Alfred Stieglitz - Photographs New York Thursday, April 8, 2021 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    The artist to Dorothy Norman, New York
    Ex Libris, New York
    Private Collection, New York

  • Literature

    Greenough, Alfred Stieglitz: The Key Set (Volume Two), no. 1272

  • Catalogue Essay

    In Alfred Stieglitz: The Key Set, Sarah Greenough locates only one other print of this image, in the collection of the Museum of New Mexico, Museum of Fine Arts, Santa Fe.

    This photograph belongs to Stieglitz’s series of sky studies that he began in the early 1920s, intended as representations of the photographer’s emotions and philosophy, that he called Equivalents. Making a successful photograph of the sky had long posed a challenge for photographers since the medium’s inception. By the 1920s, technology had progressed to the extent that photographs of clouds were possible, although difficult. Stieglitz began his series of Equivalents as a technical and aesthetic challenge. He wrote, ‘I wanted to photograph clouds to find out what I had learned in 40 years about photography. Through clouds to put down my philosophy of life – to show that my photographs were not due to subject matter – not to special trees, or faces, or interiors, to special privileges – clouds were there for everyone – no tax as yet on them – free’ (‘How I Came to Photograph Clouds,' The Amateur Photographer & Photography, 1923, Vol. 56, No. 1819, p. 255)

    The resulting images were central to Stieglitz’s oeuvre and represent a significant conceptual shift in the photography of the 20th century in that their depiction of the external world relates to an internal or personal truth. In 1923, after exhibiting 10 cloud photographs, Stieglitz wrote to poet Hart Crane, ‘Several people feel I have photographed God. May be.’



Gelatin silver print, flush-mounted, mounted again.
4 3/4 x 3 3/4 in. (12.1 x 9.5 cm)

$30,000 - 40,000 

Contact Specialist

Sarah Krueger
Head of Department, Photographs

Vanessa Hallett
Worldwide Head of Photographs and Deputy Chairman, Americas



New York Auction 8 April 2021