Alfred Stieglitz

Alfred Stieglitz ( born January 1, 1864 in Hoboken, New Jersey, † July 13, 1946 in New York ) was an American photographer, gallery owner and patron. He was one of the most important people who presented to the American public influences of the European avant-garde on American art. This he used his position as editor of the magazine Camera Work, with which he wanted to promote photography and legitimize it as an art form. In addition, he was director of the famous " Gallery 291 " and then the "Intimate Gallery" and " An American Place ". Both in the journal as well as the galleries, he presented many of the most outstanding photographs of his time.

Life and work

The one who was born in Hoboken, New Jersey Alfred Stieglitz was the first son of German - Jewish immigrants Edward Stieglitz (1833-1909) and Hedwig Ann Werner ( 1845-1922 ). His brothers were Leopold and Julius Stieglitz. In 1880, he traveled through Europe and photographed in many places. He studied from 1882 in Berlin and engineering could benefit a student Hermann Wilhelm Vogel of his knowledge in photographic terms. At the age of 24 he was awarded first prize in a British photography competition in which PH Emerson sat on the jury, among other things. This was the first of more than 150 medals he should get in his life.

1889 Goldfinch moved to New York, where he began to make his work available to a wide audience, wrote about photography and was an honorary included in the Community "The Linked Ring ". His early works were mainly influenced by pictorialism, as he was known in France and England.

He married in 1893, nine years younger brewery heiress, Emmeline Obermeyer ( 1873-1953 ); in 1897 came a daughter, Katherine ( Kitty ), was born. The assets of his wife and his parents allowed him a life without worries about livelihood.

1902 Alfred Stieglitz founded the " Photo-Secession " and opened his first gallery. In his own works he rejected any form of manipulation as soon as the retouching from and photographed instead often in the rain, fog or snow, to achieve the desired soft contours and effects, and to show that the correct view is more important than the equipment or the external conditions. His most famous photos from this time are probably The Terminal (1892 ), Winter on Fifth Avenue (1893 ) and the Flatiron Building ( 1902/1903 ). For Winter on Fifth Avenue he stood according to their own statements more than three hours in the freezing cold on the street, where he waited for the right moment. In Flatiron Building he saw a symbol of the emerging America, which at that time was going through a radical change that the art could not walk past without a trace.

The quarterly published magazine Camera Work, founded in 1903 by Stieglitz, existed until 1917, alongside photographs also contained reviews and Reproductions avant-garde artists. Founded in 1905 together with Alfred Stieglitz, Edward Steichen, the " Gallery 291 " (named after its address: 291 Fifth Avenue ), where, among other artists such as Georgia O'Keeffe, Matisse, Cézanne, Rodin, Braque, Hartley, Marin and Dove exhibited. Stieglitz O'Keeffe asked to stand model for him, and first photos were taken with her as a subject. Between the two a strong love relationship, in the course of which Stieglitz was divorced after 24 years of marriage with Emmeline Obermeyer was created in 1918. From 1918 to 1937 Stieglitz made ​​more than 300 photographs of O'Keeffe. They married in 1924.

From 1922, Stieglitz photographed often cloud formations, which he called " Equivalents " and regarded as symbols of his philosophy of life.

After the end of the " Gallery 291 " Camera Work and " Photo-Secession " in 1917, which were due to financial reasons, given up, by the First World War, Stieglitz opened the "Intimate Gallery" ( 1925-1929 ) and "An American Place " (1929-1946), where mainly paintings, sculptures and graphics were issued. Among other works His later work includes countless studies of Georgia O'Keeffe ( he photographed them from more than 900 different perspectives ), and views of New York.

The group of intellectuals who had gathered around him in the first quarter of the 20th century, had a decisive influence on the artistic development in America and was about 1913 known by the world-famous "Armory Show." Stieglitz's work inspired not least writers like William Carlos Williams, who also dealt with the Precisionism and Stieglitz knew personally. Thus, the visual and literary arts shook hands at the time and were as rare then united in the core.

The written and artistic estate of Alfred Stieglitz and Georgia O'Keeffe is kept in the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library in New Haven ( Connecticut ).


  • 2011: Stieglitz, Steichen, beach. Exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City November 10, 2010 to April 10, 2011
  • 2012: New York Photography. From Stieglitz to Man Ray. Exhibition at the Bucerius Kunst Forum, Hamburg, from 17 May to September 2, 2012