Alfred Stieglitz

(Hoboken, New Jersey, 1864 - 1946, New York, New York)


Alfred Stieglitz grew up the eldest of six children in New York City before his father moved the family to Germany in 1881. The following year, Stieglitz began studying mechanical engineering at the Technische Hochschule in Berlin. He quickly refocused his studies on photography, travelling throughout Europe and earning prizes and recognition throughout the region during the 1880s. Upon his return to the US in 1890 he dedicated himself to the art of photography by publishing articles, exhibiting his work in both Europe and New York and founding periodicals such as Camera Notes and Camera Work. In 1902 he founded an elite group of artists called the “Photo Secession” and in 1905 opened the Little Galleries of the Photo Secession which quickly became known as 291, from its address on Fifth Avenue. In addition to showing the work of photographers, 291 exhibited work by leading European and American modern artists and quickly became the center for avant-garde art in America. After 291 closed in 1917 due to the impact of WWI and Stieglitz’s declining finances, he focused more on his own photographs, creating one of his most celebrated bodies of work, the portraits of Georgia O’Keefe, whom he had married in 1924. In 1925 he opened the Intimate Gallery and in 1929 he opened his last gallery, An American Place. Throughout the 1920s and 1930s he continued to create his own photographs, including some of his most significant series including his photographs of clouds known as Equivalents, studies of New York City and his family’s summer home at Lake George, New York. His declining health forced him to stop working in 1937.

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