Adams and Steiglitz: A Friendship

Discussion in 'Book, Magazine, Gallery Reviews, Shows & Contests' started by James Bleifus, Feb 6, 2005.

  1. James Bleifus

    James Bleifus Member

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    I know there are a number of Ansel Adams fans on the list so I thought I'd mention the Adams/Stieglitz article in the January issue of "Art in America." The article focuses both on the friendship of Stieglitz and Adams and how Stieglitz influenced Adams. A great article. Also in the same issue is an article on Sally Mann.

    Cheers,

    James
     
  2. Jeremy

    Jeremy Member

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    Thanks James! I think my girlfriend gets this magazine so I'll steal it from her :wink:
     
  3. James Bleifus

    James Bleifus Member

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    Jeremy, She let's you sell her cameras and steal her magazines? You've got it made!

    Cheers,

    James
     
  4. Jim Chinn

    Jim Chinn Member

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    I subscribe and recently read the article. Well worth a read for anyone interested in the history of the medium and how big an influence Stieglitz was in Adams early career.
     
  5. Alex Hawley

    Alex Hawley Member

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    I haven't read the article, but IMO, Steiglitz was singularly important in making photography the "respectable" art form that it is. Not so much because of his own photography, which was great, but for his promotion of it. Not only was Steiglitz a great photographer in his own right, but he had the financial resources and social connections to get the NYC Society crowd into it. Without Steiglitz, Adams, Weston, Baer, all of them would most likely not have been known outside their regional area. But Steiglitz brought them to New York, made the photographers and work known and, most importantly, got them accepted by one of the most important art markets in the world.

    So I'm sure Adams was most grateful for what Steiglitz did for him and many others.
     
  6. cjarvis

    cjarvis Member

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    I believe this country's top authority on Stieglitz, Sarah Greenough (of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC), has just written what should be the defnitive Stieglitz biography. Get the skinny for yourself.
     
  7. James Bleifus

    James Bleifus Member

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    Are you speaking of Modern Art and America : Alfred Stieglitz and His New York Galleries ? I have it waiting in my Amazon queue but haven't ordered it yet. I agree with Alex and Stieglitz's importance and have recently began studying up on Stieglitz (which made the timing of the article even more welcome). Right now I'm reading Katherine Hoffman's Stieglitz: A Beginning Light. I won't know what I think of it until I finish though so far it's a good read.

    Cheers,

    James
     
  8. SchwinnParamount

    SchwinnParamount Subscriber

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    I just finished "Steiglitz, A Memoir/Biography" by Sue Davidson Lowe, Stieglitz's niece. She had access to not only the man personally... having spent many summers with him at Lake George but all of his personal correspondence as well. Interestingly, she spent 1 paragraph on his association with Adams and 100 or more on Paul Strand. I know from reading AA's book of letters that Steiglitz did not 'bring him to New York'. Edward Weston actually 'sent' him by strongly encouraging him to go see the master. Steiglitz loved AA's work of course but it was a couple of years between first seeing his prints before finally giving him a show at An American Place... and he shared the walls with painter William Einstein. According to Ms Lowe, Elliot Porter was Steiglitz' favorite photographer by a long way

    The book is not a great read by the way. It is filled with first hand information but spends as much time illuminating A.S.'s familial relationships as it does his relationship to the art world. It was worth buying and reading though.
     
  9. Alex Hawley

    Alex Hawley Member

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    Right. No doubt. But if Steiglitz was not there for Adams to see, nor Steiglitz not there to launch Adam's work into New York, albeit however long it took, where would Adams be? Would Weston have become Weston without the New York audience? I highly doubt it. During most of the 20th century, maybe even now, I believe even Paris and London followed New York's lead in the Arts to one extent or another.

    Even though other venues have opened up, I still believe the New York City venue is THE most important one for an artist to be accepted by. That is, unless you want to play the romantic role of the great "Starving Artist" forever.

    You gotta remember - Stieglitz sold a Georgia O'Keefe painting for $25,000 in 1920-something. That was a huge sum of money in those days. Only the very rich could afford that, and they "ain't a buyin' at the corner market". They bought from Steiglitz though.
     
  10. James Bleifus

    James Bleifus Member

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    One of the points that I found interesting in the article is that Adams made a real effort to stay in contact with Stieglitz, not vice versa, whereas, until their falling out, Strand and Stieglitz seemed to be tight friends. That's different than I would have expected but, of course, I came of age while everyone was making the sojourn to see Adams. So I guess it makes sense that Strand would get more mention in the book.

    Cheers,

    James
     
  11. SchwinnParamount

    SchwinnParamount Subscriber

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    Right you are! A friend of mine is a well regarded ceramics artist in Seattle. She gets shows here all the time and made on the same wall as Marsden Hartley at the Tacoma Art Museum this month... but she's nobody in New York. She herself said it happens in New York and Paris... and maybe Los Angeles to some extent. But not Seattle