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The Steerage

A work made of gelatin silver print.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of gelatin silver print.


1907, printed 1920/39


Alfred Stieglitz
American, 1864–1946

About this artwork

Alfred Stieglitz shot this photograph in 1907, during a voyage by ocean liner to Europe; it was years, however, before he and others in his circle came to recognize it as a defining work of modernism, showing that photography could transcend its ostensible subject to depict deeper emotions. He later described the moment when, desperate to escape the stuffy upper classes, he looked down to the steerage level: “I saw shapes related to each other. I saw a picture of shapes and underlying that the feeling I had about life.”

For more on the Alfred Stieglitz collection at the Art Institute, along with in-depth object information, please visit the website: The Alfred Stieglitz Collection.


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Photography and Media


Alfred Stieglitz


The Steerage


United States (Artist's nationality)


Made 1907


Gelatin silver print


Unmarked recto; inscribed verso, on second mount, lower left, in graphite: "125D"


Image/paper/first mount: 11 × 9.2 cm (4 3/8 × 3 5/8 in.); Second mount: 31.7 × 24.7 cm (12 1/2 × 9 3/4 in.)

Credit Line

Alfred Stieglitz Collection

Reference Number


IIIF Manifest  The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) represents a set of open standards that enables rich access to digital media from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions around the world.

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Extended information about this artwork

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