National Gallery of Art - EXHIBITIONS

Modern Art and America: Alfred Stieglitz and His New York Galleries


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Introduction | 291 Gallery | Anderson Galleries and Intimate Gallery | An American Place

Stieglitz, Self-Portrait Celebrated for his photographs, Alfred Stieglitz (1864-1946) was one of the most influential figures in early twentieth-century art. In his New York City galleries--the Little Galleries of the Photo-Secession, known as 291 from its address on Fifth Avenue; the Intimate Gallery; and An American Place--he gathered around him some of the most gifted artists, photographers, and critics of his time. The modern European and American art he presented there challenged his audience to consider new ideas about painting, sculpture, and photography. Modern Art and America: Alfred Stieglitz and His New York Galleries brings together for the first time in more than fifty years a representative collection of the exact works that Stieglitz exhibited in an effort to reveal more clearly the nature of his contribution to American art.

Stieglitz, 291Born in Hoboken, New Jersey, in 1864, to German immigrants, Stieglitz traveled to Berlin in 1881 to study engineering. While there he became fascinated with photography and on his return to the United States in 1890 became a leader among those who sought to prove that photography was capable of artistic expression. In 1902 he founded the Photo-Secession, a group dedicated to the cause of artistic photography, and in 1903 he began to publish Camera Work, an elegantly designed journal that included cogent discussion of photography and the other arts. In 1905, at the urging of his young protégé, the photographer and painter Edward Steichen, he opened the Little Galleries of the Photo-Secession at 291 Fifth Avenue so that the group would have a place to exhibit. Because Stieglitz and Steichen believed that photography needed to be seen in relation to other arts, 291 from its inception was conceived as an exhibition space not only for photography but also for painting, sculpture, and drawings.

Introduction | 291 Gallery | Anderson Galleries and Intimate Gallery | An American Place