Photocessation - Steichen and Stieglitz
Photocessation - Steichen and Stieglitz ARHI 3530
Popular in Art History 3530 - Modern Photography
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This 5 page Study Guide was uploaded by Dominique N. on Wednesday June 22, 2016. The Study Guide belongs to ARHI 3530 at University of Georgia taught by Janice Simon in Summer 2016. Since its upload, it has received 20 views. For similar materials see Art History 3530 - Modern Photography in Art History at University of Georgia.
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Date Created: 06/22/16
ARHI 3530 – Modernist Photography • Photocessation – cessation from old way of photography (?) • Sunflower – symbolic of art nouveau • Graflex camera • Eduard Steichen (1879-1973) o Born in Luxemburg and settle in Michigan and then Milwaukee o Begins work in lithography (drawing like quality to it) o October 1891, has his first public exhibition for photography and is feature in second Philadelphia Salon (Day, Kasebier, White, etc.) o Steichen Self Portrait 1901 § Unusual photographer self portrait § What technique is he probably using? Altered with Gum Bichromate • Looks very painted in dark areas § Looks as if he’s holding a paintbrush and palette § Very baroque – essence of Rembrandt (at the turn of the century there was a big Rembrandt revival) § “his photography is painting with light” • as if he’s bringing out a darkness o In 1900 Steichen goes to Paris and takes up the art theme of the female nude § Take on an importance for the critics • Notes them as quite innovative § Encourages Day to exhibit at the Royal School in England § The brotherhood of the Linked Ring (Like Fred Holland Day) • Read “A visit to Steichen’s Studio” o Steichen Little Round Mirror 1901 § Gum bichromate added to darken things § Mirror is globe-like (knowledge and transformation) • There’s is nothing reflected, it’s just light § Her shadow mimics her form and it seems like a double image § Arm is lost in the dark shadow and adds to imitate it § Flowers possibly on the wall (left top white spots) • She is like a flower coming to fruition in front of the globe § Asian critic says his nudes are not as influential as his portraits • Mysticism and beauty is what Steichen does • Non-moral…almost sexless • Drowned in darkness o Nude with Vase 1902 § Blocks out the face and it gets lost in the strokes § Vase has an orb-like quality § Henri Bergson Elan Vitale • Curled up like she is in a womb (she has life coming out of her) • Vase looks like a skull/fetus (life coming out/introduced) • Cycle of life and death and evolving to a higher self-it’s portrayed as the swirling strokes • The world is in a constant state of flux and becoming § Shares ideas with symbolist art • Gustav Klimt Danae 1907-1908 o More sexual than Steichen’s o Steichen Young Tycoon (Self Portrait) in Paris 1900 § Showing himself as a society guy § The bottom is so dark, you focus on his face and top clothing § What has he added? Uses gum bichromate to add to the background • Softness • Globes in the back might be light o Self Portrait Milwaukee, 1898 Platinum print § Just beginning to be a photographer when this picture was taken § Face is very soft and dark § Soft focus • arm nearly blends into the background • high contrast of light and dark § in terms of composition, we can compare to Day’s African American Girl with the Big White Collar • subject (him) pushed to the side • high contrast of light and dark § he’s by the little image (frame) and it’s so small it hints to the idea of a picture (photograph) § what is he carrying? Some kind of tool that suggests his photography (may be his light meter) § has a flat Japanese look to it § his form is elongated and he is not afraid to crop off the top of his head § puts a little, thin, black frame around it (frame within a frame) § light on the shoe, shirt and frame o Steichen Self Portrait 1901 § Unusual photographer self portrait § What technique is he probably using? Altered with Gum Bichromate • Looks very painted in dark areas § Looks as if he’s holding a paintbrush and palette § Very baroque – essence of Rembrandt (at the turn of the century there was a big Rembrandt revival) § “his photography is painting with light” • as if he’s bringing out a darkness o Steichen Solitude—Fred Holland Day, Paris 1901 § The artist hat § Slouching (idea of relaxation) – not following standards of society § Day’s signature pearl ring (glistens with light – Dandy) § Coat – looks as if he is appearing out of this black mass § Gives us the hand (important to the artist) § Blocking out an eye in darkness • The eye that sees the natural world and the inner eye that saw beyond the surface/emotion § Signature – this is a portrait, but an art portrait § Turning a figure into a kind of celebrity § Large silhouetted figure in this flat space o Great portraitist (photographs fellow artists, photographer, businessmen, entrepreneurs, etc.) o Steichen Rodin—The Thinker 1902 § Making reference to Rodin’s sculpture The Thinker from Gates of Hell (top of the gates of hell as a symbol of Dante the poet § Widely exhibited and reproduced in Camera Work § Contrast between light and dark § Victor Hugo (bright figure in the back) • Great French writer • So Rodin (bottom left) juxtaposed the artist and the writer • Pose is very heroic; heroism also presented contemplatively in the thinker • The artist and his creations § The farther the figure goes back, the larger they get (opposite of normal perception) § Pictorialist interest/modernist interest in flattening the space § Composition is very circular (orb-like perhaps) § The light is touching their heads (their place of thought) • Idea of the mind, imagination, contemplation § Sadakichi Hartmann - The masterpiece of the collection is the Rodin. It cannot be improved upon. It is a portrait of a man and his art. It is a whole man’s life simplified into a silhouette (but a good one). This shows that artistic photography should be taken as serious as other art. o Steichen Photographs of Rodin’s Balzac Paris 1908 § Of Rodin’s sculpture of another prominent writer (Balzac – wrote about the common people) § In robe he would wear during writing process § Sculpture was rejected, just like they rejected the Gates of Hell by the Decorative Arts Museum in Paris § Towards the Light, Midnight & The Open Sky Balzac Paris • Light on the body looks heavenly • Part of the Avant Garde movement (revolutionary photocessation photography – not to be afraid to photograph at night (nocturnes) [gives off a soft evocative essence) or in different weather conditions) • Captured Balzac as if he looks like Christ walking on water • Very soft focus w/ contrasts of light and dark • Theatricality aspect to it because of the darks, lights, and shadow contrasts. So the light looks almost as if it is a spotlight. • Uses the landscape to convey feeling between the creative forces of nature o Steichen Maurice Maeterlinck Paris 1901 § Maurice Maeterlinck – theater; believed in the role of the spectator filling in the play with their imagination; use of the suggestion of the abstraction; figure that talked about the supernatural and the destiny of death and nature’s impenetrable mystery; very much a symbolist playwright; after 1900, his plays/writings emphasized his faith in the spiritual life of all things; Kandinsky said Maeterlinck transformed the outer gloom to an inner resonance/feeling § Fred Holland Day Maurice Maeterlinck (compare) • Gives us full figure and gives us a giant globe • Mostly in darkness • Idea of Orpheus, music, ideas and music together • Idea of artist as visionary § Has light all/mostly on his head • Artist as sacred (Art as new religion) • Connected with a kind of spirituality • Then the light on his hands alludes to transfer from mind (thought) to hands (action/work) § Come upon him as he is working and what you would expect a playwright to be doing...writing § Gaze is looking slightly up and beyond as if he’s seeking inspirations; waiting for divine imagination to come through him § Top left corner – intentional light (supernatural, divine, inspirational light) • Seems as if he’s coming out of darkness § Collar frames his head and plays off the light of the hands • Alfred Stieglitz (1864-1946) o German descent and Jewish heritage o Born in Hoboken, NJ then studies in berlin and this is where he takes up photography; 1890s, returns to New York and establishes art as a means of art, not as documentation or a scientific means o Active member of forming the Camera Notes Magazine (1896-1903) § October 1897 – Fred Holland Day publishes something o Paula, Berlin 1889 § His early work (pictorialist) he is much more interested in geometry • Rarely uses gum bichromate, yet he alters the negatives (crops and burns things) • Taught early on to be aware of the history of art and use it as models for his photography § Johannes Vermeer The Letter 1660s • Artist rediscovered in the 1880s • Vermeer was famous for his images of a single woman reading a letter in a room next to a window with a drapery § Compare to Steichen • The use of lighting illuminating the subject; uses blinds to create a bar-like essence (imprisoning the figure/trapping) o Bird cage in the background (reaffirms imprisonment aspect) • Sharp contrast of light and dark, yet we can see every element of the photograph rather than abstract blobs of light and dark • Has more depth than Steichen and Stieglitz doesn’t suggest what’s in the back like we do in Steichen’s • Same light on head giving a sense of inspiration § Hearts (3) and pictures on wall allude to love • Pictures on the wall are Stieglitz and woman • Storm picture = stormy love affair? th o The Little Galleries of the Photosecession on 5 Avenue and closed in 1917 § Geometrical shapes of the gallery § Stieglitz thinks recognizing the subject matter is less important than picking up the forms/geometry of the picture § Changes gallery name to “291” • Becomes an emblem of modernism in America and gathering space and so many • After it gets called 291, he starts exhibiting more than photographs • Adds watercolors by Cézanne and drawings and Nudes by Rodin and Matisse’s images • Later shows Picasso and Brock with African art • Stieglitz or Strand Exterior 291 Fifth Ave. § Stieglitz Little Galleries of the Photosecession 1905-06 Kasebier Portrait of Stieglitz c 1903 § Steichen Photo Secession Poster 1902 • Grav Flex camera (handheld and portable) • Taken at night • Makes it look like a work of art § Gave up being editor of Camera Notes and the starts his own magazine (Camera Work) • Yellowish cover • Sadakichi Hartmann • Becomes official publication of The Little Galleries
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