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Alfred Stieglitz Autographs, Memorabilia & Collectibles

Born: January 01, 1864 in Hoboken, New Jersey
Died: July 13, 1946 in New York City, New York
Biography | show moreshow less
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 of his 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.
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