Picture of author.

Alfred Stieglitz (1864–1946)

Autor(a) de Camera Work: The Complete Illustrations 1903-1917

30+ Works 1,276 Membros 6 Reviews

About the Author

Includes the name: ALFRED STEIGLITZ

Image credit: Photo by Carl Van Vechten, Apr. 17, 1935 (Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, Carl Van Vechten Collection, Reproduction Number: LC-USZ62-103681)

Obras de Alfred Stieglitz

Alfred Stieglitz: Photographs and Writings (1982) 150 cópias, 2 resenhas
Georgia O'Keeffe, a portrait (1978) 126 cópias, 1 resenha
Alfred Stieglitz (1983) 6 cópias

Associated Works


Conhecimento Comum

Data de nascimento
Data de falecimento
Local de enterro
Lake George, New York
Local de nascimento
Hoboken, New Jersey, USA
Local de falecimento
New York, New York, USA
Berlin Institute of Technology
gallery owner
O'Keeffe, Georgia (wife)
Steichen, Edward (colleague)
Camera Club of New York



For the last six months, I've been reading this 800 page behemoth of a book that collects the letters of O'Keeffe and Stieglitz from the beginning of their relationship in 1915 until 1933. The book contains about 650 of the more than 5000 letters the couple wrote to each other. Why so many letters? Well, to write letters, you must be apart and this couple spent lots of time apart. This was both because of where their art took them and because their relationship, though passionate, was not always the most healthy.

I've enjoyed O'Keeffe's art, but I knew basically nothing about Stieglitz or their relationship until I started this book. The two were decades apart in age when they met and they quickly developed a romantic and, I guess you would say spiritual, connection through writing letters to each other. These letters encompass the first years of their relationship, their happy years together, a stretch when their relationship begins to fall apart, and how they (sort of) stitched it back together.

In the first section of letters, O'Keeffe writes artistically - almost in an abstract way and even the script and page breaks and symbols she uses are interesting and I'd say indicative of her personality (pictures of some of the letters are included). Stieglitz is a more traditional writer and writes lyrically and very descriptively. This first section spans 1915-1918 and is over 300 pages (large, oversized pages with small type) of letters. During this time period, O'Keeffe and Stieglitz are getting to know each other. They had met briefly in New York, and then O'Keeffe has been teaching in Virginia and Texas. They have a large age difference - she is still in her twenties, and he is in his fifties, married and with an almost adult child. Her letters are impressionistic and emotional, his are more matter of fact and traditional. However as the letters progress, their styles seem to meet in the middle. Hers generally concern her art, her health (which was not good), and her relationships with fellow teachers/people in her community. His revolve around his art gallery, his failing marriage, and his cultural experiences in NYC. They both address their feelings about the World War. They both talk about the weather a lot. :-) Their letters grow more passionate as they get to know each other. By the end of this time period, they are enamored enough with each other that O'Keeffe moves to New York and Stieglitz finally ends his marriage.

The second section of letters is shorter, spanning the years 1922-1928. These are from the early days of their marriage. The letters become a bit more down-to-earth. O'Keeffe's in particular grow in confidence. She seems to come into her own in these years. O'Keeffe and Stieglitz obviously have a deep love and similar views on life, art, and beauty. But their age difference starts to cause problems. O'Keeffe clearly has more vitality in her 30s than Stieglitz in his 60s, who has health problems. She doesn't seem to enjoy visiting his family vacation home and often goes to Maine instead. This creates a need for letters. Also, Stieglitz's flirtations with other women wear on O'Keeffe and several time she flees for space and solitude. O’Keeffe also makes a trip to Wisconsin to visit family. She is obviously inspired by both the landscape and the company. I think it starts to reveal her discontent with being so bound to Stieglitz’s family and family vacation home at Lake George where they are expected all summer every summer. The letters mainly talk about their relationship, their art, other artists they interact with, some politics, nature, and what they are reading.

The last section of letters is the longest, spanning 1929-1933 and containing 335 pages of letters. In this section, I felt O'Keeffe come into her own as a woman and artist. She spends time in the Southwest without Stieglitz, beginning to paint her most famous paintings. She makes new friends, learns about this new culture and landscape, and learns to drive. Stieglitz obviously has a hard time accepting her new-found independence and is upset to no longer be as needed as he used to be. It doesn't help his cause any that he has repeated affairs that are hurtful to O'Keeffe. Also, being so much older, Stieglitz is beginning to think about his mortality. He has health problems and starts organizing his finances and deciding which of his photographs to keep and where he should donate them . They obviously still have passionate feelings for each other, though. Their letters are often explicitly erotic, including pet names for each other and for body parts. Stieglitz just obviously can't deal with O'Keeffe's independence and does a lot of lecturing on whether she's spending enough time painting and giving unwanted advice.

As the letters progress the two seem to drift farther apart, though they do still care for each other. World events are still part of their letters, including the stock market crash in the 1930s, politics in Europe, and interactions with other artists, writers, and actors. O'Keeffe has another health issue/breakdown and goes to Bermuda for over a month to recover. As the letters end, they seem to be in the same pattern. Not really willing to let each other go, but not gaining much from the relationship.

I enjoyed reading these over the last 6 months. Reading someone's letters is such an interesting way to learn about someone. I can't say I was impressed with their relationship or was drawn to either one of them. I found them both a bit "too much", too over the top, and felt like they both needed a good talking to about being adult! I'm glad I spent the time on this and will look at their art with different eyes having gotten to know both of them through this book. Apparently there will be a second volume of collected letters from the rest of their relationship. I have not decided yet if I'll take the time to read those, or if this book was enough.
… (mais)
japaul22 | Jun 14, 2024 |
Excellent reproductions, but the binding of this thick and heavy soft-cover tome is fragile, making it difficult to peruse.
sfj2 | Jul 3, 2022 |
A beautiful book, large and handsome, good paper, and photographs from another time taken by a master of the camera equipment that he used. It is doubtful we shall see many of these types of photographs any longer as the equipment is outdated and very expensive to use. Certainly dated now, but nonetheless stunning in themselves. Alfred Stieglitz will most likely be best remembered for what he brought to modern art even though in fact he was a very gifted photographer. He also was involved in a great love story and partnership with Georgia O'Keeffe.… (mais)
MSarki | 1 outra resenha | Mar 31, 2013 |
I especially enjoyed reading the foreword written by Georgia O'Keeffe and appreciated some of the photographs she had chosen for the book. My complaint would be the repetition or redundancy obvious in her selection. But I am a big fan of the documenting of a specific life and the accomplishment of a large body of work. O'Keeffe seems to have appreciated the efforts and persuasions of her Stieglitz.
MSarki | Mar 30, 2013 |


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