ALFRED STIEGLITZ - AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED 12/18/1933 - HFSID 347987
Sale Price $4,675.00
Signed autograph letter to a biographer concerning photographic plates missing from his collection
Autograph Letter signed: "Alfred Stieglitz", 2 pages, 8½x11, front and verso (hinged to show both sides). New York City, 1933 December 18.To his friend (and author) Grace E. Titus, who was working a book about the innovative photographer.In full, as written: "Every number of Camera Work was published complete when issued. The way it happens that Plates are missing is that frequently Camera Work came out of the Bindery with Plates to be inserted by me personally after binding. Some years ago many of the Insets were either destroyed or mislaid. Hence the impossibility of completing many issues at present I know of no way of acquiring missing plates except in keeping one's eyes open for numbers of Camera Work as they may appear in the market Absolutely complete sets of Camera Work are very, very rare & are priceless. No I have no reproductions either There are none The Plates in Camera Work for the major part are photo gravures made directly from original negatives & were made under my direction as were the prints. -So from a certain point of view many of the Plates might be looked upon as a species of originals". Handwritten postscript: "Thanks for check your second installment will go to you within a few days". Lightly creased with folds, horizontal fold touches the "S" in Steiglitz. Ink smudged at 1 word on front page. Fine condition. Accompanied by original envelope, 9x3¾, windowed on verso of framed display. 2-cent imprinted postage with 1-cent Benjamin Franklin stamp affixed, postmarked Grand Central Annex, N.Y., 1934 January 9. Addressed by Stieglitz to: "Grace E. Titus, 213 E. Clay St, Lancaster, Pa." Lightly creased. Ink smudged at one word. Soiled and stained. Innovative American photographer, editor and proponent of the avant-garde, Alfred Steiglitz (1864-1946) wrote and signed this letter just two weeks before his 70th birthday (January 1, 1933). At this time, Stieglitz' friend and author Dorothy Norman was writing a book to celebrate his genius. America and Alfred Stieglitz, A Collective Portrait was finally published that December. Coinciding with the book's release, Stieglitz held an exhibition of new photography as well as new prints from old negatives he had uncovered from attic storage. He had also stored in his attic a great many past issues ofhis fine arts magazine, Camera Work (1903-1917). Most of these issues were incomplete sets, depleted of the photographic plates mentioned in this letter, which he would gradually sell or give away to grateful guests. As the plates were photogravures (a process of printing from an etched metal plate) from the original negatives, their value had increased to the equivalence of an original print. Consequently, during his own lifetime, these historically important plates were becoming quite rare and, in some cases, possibly "priceless". Stieglitz, who is known as "the father of American photography", fought for recognition of photography as a major art form. A technical master with the camera, he revolutionized photography, changing it from a mere recorder of images into a forceful new medium in the creative arts. As an innovative leader in this burgeoning art, Stieglitz eventually gravitated to the promotion of photography on a large scale. Camera Work chronicled his ascent from the established norms of photography and art to the producer of, and impassioned advocate for, experimentation in all the arts. He was the first photographer to have a major museum (New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art) stage an exhibit of his work. In 1924, Stieglitz married important modernist painter Georgia O'Keeffe, who was also the subject of many of his photos. Two items. Framed in the Gallery of History style: 36½x23.
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