DescriptionALFRED STIEGLITZ (American, 1864-1946)
The Steerage, 1907
Photogravure on vellum, printed 1915
12-5/8 x 10-1/4 inches (32.1 x 26.0 cm)
PROPERTY FROM THE KING COLLECTION, TEXAS
By descent through the family of the above, circa 1959-2006;
Private collection, New York;
Babcock Galleries, New York;
Acquired by the present owner from the above, October 2010.
El Paso Museum of Art, El Paso, Texas, "Modern American Painting 1907-1936: The Maria and Barry King Collection," Sept. 8, 2013-January 5, 2014, no. 1.
D. Bry, Alfred Stieglitz: Photographer, Boston, Massachusetts, 1965, n.p., pl. 8, illustrated;
J. Green, ed., Camera Work: A Critical Anthology, New York, 1973, p. 100;
M.A. Sandweiss, Masterworks of American Photography: The Amon Carter Museum Collection, Birmingham, Alabama, 1982, n.p., pl. 74, illustrated;
S. Greenough & J. Hamilton, Alfred Stieglitz: Photographs and Writings, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1983, n.p., pl. 18, illustrated;
W.S. Johnson et al., Photography from 1893 to Today: George Eastman House, Rochester, New York, 1999, p. 393;
K.F. Davis, An American Century of Photography: From Dry-Plate to Digital, The Hallmark Photographic Collection, New York, 1999, p. 71;
B. Haskell, The American Century: Art and Culture 1900-1950, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 1999, p. 53;
P.S. Cable, Modern American Painting 1907-1936: The Maria and Barry King Collection, exhibition catalogue, El Paso Museum of Art, El Paso, Texas, 2013, pp. 26-27, no. 1, illustrated.
Alfred Stieglitz's iconic photogravure The Steerage, depicting lower-class workers on the deck of a steamer, simultaneously documents a rich cultural moment and stands as one of the first Modernist American photographs.
The present work was originally purchased by Emile Zoler, a painter, who although not personally successful was a devoted Stieglitz acolyte and volunteer at his legendary gallery, 291. Zoler had been introduced to Stieglitz by Marsden Hartley in 1909. Due to popular demand for this photograph, originally taken in 1907, it was reproduced on a subscription basis in a dual issue of 291 in February 1916, edited by Stieglitz, Paul Havilland and Marius De Zayas. In this issue, The Steerage was published as a limited edition of one hundred on both Japanese vellum and tissue. Apparently, few issues were actually subscribed to, and subsequently Stieglitz destroyed the remaining unsold lots. It is unknown how many copies of this edition have actually survived to the present day.
In retrospect, Stieglitz recognized this work to be the most important photograph of his career.
Overall paper size of 18-3/8 x 12-3/4 inches; two linear hairline impressions in top and bottom margin from the plate. Unmounted, cornered, matted, framed, and glazed in museum quality Optium to an overall size of 26-1/4 x 21-1/2 inches. For further information please contact a member of the department.
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