Alfred Stieglitz - PHOTOGRAPHS New York Friday, October 8, 2010 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    From Georgia O'Keeffe; to Doris Bry; to Laurence Miller Gallery, New York

  • Catalogue Essay

    The only other known example of this image is in the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
    Following his travels around Europe at the end of the 19th-century, and his
    subsequent befriending of a number of leading figures in the European
    photographic scene, Alfred Stieglitz returned to New York and quickly
    cemented his reputation as one of the pioneering forces in the promotion
    of photography in the United States. As a means of encouraging interest
    in photographic discourse, Stieglitz initiated the publications Camera
    Notes, which ran for four years starting in 1897, and later, Camera Work,
    which ran for 14 years, starting in 1903. Additionally, Stieglitz formed the
    organization Camera Club of New York, followed by the Photo-Secession,
    both of which provided a strong platform that encouraged the expansion of
    the photographic dialogue throughout the first decades of the 20th century.
    Over the course of that period, Stieglitz advocated the constant engagement
    with the fine arts, especially European Modernism as championed by
    Henri Matisse and Paul Cézanne, a gesture that ultimately resulted in his
    relinquishing of his former Pictorialist style and his embracing of a more
    Formalist aesthetic.
    Throughout the 1920s, Stieglitz came to reconcile the subjectivity of
    Pictorialism with the objectivity of photography and created the series
    of clouds known as Equivalents, as exemplified by the present lot. Of
    the series, Stieglitz has noted, “I have a vision of life, and I try to find
    equivalents for it.” His images, as such, were both representational and
    abstract, simultaneously relishing in a dual reading that was premised on
    co-existence. Reflecting the spectrum of emotions—from dramatic and
    overwrought to simple and subdued—the images of the clouds varied
    greatly. Moreover, many are devoid of any references to location, period,
    a meteorological event or even a horizon line that would indicate a correct
    reading of the image’s orientation, all of which condone viewers to read the
    photographs as abstractions disconnected from their traditional associations
    (especially in relation to landscape) but without losing their distinct nature
    as clouds. As such they are less natural celestial formations, as much as
    human-controlled abstractions, equivalent to “something already taking form
    within me,” as Stieglitz stated.




Gelatin silver print.
3 5/8 x 4 5/8 in. (9.2 x 11.7 cm).

$20,000 - 30,000 

Sold for $30,000


8 October 2010
New York