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Princeton University Press
From Library Journal
Edward Steichen (1879-1973) produced many of his strongest photographs from the 1890s to World War I, the period covered here in examples from the Metropolitan Museum of Art's collection. Steichen took up photography as a teenager and by the age of 23 was headed toward celebrity status as his photographs won the admiration of artists as well as fellow photographers. He was in demand as a portraitist of the rich and famous but produced some of his finest work in the portraits of other artists and in nude studies. His photographs of the Flatiron Building and other New York scenes have defined those spaces since. Steichen's misty, moody, subtle, multilayered photographs--made from experimental, painterly printing methods of the period--are reproduced here in amazing fidelity through four-color digital offset lithography. Smith (department of photographs, Metropolitan Museum of Art) provides a carefully researched and highly readable biographical and interpretive essay that illuminates the diverse influences on Steichen. Highly recommended for all photography and fine art collections.
-Kathleen Collins, Bank of America Corporate Archives, San Francisco
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
G.S. Taylor, The Boston Book Review
Features reproductions of the finest quality. . . . This is crucial because of the variety of photographic processes [Steichen] used. . . .
One of the most influential figures in the history of photography, Edward Steichen (1879-1973) was also one of the most precocious. Born in Luxembourg, raised in Wisconsin, and trained as a lithographer's apprentice, Steichen took up photography in his teens, and by age twenty-three had created brooding tonalist landscapes and brilliant psychological studies that won the praise of Alfred Stieglitz in New York and Auguste Rodin in Paris, among others. Over the next decade, this young man--the preferred portraitist of the elites of two continents--was repeatedly acclaimed as the peerless master of the painterly photograph. This volume, covering the period from the late 1890s to World War I, highlights masterpieces from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, which houses the finest collection of Steichen's early work in the world, and reproduces them in near-facsimile through four-color digital offset lithography.
Steichen worked with a designer's inventive eye, a Symbolist's poetic sensibility, an entrepreneur's charisma, and--above all--the originality and finesse of a creative and painstaking printer to establish new standards for ambition in artistic photography. Overlaying the subtle tone-poetry of his platinum prints with repeated washes of harmonious color, he created unforgettable images. In his three famous twilight views of New York's Flatiron Building, one of the landmarks of turn-of-the-century architecture, Steichen crafted a powerful symbol of a new age. His stunning sequence of Rodin's Balzac figure in the moonlight is presented here as are his nudes, with their frankly erotic sense of flesh and weight. And the intense energy of a decade comes to life in his portraits of a diverse cast ranging from Richard Strauss to J. P. Morgan, Maeterlinck to Shaw--and himself, the founding auteur of a century of celebrity. In the accompanying text, Joel Smith explores Steichen's maturing artistry in the light of contemporary developments in photography, graphic design, and graphic arts.
This is a stunning visual record of the emergence of Steichen as a great artist and is one of the most important books to be published on his life and work in recent years.