STIEGLITZ Alfred
( 1864-1946). Born in Hoboken, New Jersey. Intending to become an engineer, Stieglitz had enrolled at the Berlin Polytechnic in 1881, but there discovered photography to be his vocation. He was awarded a first prize at an international exhibition in 1887. He returned to the U.S. in 1891 and soon after began working for the recognition of his medium as an art. He insisted that photography, no less than painting, must be exacting as to design, composition and values, even though these should be kept pertinent to its own purposes. In collaboration with various associates (chiefly Edward Steichen), he founded, in 1902, 'Photo-Secession', in an attic loft at 291 Fifth Avenue, New York City. The next year (and until 1917) he issued his quarterly Camera Work, filling it with discussions on art by such writers as Bernard Shaw, Maeterlinck, H. G. Wells, Galsworthy and Gertrude Stein. Starting in 1907 Stieglitz flung himself with still greater vehemence into another cause, adding to the exhibition of photography examples of modern graphic and plastic art. Drawings by Rodin, which he presented in 1908, produced a shudder among the New York public, and a Matisse show (the artist's American première), which followed, prompted charges of imbecility. Thereafter, despite its name, Camera Work increasingly devoted its pages to plastic art as well as photographic. And, as a further sign of this change, the gallery was called '291', after its address on Fifth Avenue. Despite the splutters of the conventional, Stieglitz inaugurated the following American 'firsts': Toulouse-Lautrec lithographs ( 1909), Matisse drawings ( 1910) and sculpture ( 1912), Henri Rousseau ( 1910), Cézanne watercolours ( 1911), Picasso ( 1911). Following the 1913 Armory Show in New York, he also presented Picabia ( 1913), Brancusi ( 1914). Braque ( 1914), African Negro Sculpture ( 1914), Manolo, and others. Aided by Agnes Ernst Meyer he founded in 1916 another periodical, 291, enlisting as colleagues Marius de Zayas, Picabia, and Marcel Duchamp, and discharging through its pages a series of blasts on 'antipainting', which almost simultaneously had a counterpart in the Dada movement in Zurich. Stieglitz did not neglect the American moderns then emerging. His shows included John Marin, Alfred Maurer, Hartley, Max Weber, MacDonaldWright, Walkowitz, and later, from 1925 to 1929, Dove, Strand, Bluemner, Peggy Bacon, Demuth, his own wife Georgia O'Keeffe and the sculptor Lachaise. Finally, installed from 1930 to 1946 at An American Place, 509 Madison Avenue, he continued his efforts there. Regularly he showed his artists, notably Marin, whose name he fully established by thirty-seven years of almost uninterrupted exhibiting. This roll call, both European and American, demonstrates the nature of Stieglitz's fight for modern an, but it hardly indicates the intelligence, pugnacity and alertness required to subdue a public and press consistently hostile. The issue long remained unsettled. His resources were slight, his proceeds were often barely sufficient to support his artists and meet minimal expenses. Stieglitz could often manage only because of disinterested and voluntary outside support. Yet his intention never wavered. He might well be termed the first campaigner for modern art in the United States.  
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