A fascinating biography of a revolutionary American artist ripe for rediscovery as a photographer and champion of other artists
Alfred Stieglitz (1864–1946) was an enormously influential artist and nurturer of artists even though his accomplishments are often overshadowed by his role as Georgia O’Keeffe’s husband. This new book from celebrated biographer Phyllis Rose reconsiders Stieglitz as a revolutionary force in the history of American art.
Born in New Jersey, Stieglitz at age eighteen went to study in Germany, where his father, a wool merchant and painter, insisted he would get a proper education. After returning to America, he became one of the first American photographers to achieve international fame. By the time he was sixty, he gave up photography and devoted himself to selling and promoting art. His first gallery, 291, was the first American gallery to show works by Picasso, Rodin, Matisse, and other great European modernists. His galleries were not dealerships so much as open universities, where he introduced European modern art to Americans and nurtured an appreciation of American art among American artists.
About the Author
Phyllis Rose is a literary critic and biographer. Her books include the acclaimed biography of Virginia Woolf, Woman of Letters, and her classic Parallel Lives: Five Victorian Marriages.
“Rose is consistently generous, knowledgeable . . .”—Christine Smallwood, New Yorker
"A well-balanced portrait of famed photographer Stieglitz....Rose starts with a look at his early life and career, tracing his journey from student to photographer to gallery owner and promoter, and, in the telling, sets both life and work in the context of the times. There is no lack of material by and about Stieglitz, and Rose synthesizes it all into this concise profile to offer an insightful look at a great American artist.”—Booklist
“There is no pure white or black in photography: a great photograph captures the nuances of light and shadow that underlie perception. That is exactly what Phyllis Rose's biography of Alfred Stieglitz does. And no biographer has a sharper sense of focus for the competing narratives that underlie a marriage. This double portrait of Stieglitz and O'Keeffe is the work of a master.”—Judith Thurman, author of Secrets of the Flesh: A Life of Colette and Isak Dinesen: The Life of a Storyteller