Essay on The Modernist Art Movement Of Alfred Stieglitz

Essay on The Modernist Art Movement Of Alfred Stieglitz

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The Modernist art movement had tremendous historical influences of on the works of Alfred Stieglitz. The change from pictorialism to modernism began early in his career, the relationships he developed with like-minded artists inspired creativity and enabled Stieglitz to open the eyes of ordinary Americans to the incredible wealth of art being created during the early 20th Century. He gave exposure and opportunities to unknown artists and he made his passion for photography as an art form, in its own right, a reality. Alfred Stieglitz has been described as the father of modernist photography. There was an art revolution happening in Europe in the early 1900’s, a revolt against the old traditions of art. He wanted to bring these Avant guard works to America whilst also promoting photography as an art medium.
Alfred Stieglitz, Pictorialism to Modernism.
In Alfred Stieglitz’s early career, he spent many years travelling Europe, his images were taken in the pictorialist style, photographing landscapes, lake scenes, washerwomen and village folk. He entered into a competition in the Amateur Photographer 's Photographic Holiday Work Competition, appearing in the November 1887 issue. The photograph he entered is of a group of children laughing, it is a spontaneous, cheerful and playful image framed by the arches in the architecture; the scene is brightly lit and has strong contrasting tones. The competition was judged by Dr Peter Henry Emerson. Emerson, an American living in England was longing for a truer image than the borrowed aesthetics of academic paintings. He was looking for a more faithful rendering of nature and un-doctored photography was all that was needed. Emerson had seen this in Stieglitz’s photography and so e...


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...allery at 291 Fifth Avenue showed many European pioneers and championed American experimentalists”. (Arnason 1965, in Hoffman, 2004: 262)
Stieglitz supported artists such as Marsden Hartley who painted in the style of impressionism and cubism. In a book of Letters written by Marsden and Stieglitz, Voorhies highlights the importance of 291 to Hartley, to his development and the promotion of his art and the opportunity to be introduced to other European moderns such as Matisse and Picasso. (Hartley, Stieglitz and Voorhies, 2002)
Stieglitz’s final contribution to the moderns came after his death when O’Keefe spent three years carefully dispersing his art which comprised of paintings, sculptures, letters and photography, including his nude photographs of her. It is a lasting legacy with which we can all share in his passion and dedication and take influence from.

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