Some Things Worth Looking Into: Alfred Stieglitz's Camera Workand American Pictorial PhotographyTuesday April 1, 2003 - Sunday May 25, 2003
Pictorialism often is credited as the movement which caused the American public to accept photography as a fine art. Once established, Pictorialism remained the most respected form of art photography for a 20- to 30-year period centered on the year 1900. While variously defined by artists and writers, a Pictorialist photograph--be it a portrait, landscape, or genre scene--generally conveys an emotion or reveals an idea more than it illustrates visual facts.
The photographer, critic, editor, and gallery owner Alfred Stieglitz spearheaded the Pictorialist movement, advancing the careers of such artists as George Seeley, Eugene Frank, Robert DeMachy, and Herbert French. Stieglitz showed their work at his gallery "291" in New York City and published their photographs in his magazineCamera Work.
Each issue of Camera Work contained a portfolio of six photogravures hand-printed on fine Japanese paper, as well as quality reproductions printed by mechanical means. The photogravures were tipped into the magazine and were of such high quality that they rivaled the original photographic prints. In addition to providing a forum for the presentation and discussion of Pictorialist photographs, Camera Work offered avante-garde poetry and commentary on the art world.
This exhibition was organized by Rachel Schuldenfrei '03