Alfred Stieglitz, (1864–1946)
Venetian Canal or A Bit of Venice, c. 1898
7 x 4 3/4 in. (17.7 x 12 cm)
A Bit of Venice was photographed in the early summer of 1894 and published in New York several times later in the same decade. The striking photograph summarizes the results of Stieglitz’s nine years of study in Europe and represents the moment when the impact of his crusade on behalf of photography as an art form was first being felt in the United States. More on this painting
Alfred Stieglitz (January 1, 1864 – July 13, 1946) was the eldest child of highly cultured and prosperous parents. The family of eight spent winters in New York City and summered on the shores of Lake George in upper New York State, as did Stieglitz until his death in 1946. The family went abroad in 1881, where Alfred pursued advanced training in Germany, first as an engineer, and after 1883 as a photographer. By the time he returned to New York in 1890, the quality of his work and the originality of his technical research had earned him a considerable reputation and he soon became widely recognized as one of America’s leading artists in photography. Through publications such as Camera Notes (1897-1900) and Camera Work (1903-17), and his active role in photography exhibitions, he played a pivotal role in introducing to Americans the idea that photography, far from just a means of providing a mechanical record, was an art form with its own aesthetic qualities and standards.
In the years before and during World War I, Stieglitz exhibited the work of many of Europe’s leading avant-garde artists, as well as emerging American artists and photographers, at the Photo-Secession Gallery, 291. In a succession of galleries thereafter he supported such distinguished American artists as Arthur Dove, Marsden Hartley, John Marin, Gaston Lachaise (1882-1935), and Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986). More on Alfred Stieglitz
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