Alfred Stieglitz

A work made of platinum print.

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  • A work made of platinum print.

Date:

1902, printed 1906

Artist:

Gertrude Käsebier
American, 1852–1934

About this artwork

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

Artist

Gertrude Käsebier

Title

Alfred Stieglitz

Origin

United States

Date

1902

Medium

Platinum print

Inscriptions

Signed recto, lower right, on image, in yellow pencil: "GERTRUDE KÄSEBIER"; inscribed recto, upper right, on image [possibly on negative]; "ALFRED STIEGLITZ / MCMVI"; inscribed verso, full page, letterpress printed in black ink [upside down]: " I BELIEVE that here are observable the first steps, still somewhat hesitating but already significant, toward an important evolution. Art has held itself aloof from the great movement, which for half a century has engrossed all forms of human activity in profitably exploiting the natural forces that fill heaven and earth. Instead of calling to his aid the enormous forces ever ready to serve the wants of the world, as an assistance in those mechanical and unnecessarily fatiguing portions of his labor, the artist has remained true to processes which are primitive, traditional, narrow, small, egotistical, and over-scrupulous, and thus has lost the better part of his time and energy. These processes date from the days when man believed himself alone in the universe, confronted by innumerable enemies. Little by little he discovers that these innumerable enemies were but allies and mysterious slaves of man which had not been taught to serve him. Man, to-day, is on the point of realizing that everything around him begs to be allowed to come to his assistance, and is ever ready to work with him and for him, if he will but make his wishes understood. This glad message is daily spreading more widely through all the domains of human intelligence. The artist alone, moved by a sort of superannuated pride, has refused to listen to the modern voice. He reminds one of one of those unhappy solitary weavers, still to be found in remote parts of the country, who, though weighed down by the misery of poverty and useless fatigue, yet absolutely continues to weave coarse fabric by an antiquated and obsolete method, and this although but a few steps from his cabin are to be found the power of the torrent, of coal and of wind, which offer to do twenty times in one hour the work which cost him a long month of slavery, and to do it better. / It is already many years since the sun revealed to us its power to portray objects and beings more quickly and more accurately than can pencil or crayon. It seemed to work only its own way and at its own pleasure. At first man was restricted to making permanent that which the impersonal and unsympathetic light had registered. He had not yet been permitted to imbue it with thought. But to-day it sees that thought has found a fissure through which to penetrate the mystery of this anonymous force, invade it, subjugate it, animate it, and compel it to say such things as have not yet been said in all the realm of chiaroscuro, of grace, of beauty and of truth. / MAURICE MAETERLINCK"

Dimensions

30.2 x 23.4 cm (image); 33.6 x 24 cm (paper); 43.2 x 27.9 cm (mount)

Credit Line

Alfred Stieglitz Collection

Reference Number

1949.862

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email .

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