Stieglitz: A Beginning Light

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9780300102390: Stieglitz: A Beginning Light
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This beautifully written book weaves together biographical, historical, and artistic strands to present a colorful tapestry of the photographer Alfred Stieglitz’s (1864–1946) early life and work. Generously illustrated, the volume includes photographs Stieglitz took in Europe (some rarely seen), his first works in the United States, and Katherine Hoffman’s new photographs of important sites in young Stieglitz’s life. The book is the first to look closely at the photographer’s formative years and photographic works before 1917.

Although Stieglitz was born in New Jersey, his ancestry lay in Germany, where he spent some of his high school and university years. Stieglitz: A Beginning Light traces the lasting influences of European culture on his work, as well as the impact of American democratic traditions. The book also recounts his tireless and often lonely efforts as a young photographer, editor, writer, and gallery director to gain recognition for the Modernist cause and for photography as a fine art.

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About the Author:

Katherine Hoffman is chairperson and professor, Fine Arts Department, St. Anselm College. She is the author of five previous books, including two on Georgia O’Keeffe.

From Publishers Weekly:

Alfred Stieglitz (1864-1946), the influential photographer who worked to promote modern art in America-and to make sure that photography was included among its genres-was one of the most important figures in American artistic life during the first part of the 20th century. In her thoughtful, well-researched book, Hoffman (An Enduring Spirit: The Art of Georgia O'Keeffe) follows Stieglitz through his early career, first in Europe, where he studied as a young man, and then in America, where he made many of his most famous photographs and founded the vehicles through which he advanced his causes: the Photo-Secession, an association of photographers devoted to dignifying their profession; Camera Work, a quarterly periodical that promoted modern art and photography through text and visual images; and 291, the gallery where he showed the works of avant-garde artists. Hoffman discuses the significance of these ventures and analyzes many of Stieglitz's photographs, placing them in the context of his personal relationships, the places he traveled and his love of music, and pointing out the influences of Symbolism and Synthetism. She ends her account in 1917, the year that saw the closing of the 291 gallery, the final issue of Camera Work and Stieglitz's first photographs of Georgia O'Keeffe. Hoffman's text is rather dry, but it is enlivened by Stieglitz's stunning photographs. Included are appendices with explanations of the photographic processes Stiegliz used, a listing of the contents of the issues of Camera Work, and the exhibition schedule of the 291 gallery.
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