the
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, BraqueBraque, Georges
, 1882–1963, French painter. He joined the artists involved in developing fauvism in 1905, and at l'Estaque c.1909 he was profoundly influenced by Cézanne.
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, BrancusiBrancusi, Constantin
, 1876–1957, Romanian sculptor. Brancusi is considered one of the foremost of modern artists. In 1904 he went to Paris, where he worked under Mercié. He declined Rodin's invitation to work in his studio.
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, and many others. It also made known the work of such American artists as John MarinMarin, John
, 1870–1953, American landscape painter, b. Rutherford, N.J. After a year at Stevens Institute of Technology, he worked for four years as an architectural draftsman.
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, Charles DemuthDemuth, Charles
, 1883–1935, American watercolor painter, b. Lancaster, Pa. At the age of 20 he began his art study under William Chase at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. In 1907 and again in 1912, Demuth visited Europe.
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, Max WeberWeber, Max
, 1881–1961, American painter, b. Russia. At 10 he accompanied his family to Brooklyn, N.Y. He studied art at Pratt Institute and in 1905 went abroad. In Paris he studied under J. P. Laurens, later visiting Spain and Italy and returning to New York in 1909.
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, and Georgia O'KeeffeO'Keeffe, Georgia
, 1887–1986, American painter, b. Sun Prairie, Wis. After working briefly as a commercial artist in Chicago, O'Keeffe abandoned painting until she began the study of abstract design with A. W. Dow at Columbia Univ. Teachers College.
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 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.